There have been so many times when I have looked at my husband when he’s doing something completely normal and mundane and just thought to myself, “how did I get so lucky?” but I have never thought that more than when he is supporting me through times that I need him most. Him holding my hand in the waiting room, hugging me when I lost our babies, or making me giggle while I’m lying on the exam table waiting for a checkup is when I find him the very most attractive. He’s supported me in so many ways in our marriage and I will forever be grateful for the man I married. The thought crossed my mind the other and I questioned if he felt the same way about me? Is he proud of me like I am of him? Do I make him feel as loved as he makes me?
My question was answered the other night when he legitimately questioned if I still loved him. It was such a rude awakening for me. I have put so much of myself into our fertility treatments that I put our relationship on the backburner. I know this makes him feel neglected and I don’t blame him. Instead of seeing to his needs and wants I was planning our next round of IVF, scheduling appointments, researching ways to increase success rates, etc. Pretty much everything I have talked about for the last few years has had to do with planning around baby making. It’s so tiresome but I never realized how much it effected our marriage.
Since our last pregnancy loss, I have been dealing with a lot of hostility especially towards my husband. It feels like he grieved for a few days, lost a few nights of sleep, and moved on but I’m still here wrapping my mind around everything and physically still dealing with the aftermath. How can he not care enough to grieve? Because of my hostility I’ve been short tempered and downright mean to him. If I had a bad day I have taken it out on him. I’ve given him dirty looks, said hurtful things, and physically pushed him away. Things have been tough, but I’m determined to be a better wife.
I asked him the other day what he feels is the hardest part of going through infertility with me and his reply was exactly what I knew he’d say but it was still good for me to hear. He feels helpless. He explained that everything else in life he’s able to get whether it’s a job, house, vehicle, etc. He’s able to work towards it and accomplish it, but with this he feels completely lost and doesn’t know how to help me. He wants to do more but knows there is nothing that he can do to fill the void. He doesn’t realize that just by him being there for me he is fixing me.
I’ve realized that men and women both grieve, but in different ways. Women are emotional. We cry, retreat from others, and then try to figure things out. Men are not so emotional. They usually turn to anger and immediately try to fix the problem. Right after we lost the baby Nate was pissed and I took it very offensive. He was never mad at me. He was mad at the doctor and the whole situation. He wanted answers immediately. When we met with our doctor I basically told Nate “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything” so he didn’t. He said maybe 2 words to the doctor because he was so mad at him. Nate see’s now that this was beyond our doctors control, but at the time he needed someone to place the blame on. We were both highly emotional for the first few weeks but in completely different ways.
I feel like infertility and miscarriage plays a bigger role in a relationship than pretty much anything else that life throws at you and it’s important to stay centered through it all. It’s easy to get caught up in your personal needs throughout the process, but it’s so important to put your partners needs high on your priority list. Do simple things that make him feel loved like cooking his favorite food, turn your phone off and really focus on connecting with him, plan a date that he would enjoy even if it doesn’t sound fun to you, and most of all always let him know that you appreciate him. After all, he wants to be a parent just as bad as you do. He may show it different but I guarantee that infertility affects him just as much as you. Being the one expected to stay strong and the support system is mentally and emotionally draining. It's easy to forget but men hurt too.
Hi my name is Whitney and I'm a mom to 2 adorable boys and the wife to a sports loving, handsome man. I'm outnumbered but wouldn't have it any other way. I'm navigating motherhood one fart joke at a time. Welcome to my crazy life!