In honor of Valentine’s Day, I wanted to write a post about LOVE and how Infertility has made my marriage stronger. My husband and I walked down the isle 8.5 years ago. When we married each other, I knew that we would have conflicts and hurdles to overcome in our life ahead of us. And we have! But I never imagined that one of those hurdles would be Infertility and Miscarriages. I never thought I would be the 1% of women who have recurrent miscarriages. I never thought we would be 12% who suffer infertility! I never thought that in my 5th year of marriage, my husband and I would have to endure the stress, exhaustion and heartache of timed sex, failed fertility treatments, 5 pregnancy losses, 6 D&C’s and 3 hysteroscopies among many other things that this journey brings. Yes, all these lovely things this infertility journey delivers us can be trying on any relationship, but after three years of walking this bumpy road, I can honestly say I feel we have grown closer and stronger. It certainly hasn’t been easy by any means and I remember many days that felt like we were reacting a scene from the movie “The Break-up.” Luckily for us, love concours all! Sure, we haven’t beat this journey yet, but we are doing it together and that is something that I am so thankful for. Here are some of the things that have helped us stay on track while driving down the bumpy dirt road of Infertility.
- DON’T PLAY THE BLAME GAME – I have to confess, I am extremely guilty of this! When we first found out about my DOR (Diminished Ovarian Reserve), I blamed my husband many of times for making me wait so long to start trying. I am not proud of that. He didn’t deserve it. How the hell was he suppose to know that my ovaries already had invested into a 401k plan? That’s just it. I hate to be cliche, but “it’s no use to cry over spilled milk.” Hindsight is 20/20, right?! How in the world were we suppose to know that my ovaries were retiring soon? I was “only” 36 when we started TTC again. And many women around me seemed to be having babies just fine at that age!
At the same time, don’t blame yourself. I know I did this many of times, especially after my miscarriages. Was it the coffee I drank? Was it the soft cheese I ate? I talked about this an earlier post, “10 Things To Help You Cope After A Miscarriage.” The answer is no!!! I wasn’t the cause of my miscarriages and my husband isn’t the reason we are dealing with this crappy diagnosis. “Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda” is NOT the attitude you should have. It is no one’s fault and unfortunately, this is the hand we were dealt (as much as we both hate it). It does no good to play the blame game. So keep praying, dreaming, always move forward and concentrate on the future. You can’t change the past.
- DON’T EXPECT YOUR PARTNER TO REACT/FEEL A CERTAIN WAY – When I had my first miscarriage, I expected my husband to react the same way as me. Well truth is, men and women mourn differently. They process their feelings completely different all together! Most women are more emotional. THAT’s ME!!!! I wear my heart on my sleeve and am an open book when it comes to my feelings, especially with the ones I love. Men on the other hand, often don’t express as much emotion because they feel the pressure of needing to “be strong”. Many men won’t show any emotion at all, but there are some that will surprise you and let it pour out. Well, my husband fell into the “I’m the rock” category. Sure, he was sad and many days later, he seemed pretty ok and went back to his work and daily activities with no issues. HOW CAN HE DO THAT? This baffled and annoyed me to no end!
I on the other hand was a hot mess! I couldn’t get out of bed. My eyes were literally swollen from crying so much. I was so angry that he wasn’t feeling the same way! It made me feel like he didn’t care one bit. Well, guess what?! Everyone grieves differently. Especially, men and women! I am a feeler, but my husband tends to be more practical. He doesn’t lead with his emotions like me. My mom always said he is “cool as a cucumber.” LOL! Well, it’s true.
It took me a while to except this. In fact, when I questioned him about why isn’t he upset, his response was “I am very sad, but don’t show it the same way you do.” His way to mourn was much different then mine. He wanted to keep his mind off of things and keep busy, get back to work and be normal as soon as possible. At first, this wasn’t good enough for me. I wanted to see his emotions. I wanted to know that I wasn’t alone!!! But truth is, you can’t force someone to feel a certain way. It just doesn’t work. We are not a robots! And when I expected a certain reaction, I always set myself up for failure.
Now that we are 3 years into this journey and have been through hell and back, I have learned that he and I have different ways to show our sadness, grief, stress and frustration. But at the end of the day, I know I am not alone. We are walking through this Infertility Journey together and standing by each others side praying for the same outcome.
- BE HONEST WITH YOUR FEELINGS – This is extremely important. Not only to your partner, but also be honest with yourself. Be open with your feelings and invite them to share theirs as well. Just remember to be open-minded and not judgemental. Your partner may not say exactly what you want to hear, but they are being honest about their feelings none the less. It never feels good to be judged when you are pouring your heart out. So even if you don’t like what they have to say, be gentle and try to empathize with them. You do not want to steer them away from their candid behavior in the future.
- STEP AWAY FROM YOUR JOURNEY SOMETIMES – In a previous post, Infertility Brain – This Is Your Brain On Infertility, I mentioned how this Journey is “All Consuming.” It takes over our lives in every way, shape and form. This not only affects you, but many others around you, especially our partners. Allow yourself to escape from this journey every so often. Finish a project together that wasn’t finished or set goals for a new project. Go on a date! Cook a meal together! Do something you both enjoy together. Or, even separately for that matter. Sometimes doing something you love on your own can be great for your relationship. Whatever it is and whether you do it alone or together step away from your journey and do something you enjoy!
- SHARE THE BURDEN – Like my mother always told me, “It takes two to tango.” When we walked down the aisle 8.5 years ago, we made a vow! We promised each other that “we would be true to each other in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health and love and honor each other all the days of our lives.” No relationship is easy. Every Marriage/commitment takes work. Yes, it truly is about “In sickness and in health” and “in good times and in bad.” A marriage means that each person puts 100% NOT 50%! I know that we may not see eye to eye every waking moment, but we always try to empathize, respect, support and stand by each other no matter what.
This is a journey you are taking together and remember to never lose site of the reason for your journey. LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! We all know INFERTILITY SUCKS! There is no easy way to put it or go around it. This is a difficult road, but keep pushing through. TOGETHER! It will make your marriage stronger. “Success doesn’t happen overnight. Keep your eyes on the prize and never look back.”
Oh and a little sexy time never hurts! 😉
Love and Baby Dust,