“It’s important to think about each other during these trials because you are in it together. At the beginning of this journey I made the. mistake of thinking that it didn’t matter to him because he didn’t know anything about what I was physically going through every cycle.”
When we first started trying to conceive and a few months went by where our pregnancy tests showed only one line, we sat down and talked about what this could mean for our marriage. One thing that you may not know about me is that I am a planner. I think ahead, sometimes to a fault, I make my husband talk about scenarios that haven’t happened just in case they do happen. So trying for “Baby C” was no different. We set some ground rules I guess you could say. We both agreed that we did not want sex to become a “chore” and that we didn’t want to force anything. Of course there are months when you probably aren’t in the mood but know how important it is to try that day but we basically just didn’t want to conceive a child out of anything but love.
I feel like I have been really fortunate with my marriage because in my case, I think that infertility has made it stronger. For all of my avid blog readers, you already know this story, but around the 8-9 month mark I just totally broke down. I started to see that this may not happen for us before the year mark. Around the 10th month mark, I was an emotional mess and this was the first time I let my husband see how upset I really was. In past months I had sent a text message saying “my period started” knowing that he would understand that I meant, we aren’t pregnant. Or if I took a pregnancy test and it was a negative result, I would cry to myself in the bathroom, take a shower or wash my face to get rid of any evidence that I was upset, and go and just tell him that it was negative, like it was no big deal. I would put this front on like I was fine even when I wasn’t and that worked for awhile but after that 10th cycle of trying to conceive was unsuccessful, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I felt like I wasn’t the same person that I was before wanting to be a mom, I felt like my day to day revolved around wanting to be pregnant and what new thing I could try to get pregnant. It took over my life in such a negative way that I had to just break down in front of my husband because I needed him. I needed to not feel alone and I needed relief.
My husband, Kerry, is not a really emotional person (on the outside). He always hides his emotion and is pretty good at it. He’s also not very comfortable when other people, yes including his wife, talk about their feelings. It’s something that I’ve known since I met him which I believe is why I hid my feelings towards our lack of success for so long. But let me tell you, the moment I told him how hurt and disappointed I was, he cried with me. He had no idea that I was that upset because I never told him. The man isn’t a mind reader! From that moment on, everything was so different. Better, different. He told me not to take a pregnancy test alone again because he wants to support me, and that he did. I can’t say enough good things about the way that conversation (or breakdown if you will) changed us.
Trying to conceive in general is so hard on all parties involved. I used to think that it was harder for the woman but really the partner isn’t as involved because they don’t know every little detail. That was a problem in our case, my husband felt so on the outside because he didn’t know how much went in to really making a baby. I did all of this research on products and what to do, when to do it, etc, and he had no idea what difference it made. Once we hit that year mark and had the word infertility on all of our medical records, he learned a lot because well, he was honestly more involved than just the art of baby dancing. If I could go back in time, I would maybe sit down with him and educate him more on not only his fertility but what I know about mine too.
Once you are labeled infertile everything changes and it’s up to you to decide if it’s going to make you stronger or push you farther away from one another. I don’t mean to sound harsh but marriage (or any relationship for that matter) is hard work. Nothing about it is easy, even the good days take some work. I love my husband dearly but I can say that I love him now more than I ever have and that’s how it should be. It’s funny because I was talking to another #Warrior on Instagram as I started writing this blog post and it’s so on brand because we talked about this same thing! I told her that Kerry and I always say “I love you but I don’t like you” when we are upset with one another. I think we started doing that because we didn’t want the other person to feel unloved but we wanted them to know that we weren’t happy in that moment. But we are not always that mature. There have been plenty (do you see how I put the word ‘plenty’ in bold?) of arguments where we raised our voice, slammed doors, left the room, or said something that unfortunately hurt the other person. We are not perfect, our marriage is not perfect, but I do truly believe that since we have gone through the struggles of infertility (and not miscarriage) that our marriage is a lot closer to perfect than it was before.
It’s important to think about each other during these trials because you are in it together. At the beginning of this journey I made the. mistake of thinking that it didn’t matter to him because he didn’t know anything about what I was physically going through every cycle. My best marriage, or relationship, advice in general is to think of the other person and do what you can to make them feel included in this journey. If you think this is isolating to you, and you have all the information, think about isolating this might feel for them.
To end this blog post and leave you with something that might help any our relationship, here are five things you can do to strengthen your relationship while battling infertility
Only take a pregnancy test together! That means you arrange a time to take the test when you are both in the same place, you read the result together, and you can feel whatever emotions come up together. Do you see the pattern there? TOGETHER!
Talk about the future, if you haven’t done so already. If these items haven’t been done yet, ask your partner if they would be willing to do genetic testing, a semen analysis, would they be open to IVF if it came down to that. Talk about the important things that way if they come up - it’s not something you have to decide in a doctor’s office. Usually if your partner feels uneducated or pushed to do something, they might get a little defensive. So talk about these things before they come up.
Tell your partner exactly what you need when you learn that a cycle has failed. Rather it’s a date night out to a restaurant of your choice, your favorite activity to do together, a night-in or a simple hug - don’t assume they already know. You need to tell them what you need and vis versa.
Don’t make sex a chore, if one of you isn’t in the mood - don’t do it. Simple as that. Think about if you baby danced when you didn’t exactly want to and you conceived from that - it’s less meaningful, right? For me, I only want my child to be conceived out of love. So at some point I had to learn that if it doesn't happen, it doesn’t happen. It wasn’t meant to be. Or better yet, you know your fertile days beforehand so plan little surprises for your partner so it doesn’t feel like “okay, let’s do this” type of attitude.
And finally, give yourself grace. Both of you - stop thinking that if you don’t conceive this month that your life is over. Don’t forget that you have each other. Don’t forget that when that baby goes off to college, gets married and has a family of their own - you will have each other again so you have to keep that flame of love going. You are both strong and deserving and that’s what matters most.
So infertility can affect your marriage in two ways; for the best and for the worst. Honestly, the choice is yours to make together.
Sending tons of positivity and baby dust to all you lovers out there trying to be parents. My thoughts are with you daily.