Infertility wreaks havoc on almost every aspect of marriage.
Did you know that couples suffering from infertility, whether it be explained or unexplained, are three times more likely to end in divorce?
Did you know that couples who experience a miscarriage are 22% more likely to break up? It goes up to 40% with the birth of a stillborn child.
Infertility takes away your financial stability, your mental sanity, your time, and can even sometimes take away your love for your spouse. I’ll be the first to admit that fertility drugs and my emotions don’t mix well and that my husband has been in the cross hairs time and time again. Deep down I know that I love him and that I wouldn’t want to be on this journey with anyone but him, but those hormones will take over and no matter how much I tell myself ‘this is the man I love’, I can’t stand him.
I love my husband very much and I know that he loves me more than anything. I also know that we’re some of the lucky ones who have taken this struggle and used it to strengthen our relationship. Despite being able to use this journey in a positive way, we still have our bumps in the road.
We keep to ourselves more.
We avoid talking to each other about the negative effects that our 3 years of trying to conceive have on us out of fear the other will think we want to throw in the towel.
We work really hard to make sure that we are patient and understanding with one another but since we’re only human we have our fair share of explosive fights. When you’re under constant stress from finances and a want to be pregnant and to safely carry a pregnancy to term, your emotions are high and the person to receive the brunt of it is your spouse.
Speaking of finances, infertility has a way of sucking it all away. I know that my husband is one to stress over our financial stability (I am too, just not as much) and infertility expenses have rocked his world. It’s definitely been a source of many disagreements. Infertility is EXPENSIVE. All caps doesn’t even do it justice. The average cost of our fertility treatments have been more than we pay for our mortgage and they only continue to go up as we experience more and more failed treatments. All of the medications, office visits, ultrasounds, transfers, and blood tests add up to an overwhelming amount even for most financially savvy couple. From my perspective, I’ll pay whatever it takes and however much to finally have a baby in my arms. From my husband’s perspective, he just stopped asking about the cost.
My husband compared the struggle of infertility to someone who experiences chronic pain or exhaustion. Infertility, like chronic pain and exhaustion, slowly drains you of everything you have. It starts out slow and with just a few things here and there. The doctor says not to worry and there shouldn’t be any concerns going forward. Before you know it, it’s medications galore and you spend more time in a fertility clinic than you ever thought you would. Every doctors appointment, every negative test, every blood draw, injection, and pill chip away at you. It’s easy to feel like there’s nothing more to give.
Miscarriage only exacerbates an already exhausted and burnt out couple. Your first miscarriage is draining and emotional but you bounce back with hope. Your second miscarriage is even more draining and your hope begins to dwindle. Your third miscarriage just sinks you. Three miscarriages means there’s a problem.
You suddenly have the label of recurrent miscarriages slapped on your file at the fertility clinic. It’s statistically more likely that you’ll miscarry in the future. Your husband doesn’t know what to say to you to console you. He doesn’t know how to handle his own emotions of loss. You don’t know how you will bounce back and continue to push forward when all you can think about is if your baby will survive the first 12 weeks. I could write a separate post entirely on miscarriage but I’ll leave it at this, it’s a unique and overwhelming challenge.
The positives of struggling with infertility are that we’ve learned to communicate with each other about how we’re feeling and we’ve learned to lean on one another for support. It’s taught us that despite our best laid plans, things won’t happen the way we want them to. It’s strengthened our relationship and helped us grow closer to God. I know the statistics are scary and it can seem like you’re destined to fail but statistics are not fact. If you rely on one another and those around you during these difficult days, months, and years, it’ll be much easier to bear the burden of infertility and miscarriage.
I read once that couples should remember that they got married, not to start a family, but because they genuinely loved each other and wanted to dedicate their lives to one another. Infertility has presented us with a number of challenges but at the end of the day I’m married to my best friend who supports me, loves me, and cares for me no matter what challenges life throws at us.
What parts of your marriage have suffered because of infertility or miscarriage? What has been the hardest part of your infertility story so far?