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How to Communicate With Your Partner During Any Phase of Your Fertility Journey

How to Communicate With Your Partner During Any Phase of Your Fertility Journey

Do you ever feel like you and your partner are speaking two different languages? Or that  miscommunication can happen out of nowhere over the simplest things? Well first and foremost you are not alone AND those misunderstandings happen more often during stressful times or when we are going through something new that we’ve never experienced before (like trying to conceive, pregnancy, parenthood or struggling with fertility). So here are three communication tools to use for wherever you are on your fertility journey to decrease conflict and increase connection.

Shift from “You” Statements to “I” Statements 

It’s pretty typical to communicate with “You” statements when we are trying to share how we feel; e.g. “You always do xyz, You made me so mad when you did abc, You stress me out..” The problem is, “You” statements usually trigger a defensive interaction in the person you are trying to communicate and connect with. “You” statements also set us up to use our partner’s behavior to describe how we feel vs. sharing our individual feelings.  When we respond with a you statement, we can pretty much guarantee our partner isn’t going to be receptive. While it is okay to identify and describe a partner(s) behavior/actions/what they said as a way of sharing why you are hurt, “You” statements should NOT replace talking about your individual feelings.

"I" statements take a lot more vulnerability to communicate. When we are trying to say something difficult or we are in conflict with a partner, vulnerability is often the last thing we want to volunteer in the conversation. However, when we use “I” statements to describe how we feel – the results are dramatically different. “I” statements are less threatening and are more emotion focused, which softens (aka lowers the guard) of both the partner sharing them and the partner listening. “I” statements also avoid the mistake of communicating how the other partner thinks or feels:

“You yelled at me in front of your mom after the baby fell and you knew that would hurt me and you didn’t care.”  


“I am really mad and hurt that when the baby fell you yelled at me in front of your mom. I felt embarrassed and disappointed. I know we have talked about how much being yelled at in front of other people hurts me.”

“You don’t get it. You get on your phone the minute you are home while I deal with being uncomfortable and in pain all by myself. This better change when the baby comes.”


“ I feel exhausted by this pregnancy and how it is physically affecting me. I also feel really alone, especially when you come home after we aren’t together all day and you are on your phone. I am worried that I will feel alone once the baby is here too.”

Acknowledge & Appreciate the Small Stuff

Stress often sucks up a lot of our energy, so when you or a partner are running low on energy and patience (or are on fumes) acknowledgement & appreciation go a long way in filling someone's cup . Leading with complaints, corrections and criticisms is something that is normalized in how we speak to each other (unfortunately) so practicing gratitude (verbally or in action) can go a long way especially when navigating the stressors associated with fertility and parenthood. 


Daily gratitude practice

- Acknowledge something you enjoy, admire or love about your partner to yourself internally before engaging with them.

-Identifying something you are thankful for when it comes to the relationship.

    Verbalizing appreciation
    - "Thanks for getting me coffee this morning."
    - "I loved how you kissed me on the forehead last night before bed."
     - "It helped me out a lot that you didn't give me a hard time when I told you I had to stay late at the office the other day."
    - “ I appreciate that you left work early to come with me to the doctor.”
      Acts of Appreciation
      - Buying their favorite snack at the market without them asking. 
      - Asking your partner what they have to do that day and offering to take a task off their list.
      - Planning something for your partner that they are likely to enjoy 

      When You FEEL It…Take Five (aka Self-Imposed Time Out) 

      A self-imposed time out is when you communicate that you need to take some space when you are having a physical response in your body. A good time to take space before communicating further with a partner is when you FEEL things in your  body (this usually happens when we are trying to talk through conflict or hearing something upsetting) that is likely going to impact how you communicate in a negative way. Feeling things in your body can be a sign that you are dysregulated and when we are dysregulated, we often don't communicate well.

      Step 1: Recognize You Need A Time Out

      If you feel your heart racing, you are having speeding thoughts, you feel your jaw clench, your chest feels heavy or on fire, your body is holding, fists clenched, you’re sweating… these may be a sign that you are dysregulated. Recognizing this first is an indication that you may need time to slow down and regulate your brain and body so that you can eventually communicate effectively and connect with your partner. 

      Step 2: Regulate Yourself 

      In order to be able to tolerate the discomfort of the conflict, connect with your feelings and be vulnerable you have to be able to regulate YOURSELF in order to move through it. Self-regulation skills we find to be pretty successful are :

      • Body Scan (From head to toe noticing what parts of your body are activated/tight and taking deep breaths while trying to release that activation/tension)
      • Healthy Release of Emotions (Journaling, Stretching, Running, Yelling in a pillow/car by yourself 
      • Grounding Techniques (Box Breathing, 5 Senses Technique, etc.)

      Ways you can communicate a self-imposed time out:

      “I feel shut down. I need to take 20 minutes by myself. I’m going outside.”

      “I feel really angry at you. I want to be alone for an hour in our room.”

      “I don’t feel respected right now. I am going to take a break for 30 min. I don’t want to speak during that time.”

      Remember practice makes progress and no one is perfect. Even practicing one of these communication skills when you are having a challenging or stressful time throughout your fertility journey will make a positive impact on your relationship and overall mental health. Another amazing tool that can help? The WeNatal Manifestation Journal is a powerful tool for building a strong family foundation. By guiding you to reflect on your values, goals, and aspirations for family life, it helps you clarify your vision and get on the same page with your partner. This clarity allows you to make intentional choices that align with your ideals, fostering a harmonious home environment and relationship. Regular journaling also enhances mindfulness, making you more present and empathetic with your loved ones.

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      Rachel Facio, LMFT

      Rachel Facio is the Director of Content & Social Media for WeNatal and a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist with a private practice in Los Angeles, California.

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