There Ain’t NO Such Thing As A Band Aid Baby!

Band Aid Baby Can't Fix A Marriage

Walter and I had always believed that if our marriage could survive infertility it could survive anything! Of course, that was pre-baby days. That was before we became parents and back in the day when we thought we knew what being parents would be like.
Fast forward a few years and enter Ava-Grace and it was a whole new ball game. If there is one bit of assvice I’d impart to any couple before entering parenthood its this: get your marriage affairs in order, if you enter parenthood  on shaky ground you’re going to be in a whole lot of trouble.
And boy did we find ourselves in trouble! Suddenly, the reality of living with the stress of almost 8 years of infertility came crashing down around us. The noise it left in its wake was only overshadowed by the sounds of a crying infant. Add to that severe sleep deprivation, adapting to parenthood and all of its challenges after a 6 day pregnancy, still trying to prepare for a baby well after she was living in our home, coping with the severe trauma of surviving the 60 day waiting period and a whole lot of other “stuff”  and you get a bubbling, boiling, swirling cauldron on the verge of bubbling over.
Our lives were turned upside down and suddenly we were in a situation so new and so confusing that we had no time to develop coping skills, unlike being a seasoned infertile and knowing how to go through the motions, we were not only on totally new ground and the pressures being exerted on us was far greater than anything infertility had ever thrown at us.
We fought, we shouted, we disliked each other, we were exhausted, overwhelmed and at our wits end. We even stopped being friends, we started just existing, going through the motions, only seeing to Ava’s needs while completley denying our own.
We went for extensive marriage counseling and have even gone so far as to draw up a contract between us making allowances for certain things like my pilates classes and my BB dinners and he’s gym sessions. It all sounds really clinically and unromantic but it had to be done and that along with the months of marriage counseling seem to be paying off.
For the first time in almost 9 years we have finally found our way back to each other and back to the way our relationship was pre-infertility. Its wonderful! I never ever thought it could happen this way. To be in love again and best friends again and to have Ava-Grace. I’m proud of us for remaining committed to each other even during the most difficult times which were surprisingly not our walk with infertility.
And I know we weren’t alone in this, I have too many friends battling through the same difficulties in their marriages post-infertility and it really is a reminder that there’s no such thing as a band aid baby!

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  • Reply To Love Bella

    how right you are. i feel as if i am in the midst of the cr@p right now. not feeling ‘married’. not feeling as loved up as i used to. have been thinking along the lines of separation for a few weeks, but that seems quite drastic. becoming a parent changes everything. the biggest problem are when compromises aren’t reached…… and when both of you are stubborn mules, as is our case.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:24 am
  • Reply lea2109

    There are so many out there who think having a baby is extremely romantic and that it will bring them closer together. They imagine lovingly staring at baby as baby goes down for all her naps, strolling in the park with a smiling baby and then baby comes and she doesn’t sleep as you thought, she has wind, she gets teeth, nappy rash, routines are hard work to put together and… and… and… But it does get better and it does get easier along the way, but those early days, man oh man, it certainly can be tough.

    March 7, 2011 at 8:49 am
    • Reply Sharon

      Ah yes, it does get easier and it does get better, BUT can your marriage with stand it? That is the question?! And once its started getting easier what shape is your marriage in and can you come back from that?

      March 7, 2011 at 9:44 am
      • Reply lea2109

        Yes I think your marriage can withstand it if your marriage wasn’t already on the way to falling apart before the time. I also believe that if it is considered team work then you have a better chance of coping during those early difficult days. If it is a case of husband makes you feel like baby is only your responsibility then chances are you will really struggle.

        For us personally – our marriage was strong enough. Sure we’ve had fights just like any other couple, but the fights were not so big that it threatened our marriage.

        Our early days were hard. Bianca wasn’t a big daytime sleeper and from 3 months old she wanted to “sit up” so that meant during the day if she was awake I’d have to hold her up so she could “see the world”. I lie her down and she would scream the roof down. Night times she had a good routine, but she didn’t sleep through until 6 months of age. If she woke up at night she was awake for 2 hours. Didn’t matter what I did. She had reflux for the first 6 months where she would vomit after every feed and we’d have to change her several times a day. She started walking at the age of 10 months old and so we rarely sat still during the day. In the very early days Terence gave me every Friday night to have a full uninterrupted sleep. He helped with bathtime and nappy changes and even sometimes insisted I go to the shops without Bianca just to have a break. For us if it wasn’t for the teamwork, would have been way way way more difficult.

