Infertility is like riding a crazy emotional wave all on its own, let alone trying to maintain a healthy relationship in the thick of it.
A while back an older version of Ken and Barbie became patients. They looked like the All-American, happily married couple on fertility pamphlets. He came to every appointment with her, held her hand during each visit. He seemed interested in every detail of her treatment cycle. They seemed genuinely happy, and very supportive of one another.
Ken and Barbie were patients for a good while before she became pregnant. Their over the moon excitement was short-lived. After hearing the heartbeat at their 7-week appointment, the 8-week ultrasound showed no growth and the heartbeat had stopped.
Understandably, they decided to take a little break after the miscarriage. She contacted us a few months later. I assumed the call was to let us know they were ready to try again, but unfortunately they were in the process of divorcing.
What a Debbie Downer story, right? Who am I?
My point is that even though they looked like the epitome of the perfect couple, we didn't see what was going on behind closed doors. We didn’t see how heavily the burden of infertility was weighing on their relationship.
I've been back on a John Mayer kick since his new album came out and there’s a song called, "Emoji of a Wave". I find it relatable to my situation as well as couples dealing with fertility issues.
My relationship is ummm.... ?! I don't really know how you would describe it because honestly it’s complicated. I guess I love a good adventure. But the song says;
It's just a wave
It's just a wave
And I know
That when it comes
I just hold on
I just hold on
I feel like what I’m going through is temporary. It’s just a wave. It isn’t going to be like this forever (God help me). Maybe this is a test of my loyalty, my patience, seeing if I am tough enough to handle it all in the long haul. If we can make it through this, there is no doubt that we could make it through whatever life decides to throw at us next.
My wave might sound like a pleasant surf down the shores of Maui, while the infertility wave may feel more like a tsunami.
First of all being on all that hormonal medication probably isn’t going to make anyone feel too sunshiny and cuddly. The constant appointments, the financial stress, the disappointment when it doesn’t work out. A big one, the decision to keep going after so many failed attempts or calling it quits. Making decisions that will impact the rest of your life is kind of a big deal, and can be a huge stressor on even the best relationships.
(I also want to add a side note that if you are on social media looking at all these couples seemingly going through infertility with ease, maybe they are or maybe they're completely full of shit and you only are seeing the highlight reel. Good for those couples who don't skip a beat through infertility. I know not everyone handles it with ease. Trust me I’ve witnessed some awkward interactions and plenty of snippiness and arguments even over small things like scheduling appointments.)
My advice is listen to John Mayer, pretty sure that will make everything better.
But real advice; communicate, don’t place blame, take ownership of your feelings, and try your damnedest not to take it out on each other. Stressful times don't always bring out the best in us.
Just hold on.