Kevin and I will celebrate our 4th Anniversary in December. I can’t believe all that can happen in just four years. As we gear up for another FET, I wanted to share about our infertility journey has completely changed our marriage and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
By the time we had been married a year, we had lost two pregnancies, experienced two D&Cs, visited a fertility clinic, and started IVF. The first year of marriage is normally one of the hardest, but add in any sort of trauma and you could have the makings for disaster. For us, our marriage saw some of its highest highs right after each of our losses. We stopped fighting about trivial things. Our communication grew deeper. He was the only other person in the world who knew what it was like to lose that child. Our child.
It wasn’t always easy, but there were a few things that we did that made it easier for us to come together instead of everything tearing us apart. I wanted to share these “tips” with you today. I call them “tips” because I am no marriage expert. This is just our story and our experience.
1. Do not play the blame game
Through all of the testing that is done for infertility issues, sometimes you find that one person is “the problem”. The reason things aren’t working out. Once you find out, it’s easy to feel the urge to blame that person. Doing that is so detrimental to a healthy marriage. Don’t hold something that is so far outside their control against your spouse. So many other things are going on and both parties are already in so much pain, don’t add to that mountain of grief by placing unnecessary blame.
2. Let the other person see you grieve
Grief is ugly, but don’t be afraid to show that to your spouse. It can be a beautiful experience if you allow your spouse to sit in that grief with you. The night we found out about our first miscarriage, I was taking a bath and was overcome with the emotions of what we had learned earlier that day, so I started to sob uncontrollably. Kevin heard me from the other room and comes in completely clothed, gets in the bathtub and held me while I sobbed. We’ve had many moments like that throughout the years and being able to trust Kevin with my “worst” moments has allowed the best moments to become even sweeter.
3. Don’t set time limits
I’ve said this once and I’ll say it again: everyone’s grief looks different. There is no time limit on this process, so do not expect that after (insert some amount of time here) they should be over it and back to their “normal” self. Be understanding of the fact that there will be good days followed by awful days. I have weeks where I’m doing wonderfully and then something happens (a setback in the IVF process, pregnancy announcement, etc) and I fall apart all over again. It’s comforting to know that no matter how many times that happens, I have someone to bring me back. There are many times that my husband is the only person that’s able to pull me out of the dark hole I go into. Only his reasoning and understanding of situations are reassuring. It doesn’t happen in an instant and it can be ugly in the meantime, but that isn’t held against me.
4. Remember it’s their loss, too
This can be a hard one, especially for us women. I wrote a whole blog post about this, you can find that here. I’m definitely the more emotional one in the marriage, and that can overshadow any feelings Kevin may have. At times, I know that my extreme reactions can prevent him from even processing his own feelings. I have a lot of room for growth in this area. There are times I need to stop and allow him to react to something before I venture off the deep end and he has to pull be back out again.
5. Realize & accept that it will never be the same
But it can be better and deeper than ever before. There is only one other person on this planet that knows exactly what it’s like to lose each of the pregnancies we’ve lost. It’s a different experience for each of us but we’re the two parents those babies had. Instead of dwelling on the fact that our marriage is not the same as it was before infertility/miscarriages, I embrace that fact and appreciate it. If there is any silver lining or bright side of this journey, it’s our relationship. Do I believe that all of this happened so that our marriage could be stronger? I don’t think so. But, do I believe that since all of this happened we can use it to become stronger than before? Absolutely. Through each new trial and tribulation we grow more bonded than I could have ever imagined.
I don’t know how much sense all of this made, but I felt like I needed to share on this topic. It can be hard to be open about such a personal topic. I just hope to be able to connect with one person that needed this. We don’t have to let tragedy, whatever it may be, tear apart our marriages. Instead, we can use it as an anchor that deepens the love we have for one another, even in the most difficult times.