        Then when Caitlyn came along she was an easier baby even though it took her a good year to sleep completely through. She started getting teeth at 3 months old which resulted in nappy rash as well as an ear infection with her first 2 teeth throwing her routine completely out. When she was just over 3 months old Bianca was diagnosed with leukemia. So not only did I deal with a very sick child (often on steroids causing her to want to eat all hours of the night), but Caitlyn had all her baby needs. During Bianca’s treatment Terence and I spent 117 nights apart where we might see each other for 5 minutes a day and then after a long day at the hospital I’d have to go home, wash bottles, pack Caitlyn’s nappy bag, do some laundry, try and clean up the house and in between wake up a few times a night for Caitlyn. Next morning get up at 5:30 and the same would start all over again. So that was way way way harder than the first time round.

        If Terence and I did not have a strong relationship then yes, I think all of this would have ripped us apart. And I’ve seen relationships fall apart because the stress, fear, anxiety, isolation and separation of child cancer can really get to you. And when there is a baby at the same time, then that is even harder. We learned that we had nobody else to count on. We had no choice but to work together as a team, to trust each other and to be there for each other. And we pulled through. Doesn’t mean it was easy though.

        Yes it did get easier and I think that is important to focus on that even if something is really really hard now, before you know it it will get easier. So often we only focus on the really hard days that we have now, and then it can feel like it will last forever which can put even more strain on your relationship. If you keep reminding yourself that this is just temporary and that it will get easier then you are more likely to work towards that goal which will (in my opinion) have an easier effect on your relationship.

        But my way of coping might very well be completely different to another person’s way. I can only speak for myself.

        March 7, 2011 at 10:22 pm
  • Reply Hanneke C

    Good on you for both being ‘stubborn’ about being married! Marriage is worth it and makes parenting soo much easier if your are both on the same page!

    March 7, 2011 at 10:01 am
  • Reply waiting4amiracle

    Yip, I totally totally agree with you. I am concentrating on making it right now. Its so funny how stopping treatment brought up all the stuff in the background. Its tough! We are brave!…and strong.

    March 7, 2011 at 10:17 am
  • Reply suestuart

    I read this post and some of the comments with a lump in my throat, as even 13 months down the line I am battling with some of these things! How people can have a baby to save a marriage, I don’t know! I just thank God ours was strong to begin with and hopefully strong enough to get us through this! So glad that you are making yours work.

    March 7, 2011 at 11:48 am
  • Reply darylfaure

    So true Sharon – I wish everyone would read your blog.

    My DH and I also thought that we had withstood infertility, so there was nothing that could shake our marriage, and then along came Dylan. It has been a tough 22 months, but I am proud to say we are getting better and our marriage seems to be on stronger footing again.

    Well done to you and Walther for realising the value of your marriage and not giving up on it. I wish more people would fight a bit harder for their marriages.

    March 7, 2011 at 2:19 pm
  • Reply pandoragelb

    It all goes back to how we idealise things, girls dream of their wedding, but doen’t think about what marriage is like. We grow up seeing it in movies as the happy ending, instead of the beginning it is. Same with parenthood, its hard! Not the image we have of dewey eyed parents arm in arm gazing at a sleeping angel. More checking they are still breathing every 5 minutes those early days!
    It is also so good to hear of people working to save their marriage, instead of heading straight for divorce. A lot of people don’t bother to try. You are proof that counselling can work. so glad you shared this.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:05 pm
  • Reply elna3

    So true, and so good to know what we are going through other people are also struggeling through. For the first time in my marriage I have realized what it means to ‘work on your marriage’. Before infertility, IVF and baby ,all fell into place so easily and now things are much harder. Hats off to you for getting some help -we are doing the same!!

    March 7, 2011 at 8:00 pm
  • Reply Tanya Kovarsky

    A brave post… thank you and well done for sharing! So glad you’re in that good space again, and look after yourselves and your marriage.

    March 7, 2011 at 9:42 pm
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