Making Love, not War during Infertility
After he shared the news, we held each other and cried together. He had written down a lot of facts that included the specific chromosomes that were abnormal for each embryo. Then came the defining moment that seemed to set the tone of our tumultuous infertility journey, Brian had moved to one of our club chairs and was sitting across from me when he said, “Well, we are going to have to look into using an egg donor!” Fury was what I felt, smelled and tasted at that very moment; I flew into a rage.
My anger stemmed from him not giving me even a moment to grieve the loss of my fertility or even process it for that matter. It was abundantly clear to us both that my eggs had spoiled and were beyond rotten. Given my age, my previous miscarriages and the new set of harsh facts, the notion of me ever carrying my own biological children had just died. I was incensed that my husband had already accepted that reality and had moved onto his desired path within an hour of the heartbreaking news.
My outrage was intense. I remember thinking (and maybe even saying) “This has to do with me. How about letting me decide how we are going to move forward?!” Of course, I realized this had to do with us both but I wanted/needed it to be about me in that moment.
After many hurtful words were spat, Brian demanded that we get in the car and go for a ride. It was chilly outside so we both threw on our jackets. Before we left, I poured myself a large glass of Pinot Noir. I figured that since I wasn’t going to carrying a pregnancy that week, I could do whatever I wished. That memory actually makes me shudder because it reminds me of just how emotionally weak I had become and how deep my despair had grown back then.
We drove for a short distance when Brian stopped our car (obviously he was the designated driver) on the street adjacent to our favorite park. This was the place where we rode our bikes days after our second miscarriage to release our tension. We often strolled there and talked about our hopes and dreams of having a baby. We would watch children playing and chuckle at the tantrums they put their loving parents through when they were told it was time to leave.
I didn’t want to get out of the car. He came to my side and begged me to get out and walk. I ultimately relented but not without bringing my glass of wine. On our stroll, he tried to make me understand his point-of-view when he made the poisonous statement minutes earlier. I yelled and cried at him for all of the park patrons to see. I had already resigned myself to the fact that I would never be planning any play dates with the mothers present so what did it matter.
No resolution was found on that day nor would it be for quite some time. Our relationship became embattled during our journey to find out children. I felt for the longest time that the comment Brian made that day nearly broke us as a couple. It was difficult for me to let go of my anger and resentment towards him because I couldn’t understand how the person who was supposed to love and cherish me could have been so insensitive to my feelings. We moved forward with our goal to build our family through various means but I often thought, “How can we focus on having a child when we can't even agree on how to make it happen?”
Forgiveness, on both of our parts, has come over time. As I have said before, the process of building a family through alternative measures tests everything we know about ourselves, our partner and those who are doing their best to support us. One of the most difficult aspects of infertility is that it shakes our foundation and forces us try to stand while the ground beneath us is completely unsteady. While we try to hold onto each other, sometimes the force is so great that we lose our grip. While we stretch four our partner, it seems that his/her fingertips are just beyond our reach. The sad irony is that we have never needed our partner's love and support more.
I realize that I'm airing our dirty laundry; I do so with the hope that it will somehow spare you the profound pain and agony we endured while building our family. My message to you is simple; protect your marriage/partnership with all your might. Work on building the love, trust and respect between you and your partner because once your children enter the World, in whatever way that happens, your relationship will be the basis onto which that little human will rely. In other words, make love, not war! Peace, my dear friends.