Christine Rhyner

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Why We Should Have "The Talk" Before Marriage
3/20/2015 12:00:01 AM by: Christine

About the birds and the bees?  Well, not that “talk” many of us had with our parents.  It can still make me cringe when I think of the day my mother decided it was time to discuss sex with me—well, sort of in a peripheral way--without actually saying the word. It wasn’t so much a discussion either. As I recall there wasn’t any verbal communication about it on my part. Maybe not on yours, either.

 
No, it’s really about the conversation many of us will have with our future spouses. We may talk about having kids, how many, how soon and even bounce around names we like. Yet, there are many of us who never think to talk infertility. 
 
Approximately one of every six couples experiences issues with fertility. Fertility also diminishes with age. By thirty-five, women are considered to be in a high risk category for pregnancy with an increased risk of medical complications to mother and child. And ours is a culture in which many of us marry later in life.
 
But whether we marry young or not, “the talk” is important. We need to ask each other, “What if we discover we can’t conceive?” Are we on the same page if fertility interventions become necessary to start a family? What types of reproductive technologies are we comfortable with if any? How much are we willing to spend? What about foster care or adoption? Are we both open to these as options? What if we experience secondary infertility, in other words, the inability to conceive after having one child? Is it important to us to have at least two kids?  
 
As part of a fertility support group, it breaks my heart to hear other people share that spouses cheat on or abandon them due to an inability to conceive. I know from experience that it’s already an emotionally gut-wrenching experience to deal with infertility, let alone a partner who may blame, betray, or leave you.
 
Recognizing that “the talk” is important before we commit to a lifetime with another and taking a little time to work through it is proactive. It can help prepare us for the reality that not every couple will easily start a family if and when they want to. We will already be aligned with our partner as to what kinds of options we will choose, if any. Most importantly, we will know in advance of marrying if our spouse will truly accept and support us according to the vows we take. And all this can turn the issue of infertility into an already mutually agreed upon solution-oriented journey rather than an unexpected blow with heartbreaking fallout.
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