The day I felt the most loved

Before I tell this story, I’d just like to clarify that there are days I have felt unloved by my husband.  I am sure there have been many more days where he’s felt unloved by me.  There are days where I think, how could we ever handle a child if we argue like this without one?  No wonder God doesn’t bless us. Then there are days that are just OK.  Sub/infertility is hard on marriage.  As my husband says, its an opportunity everyday to be better than you ever thought you could be and some days you don’t meet that challenge.  Our life is by no means perfect.  But then there are days where I feel so, so loved.  This was one of them.

 

One of the harder things for me about accepting our sub-fertility has been the idea that I did or am doing something wrong, something that has caused this.  This will sound conceited, there’s no way for it not to, but I’m usually good at things.  I learn things fairly easily.  I’ve gotten good grades.  I’m usually not scared to ask questions, although I do struggle with self-confidence, particularly since starting graduate school (when I’ve learned how much I actually don’t know!).  I’m athletic and have also been involved in sports.  I’m tall, so I usually feel physically capable, even around men.  Even when I’m not good at something  (like track in high school for example – I was awful even at my small school) I have the discipline or stubbornness or whatever you call it to stick to it and at least see some improvement that I can be proud of on a personal level.  I read books on how to run faster and jump higher in high school and had a tutor for my college math courses.  Working hard has usually equated to success in my life.

Having a child is not so much “work harder and it will happen.”  In fact, many people think that it is the exact opposite.

It was common for people to remark that Mexico would be the ‘relaxing break’ we needed to conceive.  As we passed the 1 year mark right as we moved there in the fall, I naturally had a hard time swallowing this advice.  Pure length of time trying seems to point to more complicated issues that would at least involve time due to decreased probability, if not for treatment. But naturally, bringing this fact up confirms that you are indeed, stressed out.  And in spite of research showing that does stress affects conception, but only in the short term (as opposed to long term), everyone seems to have a few stories about that ‘one person they know’ who had perfectly timed adoption and conception (even my priest in the confessional told me this!) that throws all that research out the window, right?  Couldn’t they have still just needed more chances to try to get pregnant? But its all still too coincidental to believe it myself.

I would have conversations with my husband about this.  It couldn’t be just stress that was keeping us from conceiving, could it?  There were many months were I didn’t ‘dwell’ and where I just picked up and went on with my life.  We even went on some cool, relaxing trips!   Even when I did have months of unusual stress, my charts reflected no change hinting that my fertility was compromised.  Same old, same old.   But that idea haunted me.  He knew it and would ask me, what if we do get pregnant soon and all those same people say, See I told you.  Just stress for you! What would you say then?  I voiced that it would bug me that they thought that, that ultimately we’d never know for sure, but I wouldn’t care because I would be pregnant!

Still, I’d counter him that what if maybe I was too strung out and if he thought that’s why we weren’t getting pregnant.  Did he think it was my fault?  He, the person who knows me best, would know.  Maybe it sounds crazy that he could tell me something like that, but I trust him too much to not listen if he did tell me.  And he’s good at telling me something that I need to hear how I can hear it, without sugar coating it or being unnecessarily mean.  I am direct like that and that’s how I appreciate being treated in return.  And I trusted the people who told me those things too much to just get pissed off at their comments without first considering them.

While I’ve never been a planner or an organizer, I’ve always been more of a type A personality in that I try something until its beat and I don’t usually give up on something.  If someone says something that doesn’t make sense or confuses me, I’ll think about it and take the time to look it up until I come up with a conclusion for myself.  I’m my harshest critic.  What if this aspect about me, that same thing that makes me me, was hurting my fertility?

I thought maybe there is something that I can’t see for myself here.

It was one day during these conversations that I have never felt so loved by my husband.  We were talking about stress and fertility and how what constitutes ‘relaxing’ for the purpose of increasing fertility and do you know what my husband said?  I paraphrase:

“The reason those ‘just relax’ comments directed at you bother me, is because I take it as people saying that you need to just stop being you.  ‘Just stop being you and you’ll get pregnant’ is what I hear.  Sure all those times that your drive pushed you to do things you might have given up on, it was great, but the implication that you need to change yourself or that you’re not good enough is frustrating.  It seems to me that because this is who you are and you’re valuable to the world because of that, even if you can’t be a biological mother, you have something to offer.  If those things are connected, we’ll never conclusively know, but maybe you were given the strengths you were given to do something else.”

I understand that the people who made those comments to me love me, see me hurting at my lack of motherhood, and were trying to offer suggestions to help me get what I desire and am longing for.  When you see someone hurting, you want to help fix it.

