**Before I really dig in to what this is going to be about, let me tell you a little bit about what we’ve been doing the last couple weeks! At least one entire week was occupied by filling out an IVF Grant Application. Yup. I found a foundation that we not only met ALL of the criteria for, but are actually considered ‘priority’! There are so many awesome programs out there that have processes set up to help couples overcome the financial burden of IVF and I think it is simply AMAZING.
Hubby found a website that listed all of the programs that offer assistance. There were quite a few, but the one that we applied to is called the Pay It Forward Fertility Foundation. The deadline for applications was today (3/18/2014) and once they start reviewing them, it will be 6-8 weeks before we know anything. The grant amounts vary and they will give partial or full grants. They give the funds directly to the clinic and when they disclose the amount that the recipient has been granted, they also tell what those funds can be used for – monitoring, lab work, medications, procedures, etc. We got ours sent off and now, we wait!! We are still doing our online fundraiser – among other little ways – to earn money because IF we are selected, there will still be portions of it that we will be responsible for. So if you happen to think about it, send a little prayer!!!**
The last few months have been … challenging. There are so many things that infertility brings. This silent, secret journey can absolutely tear your life apart. Body, emotions, mental health, friendships. And marriage.
When you’re not quite paying attention, it can creep into just about every nook and cranny of your life. A commercial on TV for diapers. A movie about a guy who doesn’t even know how many kids he has because he gave a “donation”. YET ANOTHER pregnancy announcement on Facebook (Nope. No bitterness from me!). A brand new baby crying in church. Timing intimacy so that it coincides perfectly with the “fertile window”.
There’s the heartache. The stress. The disappointment. The embarrassment. Miscarriage, bad test results, failed treatments, unspoken blame. It’s this weighted load that you don’t even realize you’re carrying.
We all sang it as kids. “J & D sitting in a tree! K-I-S-S-I-N-G! First comes LOVE! Then comes MARRIAGE!” But then comes the part that NONE of us were expecting – NO BABY CARRIAGE!! Not only does no one prepare you for THIS, but they trick you into believing that having a baby is what MAKES a marriage real. As if two people can’t love each other enough to have a real marriage unless they create another person.
In our early 20’s we’re asked with a playful poke “Sooo, when are you getting married?!” And then, as soon as the vows are said it’s “Sooo, when are you having babies?” I wish that someone would have set me aside and said – “Listen, not all women that try to get pregnant get pregnant right away. Many women have issues for many years and some will spend thousands of dollars, shed millions of tears, endure repeated heartbreak and sadly never actually get pregnant.”
I totally get that people want to be as positive as possible, but it would have been nice to not be blindsided by all the emotions. No matter how well I think I’ve compartmentalized everything or am dealing with it “in my own way”, there’s still someone who thinks that I’m obsessed or hyper focused or whatever other word that has a negative connotation can be used to describe a woman who has a strong passion to be a mom.
Men and women deal with this journey SO differently. Especially men that are as laid back and innately positively optimistic as my husband. He’s just so go-with-the-flow-everything-will-work-out-fine that sometimes it just makes me want to SCREAM!! And even have on occasion. (Hey, I never claimed to be perfect.) It’s not that I want him to cry with me every single time I’m upset. Or to tinge green when he sees a pregnant couple walking hand-in-hand. But maybe a tear here or there wouldn’t hurt so much.
We got to the point where we were arguing over such little things. Little things became big things, and before we knew it we’d gone a couple of days without talking. By the time we got over it, we couldn’t even remember why we’d been fighting to begin with. Yet, we always seemed to come back to one thing. And we couldn’t quite figure out how to fix it. I’d mentioned counseling in the past and gotten a quick and heated “NO”. I used to be SO against it, but I knew that we needed SOMETHING to help us. So – I took a deep breath and scheduled an appointment with a counselor that specialized in infertility.
At first, getting J to agree to go was pretty much like pulling teeth. We got in probably our worst fight to date just a couple of days before we were scheduled to go in. We slept in separate bedrooms and in the few failed attempts we made to resolve it ourselves, he told me he was absolutely, positively, definitely NOT coming. I kept trying to explain why I felt like we needed it and how going to counseling didn’t mean that we were broken or crazy, but rather that we refused to become any more of a statistic than we already were. There may have even been an ultimatum thrown in there. (Desperate times call for desperate measures, people.)
I went to the appointment expecting to be there alone. Butterflies in my stomach (all the way up to my throat) and scared to death. Thankfully, he showed up but when we walked in, we couldn’t even look at each other. After an hour of talking, it felt like we walked out two completely different people.
Hearing the things I’d said and felt in someone else’s voice not only helped J, but helped me also. Now he knew I wasn’t crazy for feeling that way, but more importantly, **I** also knew that I wasn’t so crazy for feeling that way. Or at least only marginally crazy!
I didn’t marry my husband for what he could give me. My husband didn’t marry me for what I could give him. And he loves me in spite of what I can’t.