Saturday 24 February 2018

Dear Mary: Trying for a baby has taken all the passion out of romance

QWE had a whirlwind romance, as we moved in together after three months of dating and got married within the first year.

We are mad about each other, and have had a great sex life from the start.

I've just turned 35, my husband is 33 and we've been trying for the last few months to get pregnant.

Apart from the typical worries around getting pregnant, I'm quite upset that all the passion and romance seems to have just disappeared from our relationship.

Sex has become a chore and feels so regimented and centred around when I'm ovulating. My husband really wants children, so he's very focused on the end goal, but I am more worried about the fact that I'm not enjoying our love life anymore, and it's causing extra stress to me at an already stressful time.

I knew that the decision to have a child may put a strain on our relationship anyway, because of the huge changes it brings, and the many sleepless nights.

I thought that the trying to get pregnant part would be fun, but instead I'm so down -- and I'm usually a very positive and cheery person. Is this normal in other relationships, or is there something wrong with mine?

ATHE decision to try for a baby can indeed bring its own problems, especially when a pregnancy doesn't occur straight away. At the beginning, the couple find that there is an extra excitement with their lovemaking, as instead of making sure that they don't become pregnant by using some form of contraception, there is now the real possibility that they may make a baby together. If after a couple of months of trying nothing has happened, it is only natural for them to worry.

Whether or not you become pregnant is one of the only things in your lives that you have no control over. You have a number of concerns -- are you going to get pregnant and therefore make your husband very happy; if you succeed, will having a baby upset your wonderful relationship; and lastly that the fun has gone out of your sex life.

Because a woman's fertility begins to decrease when she reaches 36, and yet a man can father children at any age, it is only natural that women have anxieties as they get older.

You have been trying for a very short time, so resolve to stop worrying right now and instead decide that if nothing has happened when you get to six months you will consult your GP for advice.

Regarding your relationship, if you succeed in having a baby, your life will change forever, and there is no escaping this fact. Somebody once wrote, "children are a pain in the neck when they are not being a lump in your throat" -- and that sums it up very well. While they are young, you will never be able to do things spontaneously as you will have to plan who will take care of them. You will continue to worry about them for the rest of your life and they will bring you both joy and sadness. But huge rewards go along with parenthood as well, and things generally balance out.

However, it is up to you both not to lose sight of the relationship and make time for yourselves as a couple. Otherwise, what can happen is that when children eventually cease being the focus of your life together, you may find that you have nothing in common any more.

Making love to order when you are ovulating can certainly take all the fun out of things, but there is no rule that says you must have a magical experience just because you are trying to make a baby.

So in order to take the pressure off yourself (and it sounds like you are the one feeling the pressure rather than your husband) why not look on those days while you are ovulating as ones where you will have sex but not expect anything much from it and then at other times relax and enjoy yourself like you used to do, without the worry of trying to get pregnant? Maybe even try to get away for a weekend when you are not ovulating and have sex when you feel like it.

Don't be too hard on yourself -- you are not superwoman.

Submit your letters to Mary anonymously at dearmary.ie.

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