It’s a known fact that it’s the woman in this process who is dealt with all the pain. The poking, the tests, the prods, the endless appointments and medications. It’s easy to applaud her for all she’s going through. We can see it. The physical scars on her skin, the dark blue bags under her eyes, the bloating, the fatigue – all signs that this has been hard on her. That it’s too much. That she’s praying it will all be over soon.
But what about the person who stands beside her? The silent fighter. The one who attends the appointments but doesn’t feel a thing. Who administers the shots but whose skin is never punctured. Who witnesses the changes in her routine, her body, her lifestyle, but is able to remain completely unaffected in their own.
For me this person is my husband, and to be frank, he doesn’t get the support he deserves in this journey. No, his body will not endure the things I’m going through. His back will not ache as the twentieth Progesterone shot goes in, his stomach will not expand as the ovaries grow to grapefruit dimensions and his diet will not be altered – but it doesn’t change the fact that his heart will.
Even though he has not physically had to suffer through what I as a woman have had to, he has been there sitting beside me the entire time. He has been strong when all I could manage was being weak. He has prepared the injections when the thought of mixing and drawing back on another syringe felt more tedious than running a marathon. He has set an alarm for a trigger, massaged my skin when it hurts, taken on additional responsibilities that seemed too much to bear. He has come home early or arrived late to work to show up for us and whatever the day may bring.
His heart has broken with unfavorable news.
His tears have fallen with every roadblock that’s come our way.
His stress levels have risen knowing that there is nothing more he can do but to watch the woman he loves – exhausted, stripped and stung.
He would take it all away if he could. Do every shot, every exam, every unpleasant part of it, if it meant that I wouldn’t have to.
And yet, when someone asks how I’m doing they so often forget that for us, infertility isn’t a “me” it’s a “we”. I’m asked how I feel, what’s next, and given grievances, but is he receiving the support he needs? Is anyone asking? Why aren’t the questions:
How are we doing?
How are we feeling?
What are our next steps?
Because yes, us women have been through A LOT.
Yes, it would be unfair to compare what we’ve put our bodies through to achieve motherhood as being the same as someone who hasn’t been able to (not by choice but by circumstance I might add).
Yes, we need the love and support from our friends, family and infertility community.
Yes, so do our partners and with the same care and attention we give to one another. Our partner’s are the ones holding us up when there’s no one else around. The ones who may not physically be in the same spot, but mentally have never been closer.
The ones silently fighting by our sides.
TO MY HUSBAND: Thank you for your endless love and unwavering support throughout all of this. I could never physically keep up this fight without you by my side. You are the reason I am able to go on.