Infertility is hard on an individual but at times can be even harder on a marriage. It makes you question who you are as a person and why things are so much harder for you than others. For me, personally, I dealt with an overwhelming sense of not being good enough, not feeling like a woman, fear to disappoint my husband, jealousy towards all pregnant women and slipped into a bit of a state of depression. Couple that with having to put on a big fake smile while out in public by the end of the day I was mentally exhausted. This mood, exhaustion, desperation and later on fertility drugs were a scary combination of leaving me moody, with a short fuse and hurting. I want to be open and raw with all of you who may be feeling this way because I completely understand these feelings. Over the years, with great support, I have come to pull myself out of these trenches and I realized that this is not something I should have been ashamed and embarrassed of. I am NO less of a woman because my ovaries don’t work properly- it’s simply a malfunctioning body part. Same as any other body part, it just happens to be in your reproductive system. I feel like if I could have separated these two it would have been easier on myself to cope with it and would have left Kyle with a lot less comforting and picking up the pieces (or literally me) sobbing on the bathroom floor after another failed pregnancy test.
I will say to Kyles credit, he didn’t take my meltdowns personally and understood that when I would pick a fight over little things, like the dishes that I just wanted to release some of the built up anger and frustration. He did not take it personally and gave me the space I needed to vent. Over time, we together as a couple found better coping mechanisms such as working out together.
There are a few tips we have for navigating your marriage through these hard times:
1. Have both of you get tested to check for issues. At the year mark when I was diagnosed with PCOS, I took the blame all on my shoulders as I had for the entire year. It seems that since a woman carries the child then when a couple can’t get pregnant it’s on the woman. But in fact — percent of the time it’s a male issue. Save the stress and find out what you are dealing with up front. For us it was a relief almost that we both had issues but if it is only one partner talk through ways you can support and uplift that person.
2. Have a plan for when people ask you when you are having a baby. Prepare a statement so that neither of you are caught off guard and are comfortable with the response your partner is giving.
3. Find ways to de-stress and get your mind off of not being pregnant. Maybe it’s a workout class you guys do together, game night with friends, a bible study. Whatever it is you need to clear your mind for a bit.
Infertility can truly be a test of your relationship. It is without a doubt one of the hardest things you will ever have to overcome together. My best advice is to love one another hard, through the good days and the bad days. Your partner needs you more than ever during this journey and I hope these tips can help you and your marriage when things get tough.