How We Find Ourselves Again
I have loved venturing into this world of blogging. Infertility is an incredibly isolating experience. Many people feel uncomfortable with the topic and try to reassure me with comments like, “It’s all gonna work out,” or, “Maybe the doctors weren’t right?” As well-intentioned as these comments are, it just shows me the depth of the disconnect they have with the reality my husband and I are now trying to process. Blogging has been a wonderful way to process and share my experiences.
Yesterday, I decided I that I should try to find other blogs that focused on infertility. I skimmed through a few results and one finally came up that deeply resonated with me. IVF hadn’t worked out that way they hope and, instead of pursuing another round, they had decided to pursue adoption. The thing that stood out to me, was their remarkable faith in God. The post detailed how hard the decision had been but how they trust that God was with them and would turn their ashes to beauty. This was the type of blog I was looking for.
I clicked to see the full site and was instantly shocked to find that the post I read was written a few months back and, since then, they’ve filed and completed a divorce and she is already with someone else. Infertility sucks.
I wish I could say that was the only blog I saw that pattern on but I continued to be let down, over and over, by similar stories. Happily married. Infertile. Determined to work through it together. Failed treatment. Divorce. It was heartbreaking to read.
A study from 2014 revealed that couples who experience failed infertility treatment are 3 times more likely to divorce. That’s painful. Many couples go into their marriage dreaming of a future family. When those dreams fail, it’s easy to start feeling like your marriage has failed.
When my husband walked in the door from work last night, I smiled and finished up making dinner. I didn’t want to burden him by revealing that my readings showed that one of my biggest fears was more prevalent than I thought. But inside, I was bursting with grief.
I don’t deal well with marriage stress, imagined or otherwise. Since receiving our infertility diagnosis, I have started panicking. You see, we have a two strikes against us. Not only are we a couple dealing with infertility, but my husband is in the military which also puts us in the category of “Significantly More Likely to Get Divorced.” It is incredibly daunting to stand at just over two years of marriage and look ahead knowing these statistics.
But I have a wonderful husband and we have a good marriage. As we remind each other often, we made promises to each other that cover and outrun careers or children.
Last week, we decided that we were going to take a nightly walk to the beach together. I think this has been one of the single best things we have ever done for our marriage. Walking gives us an opportunity to share our hearts and talk about the issues that are pestering our souls. It’s a set time where we know we have each other’s full attention. Instead of sharing at the dinner table, we can keep concerns out of the house and reserve that space for happy, lighter conversations. That’s not to say that our walks are always heavy but it is nice to have a specific place and time. When are walk is over, it’s over. We leave our concerns and burdens at the door.
Last night, our sunset walk took us to our favorite spot to sit and watch the waves crash upon the shore.
After a few minutes of discussing our IVF options, I shared what I had read. With tears swelling in my eyes, I told him how I felt like my worst fears were being confirmed. He put his arm around me and pulled me close to his chest. He promised me again, that we were in this through thick and thin, through sickness and health. We continued to discuss our options and to rule out a few possibilities. We didn’t come to any startling conclusions but we were reassured that we are a team and, for the first time since we received our diagnosis, I started to feel that we were together again. No longer desperately grasping for solutions but fighting together for the same dream, even if we still aren’t quite sure what that dream is.
Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm,
for love is strong as death,
jealousy is fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
the very flame of the LORD.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
If a man offered for love
all the wealth of his house,
he would be utterly despised.
Song of Solomon 8:6-7, ESV