Infertility is not romantic. IVF is not sexy. Well, if you yourself are attractive, I guess it could be, but needles, hormones, and hospital gowns (even with the best of bodies) aren’t ideal when one is trying to “set the mood”. Especially if you have been trying to conceive (ttc) for a while, the thought of having sex may be more associated with a carefully timed chore based on your ovulation prediction kit than thoughts of candlelit seduction. i.e. “We have to have sex right now? Again???”
There is a lot of pressure for love and passion on Valentine’s Day and if your box of chocolate has been filled with Gonal-F, it can make the pressure even more intense to try to find a way to kick back, enjoy and reconnect. First things first though, YOU NEED TO TAKE AN INFERTILITY NIGHT OFF. Odds are you’ve had lengthy discussions about eggs, sperm, embryos, and other IVF-related factors lately. While on the surface, it’s related to reproduction, it’s still not very sexy or romantic. Give yourself a break for one night and banish any fertility related topics for a little while. Here are some thoughts and suggestions you might want to consider or even combine to have one hell of a fun TTC-free evening!
Enjoy the “NOT Pregnant” Benefits
Eat sushi. Indulge in soft cheeses. Have some wine. Soak in a hot tub. Yes, it sucks not being pregnant but why not look at it as a last hurrah? For all you know, by next Valentine’s Day, you may be pregnant!
Three or Four isn’t Necessarily a Crowd
Yes, yes. Valentine’s is typically about couples but there’s no law saying you can’t hang out with your friends too. They could be married, single, with kids or without. As long as they are fun and can distract you from the trying-to-conceive trenches, make a plan and enjoy yourself!
Drown in Romance
When you think of Valentine’s Day, there are certain clichés. If you’ve been going through IUIs or IVFs, you could certainly use some of those clichés, couldn’t you? Order a dozen long-stemmed roses, get a big ol’ box of chocolates, light candles, watch An Affair to Remember and serenade your loved one with their favorite song (singing in key not necessarily required).
See a Carefully Chosen Movie/Play/Musical
Sometimes, the best way to enjoy yourself is to put the pressure on something else to entertain you. However, as a “fertility challenged person” myself, this comes with a warning. You never know when a pregnancy or otherwise fertility-related plot may sneak its way into something you’re watching. I remember right after my second IVF failed, my husband and I sat down to watch Couples Retreat and within the first twenty minutes, one of the characters talked about their fertility issues. My husband shut the TV off immediately. So, Netflix with caution! Some of our safe bets are: The Big Sick, Sabrina (the remake with Harrison Ford), When Harry Met Sally, Annie Hall and The Cutting Edge.
Kick it old school and have your own “Throwback Thursday” (even though Valentine’s Day is on a Wednesday this year). Pretend you’re in high school again, go on a date, make out in a movie theater, and wear your cheerleader outfit if you like (unless you weren’t a cheerleader outfit. I was in the choir and lord knows a choir gown isn’t all that sexy but still). There’s no harm in remembering the good ol’ days when you were perhaps more carefree and when your uterine lining was the last thing on your mind.
Make a List of Why You Love Each Other
Now before you roll your eyes, hear me out: when having a family becomes more difficult than you expected, it’s stressful. It can put a tremendous strain on your relationship and even one’s own self esteem. You did not fall in love with each other based on your fertility work-up results. There’s sense of humor, intelligence, and dorkiness even! What better way to remind each other that you are more than your reproductive organs this Valentine’s Day than to write down the reasons you love each other, exchange them, and hold on to them when February 15th rolls around.