It has been a long time since I blogged but there are some things that I have always sort of glazed over in the past that I think need to be put out in the open about our struggle to have our daughters.
Our first loss was 7 years ago this week. I think that the day that we found out that we had lost our first pregnancy, a little bit of my husband and I died that day and we had not gotten that back. I think that over the next 4 years of struggles and losses until we got to the point that our first beautiful little girl was born, we lost more and more of our selves and each other. Then we were hit really hard with an incredibly painful loss, a huge blow to ourselves and our marriage. Somehow a miracle happened 6 years to the day that we lost our first baby, we got pregnant with our second daughter without any treatment. Was she a sign that life would start to get better that we would no longer have to struggle?
Infertility is not something that we women struggle through alone our husbands are suffering too, but women tend to take on the major burden and guilt. We feel like we have completely failed the man we love, we cannot have his children and provide this extension of our loves together. Over time the stress of that shameful inferior feeling is reflected in our personality as we become so incredible focused on what has to be done to have a child. We become bitter and angry and although we do not mean to treat the people around us badly we cannot help but feel that life is just so fucking unfair and everyone should suffer with us!
Of course sex loses its luster and becomes a well-timed, well-oiled machine that may end up in disappointment if the two lines on the pregnancy test do not show up 2 weeks later, or worse they do show up and then slowly fade (another miscarriage, another failure). An article that I read today really put this idea well. It says, “Their sex life becomes a scientific experiment, no longer an expression of love. It also becomes an act that is always going to be judged as a success or a failure, not as an intimate act. It is anything but intimate, since it must be done by a set of rules established by physicians and, like children, they must report in to get their grade. Only the stakes are so much higher” (full article).
Your daily life becomes timing sex, painful injections and high emotional stress. You become someone you do not even know and you lose sight of the things you love because your life is centered around making this baby thing happen.
That alone will kill the romance and love in a marriage, but when you add to it that likely the wife/girlfriend in the situation has taken on this great burden and guilt, you often find times that women have completely shut down and slowly shut out their partners, weaned them off of them so to speak, because they are so ashamed of themselves that they are not able to achieve this dream. Being infertile starts to define them and they lose sight of each other and all of the reasons that they fell in love with each other and wanted the family in the first place. Another article I read touches on this a bit, “As a result of taking responsibility for the emotional impact of the infertility, the woman experiences intense feelings, such as pain, anger, fear, etc., which, combined with the messages that her way of dealing with things is in some way dysfunctional or "crazy", causes her to feel an anxious depression. As feelings spill out, she feels out of control and doesn't really know how to ask for what she needs, especially from the husband she is struggling so hard to protect. She may yearn for an emotional connection/interaction at one moment and in the next withdraw emotionally from her husband when she fears she has disappointed him” (full article)
It is a dark place and sadly in many cases couples give up on each other without ever achieving the dream of having children. I think there is something to be said for a couple that has gone through this struggle together. If they have made it to the other side, with or without achieving the dream of having a baby that it should show them that they can achieve so much in their relationship. Even if after the battle that they have been fighting has left them with the darker feelings and the lack of luster and love, that those things can be found again now that the storm is passing. Infertility is rock bottom for most couples and if they hang in there they only direction they have left to go is up in their marriage.
Honestly, my husband and I struggled, we struggle still but I am hopeful for us, because we braved this incredible storm together and we have come out the other side with two beautiful little girls. We have proven that we are stronger than we ever though that we could be, and we make a great team.
In closing I just want to say thank you husband for loving me on days that I did not deserve your love. Thank you for being my rock and standing with me through this storm. We can only go up from here, believe it.