Infertility is often misunderstood as a “woman’s issue.” However, men can also feel the grief, stress, and impact of infertility. Too often I think the husband gets forgotten as a couple battles infertility. Infertility is just that, it’s an epic battle. Infertility is heartbreaking, dream-crushing, exhausting, and often leads to trauma. My husband and I process our diagnoses of infertility differently, but it is a battle that we continue to fight together.
Because infertility is so stressful it can be really difficult on a relationship. First of all, can we all openly admit that actively trying to conceive quickly becomes super un-sexy with all the planning, temperature taking, medications, and strategies to have a baby? It completely sucks the fun and spontaneity out of all of it. It is also emotionally, mentally, and financially exhausting. This just adds to even more stress and leaves less love and patience that would have once been available.
The last 4 years while my husband and I have continued to struggle with infertility we have learned a lot about each other. Thankfully early on we recognized we grieved differently, and I think that has made a huge difference for our relationship. It hasn’t always been easy, or pretty, but I’m grateful that we are stronger because of everything we have experienced. He has seen me at my absolute lowest and emotionally broken. I know he has broken down behind closed doors and the way he processes is to just keep busy while moving forward. He has been supportive through all of my miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, emergency surgeries, and doctor visits. I can’t imagine what it was like to have him watch me be in life-threatening situations time and time again. He has willingly been my nurse making sure I stay on top of my medications and will soon administer my progesterone in oil shots (PIO) for IVF when we start the process of egg retrieval within the month.
Some things we have found that have been helpful as we have been battling infertility are:
- Relying on our faith and relationship with God
- Choose joy and even find humor when we can. Take every opportunity to laugh.
- Exercise gratitude as often as possible.
- Extend grace and be quick to forgive…to people who make naive or insensitive comments, and especially to each other.
- Remember there is always hope.
- Don’t try to rush anything or “fix” the other person. The way he/she grieves, and processes are just as valid as you do. Emotions come in waves and just try to ride them out together.
- Just be there. This journey is hard and nothing can make that easier. So you just let them vent, cry, yell, ignore, and be there as they need you.
- DATE! Go out, and have some flippin’ fun! Reconnect.
As a couple, we have learned that we can hold onto grief but also joy. There are intense moments of sadness and then also deep moments of peace. The important part is to remember we are always in it together. I have his back and he has mine.
My husband and I have been married for 11 1/2 years. We have two older children. I had a miscarriage in between them where I hemorrhaged and almost bled to death. The past 4 years have been filled with secondary infertility, more pregnancy loss, emergency surgeries, doctors visits, specialists, heartache, and lots of tears. We have experienced a lot and we have survived every bit of it together. As we are weeks away from IVF I know we are in it together. Regardless of what happens, in the end, we have each other.
The Four Hearts Project is for women who are also struggling with any type of grief or loss to find a community, not struggle alone, feel hope, and find the courage to take one brave step forward. The Four Hearts Project is a place where women can find honesty, a safe place to grieve and relate to other women about the good, the bad, and the ugly. It is a community of people to find peace, joy, and even some laughter on their own journey whatever it looks like.
The Four Hearts Project is a place for husbands, mothers, fathers, siblings, grandparents, or friends learn how to support someone who is experiencing pregnancy loss or any type of grief. With my new labels of secondary infertility, tubal infertility, and recurrent pregnancy loss I am still on my journey of grieving, and figuring out what is next. I want to share my journey with others. So often we just see “the rainbows,” but not the journey through the storm. I often feel like I am right in the middle of a hurricane! Some days are still super hard, and some days are better. I am finding my new purpose and I hope I can lift others on their way.
“If we have no peace it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” -Mother Theresa