I think most of us have a vision of what our family will look like. A certain amount of kids, the perfect age gap between number one and number two, the easy, stress-free pregnancy.
Me and my husband had talked about it before we were even married. We couldn’t wait to have our perfect family. But then we were hit with infertility. I was devastated. How did this happen? Why me?
We went through treatment after treatment and were successful with our first IUI. We conceived triplets, but unfortunately had to have a medical reduction to twins. It was heartbreaking. We were both broken, confused, and lost. How could this all be happening?
While all of this was going on, we didn’t know how to talk about it, so we just didn’t, which deeply affected our marriage to the point of almost no return. We started arguing a lot, and he became verbally abusive and always angry. Although we had our beautiful twins that we love so much, there was still a dark cloud hanging over our heads from infertility.
But thankfully, our marriage survived. This is how.
We sought out counselling
Infertility is a lot. It affected our mental health more than we ever expected it to. So to save us from falling off the deep end, we tried counselling. We knew the only way was to finally talk about everything that had happened, so my husband had individual therapy, and we attended sessions as a couple too.
We started to talk about what we had been through, how difficult being infertile is and how taxing it had been to go through treatments and actively decide to lose a baby. Finally, after four years of shoving it under the rug, we were dealing with it. And now, I can’t recommend counselling more.
We made time for us as a couple
We had to focus on us, it was key. So we made time for us as a couple. We found that going on weekend walks, alone, allowed us to give each other our full attention. Even now, years later, we never miss a weekend. It’s a priority for us, and we’ll never schedule anything that might get in the way of our walking.
Although you might be thinking ‘A walk? Can that really save my marriage?’ and I thought that too. But the time alone, away from the kids and household stresses, in fresh air, really brought us together and allowed us to see things more clearly.
We booked in date nights
It’s so easy to overlook spending quality time with your partner, that you forget how important it is. When working on our marriage, we scheduled a babysitter for a weekly date night, as well as the walks. We’d head out for a few hours alone, and this has bonded us and brought us closer together than ever.
Even if you can’t go on a date night, try your best to find an hour or two to eat together, have a glass of wine, or play a game. Something that can bring you that friendship and connection that you had before infertility.
How we used our tools to try IVF again
More recently, we went through IVF for three years. We lost seven embryos, suffered a miscarriage, and had never felt such loss in our lives. But this time, we did it together. We were a team.
He could see and feel so much of what I was going through because not only was he more present, but I finally let him in. I made sure he was as involved as he wanted to be, and I always checked in with him and made sure he was a part of this journey. Realizing that he needed support too was huge for us.
And of course he was there to support me. He’d catch me every time I fell to my knees crying. He gave me his shirt when I didn’t have anything to hold on to in the doctor’s office sobbing after we lost the baby. He told me that we wouldn’t stop trying. He was fully present during the entire journey.
When we finally had a positive test, after our 7th transfer, we were the strongest we had ever been and still are. Our marriage hit rock bottom because of infertility, but it also reached its highest of highs.
Infertility can tear you apart but it can also make you see each other in a different light. It allowed us to grow closer and created space for that when there didn’t seem to be space for much else.