Managing Two Families: How to Cope with Infertility as a Stepmom. Written by Jan Silverman and Dr. Prati Sharma.
This post is featured from Dr. Prati Sharma and Jan Silverman at:
Trying to conceive is hard. Having infertility can be harder. Starting a family while managing kids, especially as a Stepmom, may be the hardest! Many women feel like they are straddling two lives, and two families and feel guilty and stressed if they are prioritizing one side over another.
Dealing with infertility as a Stepmom can be challenging. You have kids in the house that have complex schedules, lots of drop offs and pickups and many activities to manage.
At the same time, you have to schedule in your early morning monitoring appointments at the fertility clinic and deal with the hormonal side effects of being on fertility medication.
You are not alone! Many women are in this boat. It is very normal to want to start a family with your partner who may have children from a prior relationship. While confusing, and often a bit stressful, this can be a very happy time as you start building a new family together.
How do you keep it all together?
1) Be open with your partner: Discuss options for family planning and explain your desire to have children. You may love their children, but it may still be very important to have a child genetically linked to you. If that is how you feel, make sure you are able to communicate that to your partner.
2) A new baby will impact on the family dynamics. However, being aware and creative in scheduling will ideally balance yours and your partner’s time with their current children. Blended families are becoming increasingly common and with good communication and good scheduling, both partners can feel satisfied and build great relationships with each other and all of their children.
3) Try to have your partner come to the appointments (at least the initial consult) with the fertility doctor. It is important that he/she is there to hear about the various options and treatments and understands the impact of things like advanced reproductive age. Many stepmoms are older and feel their biological clock loudly ticking. They need their partners to understand that age and timing are important factors in conceiving.
4) Talk about how many children you want to have. When one partner has children from a prior relationship, the thought of multiple children is scary. Often, couples worry about twins, birth defects and genetic issues, particularly with older parents. Your fertility specialist can speak to you about the many assisted reproductive techniques like IVF with PGS (preimplantation genetic screening) that can reduce the multiple and abnormal pregnancy risk.
5) If having biological children with your new partner is not in the cards right now, but you are worried about getting older, consider freezing your eggs or embryos (your eggs and your partners sperm combined). This allows you to have “preserve” your fertility while considering your options and timeline to have children. This process involves undergoing an IVF cycle. Talk to your fertility doctor about this option to see if it is right for you.
6) Talks with a fertility counselor: Most fertility clinics have specialized counselors to help patients through this process. Stress, when trying to conceive is normal. Speaking to someone can often help allay fears and help communication between partners coping with the infertility process.
Try to enjoy this. Creating a family can be fun and exciting and brings the hope of starting a family to complement your current one!
To see more information from Dr. Prati Sharma, visit The Conception Diaries.