Yesterday during our one on one interviews with our SW, she went through the results of our psychometric tests with us individually and the results were a big a-ha moment for me.
Some of you will know this, but I fell pregnant the first time while we were on honeymoon and six weeks after returning from honeymoon, we were thrown head first into our struggle with infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss. We never had a chance to enjoy marital bliss and each other.
I came completely undone after my first miscarriage, for months after the miscarriage, Walter would arrive home from work and find me in a crumpled, snotty mess on the couch sobbing my heart out, balled up tissues scattered on the floor. My heart broke and it would take more than 7 years for it to be healed. My withdrawal from “breeders” (as they’re fondly called in the IF community) started there, I withdrew, I was broken, shattered, incapable of focusing on anything aside from trying to put my heart back together with a band aid in the form of another pregnancy and baby. Walter’s frustrating journey of exasperation and being sidelined began at around the same time.
A few years past in a muddle of we-must-have-sex-now-because-I’m-ovulating and no-don’t-touch-me-I-may-be-pregnant. Not exactly a healthy medium for any couple. Enter the fertility specialists and things took a turn for the worse. Ironic that the medical fraternity that were trying to help us have a baby were also the very people who would drive a wedge so deep between my husband and I that there was a time we thought we’ve never come together again. A midst a thousand invasive and humiliating tests and surgeries and injections and blood tests and procedures, we drifted further and further apart, at times barely even knowing why we were still together, except for the fact that
we I wanted a child and Walter was my sperm donor, as crass as that may sound, I’m sad to admit, it is the truth.
I became obsessed with having a child, with beating infertility, to the exclusion and to the damage of everything and everyone else in my life. NOTHING. ELSE. MATTERED!
Enter Ava-Grace and instead of living happily ever after, Walter and I had more than 7 years worth of grief, hurt, mistrust, baggage and cr*p that we needed work through. But instead we pretended everything was just peachy, swept it under a rug and tried to pretend like there wasn’t a gigantic circus elephant sitting on the chair in the room with us, everything was fine.
Only, it wasn’t.
And it was with shock that I woke up one morning and realized that we were ONLY Ava’s parents. We were no longer a loving couple, the tatters of our relationship could barely even be described as a friendship. We bickered, we argued and we hurt each other.
Then sometime last year, Walter dropped a bomb on me and my entire world fell apart. He wanted a separation. He wanted to leave me. A part of me was relieved. A part of me was terrified.
We had hit rock bottom. Our relationship, our marriage had been ripped to shreds by years of infertility, of hurt, of my single mindedness in having a child to the exclusion of all else in my life. We were destroyed. Over. Finished. Broken.
I was terrified.
How were we going to make it through this. Would our marriage, our relationship survive this? The future suddenly seemed terrifying. A future without my husband, a single parenting the child I’d longed and yearned for, in a city more than a thousand kilometres from my family.
It was then that I knew that I had to fight. That I was not done fighting and just as I had fought for my dream of being a mother to be realized, I was going to have to put up the same fight to save my marriage. That I was in for the second biggest fight of my life, a second round in the ring, boxing against a heavy weight opponent.
Walter agreed to attend marriage counselling with me. It was hard. It was painful. After some sessions we were unable to look or speak to each other as slowly the realization of what we’d done to each other over the 7 years of our infertility. How damaged and humiliated I was by all the treatments, by having to give up the privacy of my own body and have nothing be sacred. To have every detail of our sex life chartered by the medical fraternity, told when we could and when we couldn’t have sex. (sorry if you’re reading this Mom!) Walter’s faith and trust in me destroyed. I’d hurt him. I’d stopped caring about what he wanted and single mindedly went about seeing to my own agenda.
It took months of weekly counselling for us to learn to trust each other again, to like each other again, to repair what too much heartache, too many Dr’s appointments, procedures and crushing disappointments and hurts had ripped us apart.
Yesterday the results of our psychometric tests revealed that we are free from the baggage of our years of infertility. There is no more guilt, no more blame. We are free. Our hearts as individuals and as a couple are healed. And I am proud. So very very proud.
We weathered one hell of a storm but we stuck by our marriage vows – “for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, through good times and bad.” We made it, with lots of hard work, we made it back to each other and today more than ever I can honestly say that I love my husband, understand him and feel connected to him in ways I did before we got married and before infertility nearly tore us apart.
So, my advice to all couples going through infertility treatment is this: acknowledge the toll it will take on your relationship. Know that it is normal if infertility destroys your intimacy. Get help. Don’t underestimate how infertility can destroy your relationship and rock you to your core.
Stand strong together, don’t make the mistake I did of forsaking your partner in your goal to parenthood.
But above all else, know that dealing with the fall out after your infertility journey ends is just as important as walking your infertility journey.