Tuesday, March 19, 2013

How Miscarriage and Infertility can Grow Your Marriage

In Lieu of offering the next chapter in today's post, I would like to focus on a topic in honor of our wedding anniversary. Yes, you read that heading right...

How Miscarriage and Infertility can Grow Your Marriage

Or at least, how it grew ours...

I know what you're thinking. I know what you've heard. A lot of marriages fall apart after the loss of a child, no matter the age of the child. A lot of marriages fall apart during the "infertility journey". I've heard it a thousand times... a thousand different stories of women who are struggling with this alone. My heart breaks for those women.
Here are a few mistakes we made at the beginning of this journey:
  • We expected each other to read the other's mind. I know this is a common problem in general for us women, but I found him doing it too. I wasn't telling him when I was sad, I was lashing out at him because I was angry that he couldn't just 'sense' when I was having a bad day.
  • He wasn't telling me that he was feeling the pain too. Some men are so stoic, and my husband is definitely one of those men. He commonly joked at the beginning of our relationship that he didn't have feelings. Once that facade cracked however... he was human after all.
  • I am naturally a crier, but I wasn't telling him when I just needed to 'get it out' and when I needed his support and kind words. So a lot of the time I cried alone no matter what the case was.
  • I took my anger with myself out on him. Mostly in the form of a bad attitude.
  • He never got angry. [Yes, this is a mistake... because anger held in is volatile]
  • I was trying to carry all of the burden on my own, I believed everything that was happening was my fault and I was ashamed and guilty.
  • I was focused on getting pregnant again. It became my top priority.
  • Honestly, I half expected him to bail at any moment. I was the infertile one. I had lost our baby. I was the one who was an emotional wreck.
  • We weren't prepared for the side effects of our treatment.
Then there was a long long long night of fighting... post breakdown.
Here is how we fixed some of those mistakes:
  • He told me that a lot of times he needed me to tell him when I needed him and exactly what I needed from him.
    • I know in our subconscious we wish that we did not have to do this, that if he really knew us he would just know what to say and when to say it! Right?! Yeah, right. Life doesn't work that way. How can he give you exactly what you need when he has no clue what that is??
  • I told him I needed him to be more emotional.
    • I know in guy mind this is crying over weepy chick flicks and such. I just needed to know that he HAD emotions... for me and for our baby in heaven and for how all of this infertility stuff just sucked.
  • He checked up on me more... more genuine questions... "How are you really doing today?" "Do you need anything?" "Is there anything I can do for you?"
    • I also found myself reaching out to him more in the same way... him initiating these questions reminded me to do the same for him.
  • We agreed to be honest about our anger. When we were having a bad day and someone was being crabby... the other would say "Okay, now tell me what you are really upset about."
    • This immediately catches the other person off guard and makes them stop the hissy fit and focus on the real problem. Then you can work it out together.
  • I know I've mentioned this before, but he never placed the blame on me... he always used the term we. The more I heard him say this, no matter whether the subject was our loss or infertility or being childless... he always said we. ALWAYS. He never even let one "she" slip. He still hasn't.
  • We finally both knew we were in this together.
    • Yes I am the one going to the appointments... I am the one having blood drawn every 4 weeks. I am the one who had the painful tests. I am the one on medication that wreaks havoc on my body in ten different ways. But HE is the one who always brings out the we. (I can't emphasize the importance of this enough, if there are any men out there reading this) "Okay so what do we do next?" "When do we test again?" and so on... and finally I accepted the fact that he would be by my side no matter what.
  • We prayed together.
  • He read me bible stories, teaching me countless things I had never learned before.
  • We went to church together.
  • He bought me flowers more often.
    • This is the one way ticket straight to my heart. Flowers always make me smile, no matter how sad or angry I am. This was a simple way to show that he loves me. He still does this... in fact, I'm staring at beautiful red roses as we speak. And YES flowers from the grocery store count!! I want to be frugal too ya know!
  • We re-read passages from the book we had to read during our premarital counseling.
    • Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. I recommend you have this book in your home no matter what is going on in your life. I can't tell you how much it helped us grow as individuals AND in our marriage.
  • We put GOD first. Next on the list was our marriage.
    • I know battling infertility and loss can make getting pregnant your top priority. Don't do that... YES it is important, but without GOD being first and your marriage being the most important thing after Him, your marriage will suffer.
  • We agreed to follow whatever path God was leading us on.
    • This was a tough one... and it would take me a while to fully trust in this path, but now that I have, it has taken so much tension and pressure off of us. I'm not saying our life is all rainbows and butterflies since we made this decision, but I can truly say it is a thousand times better.
  • He learned to take things in stride when I was medicated.
    • Fertility medicine can wreak HAVOC on you emotionally and physically. I was/am a basket-case during those days. I'm talking full on Jekyll and Hyde. So, I tell him exactly when I start medications so he can be prepared.
  • We stopped fighting over the little things.
    • Once you face "real problems" in life... the little stuff just doesn't seem to hold any significance. Sure, there are times I get irritated when the kitchen sink is full and there is random "stuff" laying all around the house the day after I clean the entire thing... but really? Is that something to fight about?! Come on! They're just dishes... it's just laundry... etc...
  • We say "I love you" more.
    • A simple gesture that can change the world.
  • We learned to joke about our situation.
    • It takes the pressure off... especially if you're having one of those "everybody is pregnant but me" days... like after you hear that someone 6-10 years younger than you is unexpectedly knocked up, or that girl who has 3 children by 3 different people is suddenly "with child" once more after a drunken night at the club...

Our marriage is not perfect... NO marriage is perfect! But it is perfect for us. We are beyond happy together. You just have to make the best out of whatever situation you find yourself in... the most important lesson here is to not alienate your partner. Lean on each other!! You are PARTNERS! Remember that, when you feel yourself getting mad or irritated! You are on the same team, you are fighting the same battle... and you do NOT have to do it alone!

Marriage isn't easy... it takes work. But the work is the fun part! Work to love one another more and more everyday! Then, together... you can overcome anything!

Bottom line. I would not be able to do any of this without him. I would not have survived our loss without him. I would not be able to battle our infertility without him. He is my strong fortress when I feel like the world is caving in on top of me. I am constantly amazed at the man he has become... at the HUSBAND he has blossomed into. He is my rock. He is my soul mate. He is my God-given partner and I love him beyond what any words can describe. We have been through so much in our short time together, but it feels like we have been together a lifetime. I wouldn't trade one second with him for a thousand years with anyone else.

1 comment:

  1. i love you, and i love this post, and i pray that some day i will be blessed enough to have a marriage as beautiful and strong as yours... <3