I’ve realized in our short marriage that marriage is a choice everyday.  Every day (month? year?) you learn something new about your spouse and you have the choice to keep choosing marriage with them.  With this new found sub-fertility on our plate, I wondered if it would be the easiest choice to keep choosing me, especially if other people were already concluding that I’m doing this to myself.  These qualities that he used to like about me, that made me ‘me’, maybe they’re not worth it if it means you’re simultaneously self-sabotaging your chances to have biological children.

Looking down the barrel at a future with no biological offspring and again choosing me and my traits?  It doesn’t affirm me, it affirms us.  The magnitude of that conscious decision makes me speechless.  I can’t express enough how much my husband’s words meant to me.  That in spite of everything, he truly loves, accepts, and chooses this person, still, taking these traits with the good and the bad.

Nothing has helped me relax more than knowing this.

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13 thoughts on “The day I felt the most loved

  1. I really enjoyed reading this post. Words are very, very important to me as well and I have been struggling lately with the lack of them per se from my DH about this issue. You are right…sub-fertility is SO HARD on a marriage. I know raising little ones can be hard on a marriage as well, but where I see hopefully a united front and both parents that are worn out by the day to day joys / sorrows of raising children….in a marriage where the husband and wife are struggling with infertility, it seems like it creates a divide (at least in my limited experience). In my case, I feel stressed out about my history with cancer and how that probably messed up our chances and the other things that are not working in my body at the moment and am looking for affirmation that he still loves me in spite of all of it (He does…I am not saying he doesn’t…just the mind tricks I sometimes play). And yet just last night my DH was expressing his constant stress about his job and if he had a better job maybe I wouldn’t have to work as much and then I would be happier (aka “less stressed”). End result = We were both putting a TON of pressure on ourselves and looking to the other one for affirmation, BUT because we were coming at it from different angles – we were both failing. It was good to get it out in the open and just know that we wouldn’t do it any different – e.g., marrying each other that is. Both things we knew in advance – he knew about my cancer history, he is in the same job as before, etc. But it was great to just remind each other again about that fact. Except he did say that his only regret about our actual wedding day was that “wouldn’t it have been cool to have fighter jets fly over”. I was like “Seriously….that is what you think about? Weird!” But it is good to have some humor mixed in with all the craziness and stress of the other stuff! Sorry for writing a novel in your com box. I guess I did have a lot to get out there. Ha! Oh, and super cute picture!!! :)

    • I think that this issue is a challenge in marriage because it highlights the supreme differences in men and women, in that women are more emotional/feeling beings and need to talk about things while men are more able to compartmentalize and rationalize things clearer. My husband and I knew before we got married that this was the source of a lot of problems for us, and I often remark how isn’t it funny how we were given the one cross that really amplifies these differences?? (of course, one could say if it wasn’t this it would be something else). Here I was thinking we’d just get by without it being brought up after we acknowledged it and now its a source of conversation way more frequently than I had hoped!

      That being said….you should have had fighter jets flyby at your wedding! Ha! You’re husband sounds hilarious and a great comic relief :)

  2. Yay Mr. Moonhead! I never would have understood those comments that way because I see it as more general advice to do more yoga and let the time pass faster by not thinking about it sort of thing. Thankfully your husband knows *you* and exactly how things would feel for you.

    • I didn’t explain the whole conversations involved with those comments here, as I was trying to just focus on the positive of what came out of it, but suffice it to say that they weren’t just random comments (although I have gotten those before) but a series of involved conversations that I was able to understand the greater intent of the advice being given.
      And yes, he clearly knows how hard I’ve tried to relax in the past, so if its just my personality that is making me sub-fertile (or a hormone balance which promotes those traits which makes me less fertile? Its possible) I’m still thankful he accepts me for me :)

  3. What a sweet post. It is nice when our husbands remind us (with words or not) how much they love us. While your struggle is not something I am familiar with, my prayers are with you.

  4. I agree with Michelle. Without being reminded that he loves me, all of me, I don’t know where we would’ve been as we faced bankruptcy.

    Praying for you. Daily.

  5. My husband and I knew before we got married that this was the source of a lot of problems for us, and I often remark how isn’t it funny how we were given the one cross that really amplifies these differences??

    OMG !!!! whAT ARE U DOING IN MY HOUSE – lol – YEAH US TOO – dEF THE cross that most amplifies our differences . Am i sad for thinking my husband would be better off without me sometimes?

  6. Pingback: An Infertility Story, Part 4–Conclusion « So much to say, so little time

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