So yesterday I finally plucked up the courage and told my husband, V about this blog. It’s not that I did not want him to know but I did not know if he would be okay with me baring our intimate struggles with the world. This blog was meant to be an outlet for my frustrations but recently, I have been toying with the idea of sharing this with my family and friends, so that it would be easier for them to know what I (and other couples suffering from infertility) are going through.
So I was bracing myself for all sorts of questions from V when I broke the news to him.
“Erm..dear, you know I actually am writing a blog..”
“Huh..for what, school ah?” (I am a teacher).
“Er no..about our problems conceiving”
*looks up from his nonsensical soccer game so I know I got his attention*
“I don’t know..just wanted an outlet to express myself.”
*goes back to annoying game* – seriously, if I can I will delete that game from the play store.
Wow. that was. BORING. I was expecting fireworks of some sort but well, better than objecting.
“So, can I read it?” he ventured, eyes still glued on that stupid screen.
Misson accomplished, I smiled gleefully to myself as I gave him the address. After 3 rounds of “are you done yet”, “no i don’t read like you. stop asking”, he looked up and said “pretty good” with a smile.
My heart felt so much lighter then, at least he supported me in this. “But you know, there’s nothing I can relate to” the critic continued.
“I mean..it’s all from the girls’ perspectives. What about what the guys go through?”
So that’s when I got thinking. He is right. I have been whining and complaining about how horrible this whole experience has been for me that I have totally side-stepped what the husbands go through. So today, I thought of exploring that.
P.S Please take note that this is for husbands who themselves are not suffering from any issues and have to support their wives through their struggles. I wouldn’t know what husbands who they themselves have issues, go through so I will not talk about that.
5 things husbands, part of infertile couples go through
Many a times when I am in my most desperate of states (usually either after I get my period, indicating that no, I am NOT pregnant or after a doctor has very kindly told me how slim my chances of conceiving are), V has just sat there, holding me, looking just as desperate if not more. After I calm down, he would usually hold my hand tight and keep reassuring me that it is going to be okay. When I think back about it, I know that he probably was disappointed too, but had to shove his feelings aside to attend to the more emotional and vulnerable me. For that, I am blessed.
2. Lack of tact from others.
Somehow, people seem to think only the women are suffering or that only the women are yearning for children. However, that is far from the truth. When we fail to get pregnant, it is a failure for both the husband and wife. While people are generally more sensitive towards the females (I say this very very loosely), they tend to think that the husbands are not really part of the process and channel more insensitive questions to the men, thinking that “they can handle it”.
I know my husband has been “filtering” such questions and statements so that what I receive is just the tip of the mountain. And how hard must it be for him? To constantly answer insensitive questions, to keep repeating the same lines that “yes, we are trying” and “no, not yet”.
But maybe it’s because I have a resting bitch face and people just don’t dare tell me anything. HAH.
3. Pressure of family.
When we seriously considered IVF, my mother was the first of my confidantes. I did not think twice about going to her as I knew she was going to be supportive. She never pressurised me to have children (maybe because she already has 2 cuties as grandkids) and always told me to take my time. However, when V ventured about telling his family about it, I hesitated. Not because I did not want them to know, but because they have been more excited about having grandchildren of their own since V is the eldest child. So, the pressure has been more. And I was a little worried about how they would react to us having trouble getting pregnant. He agreed with me but a few months later, he told me that he wanted his mum to know.
“Huh why, please let’s just not say anything for now.”
“But she’s my mum. I think she deserves to know.”
I knew it was escalating to a quarrel but somehow, I decided to just think about it. And he was right. If I could confide to my mum, why was I restricting him doing the same? I never really thought about the pressure HE was getting from them and how he was stuck in between me and them. It should not be that way.
4. To be supportive beyond their means.
Infertility takes its toll. Not just because of the repeated disappointments again and again. But also physically, the treatments can really be a bitch. Blood tests, scans (the most uncomfortable thing, especially when you’re having painful periods), COUNTLESS pills that make you go cuckoo at times, so many many injections and more. Rushing from work to scans which can be as often as twice a week also takes its toll. And for me, it was just me going through all this. At times when I winced in pain, V had this look that I knew he wished he could go through it instead of me. But he can’t and that’s the reality. Seeing their wives going through all of that, and not being able to do anything (much) about it has seriously got to suck.
We just started on our IVF jabs which has got to be done at 7am every morning. So, even on weekends, we have to drag ourselves out of bed and prepare for the jabs. Although he does not have to, he gets up with me and helps me swab my flabby tummy and counts to 5 with me. 🙂
5. Bitchy wife.
I am serious. I can’t count the number of times I have snapped at V over ridiculous things just because I was stressed over some infertility thing. Sometimes, he lets me get away with it but sometimes he doesn’t and whoops my ass into place. (and that’s why he’s my husband). He has been on the receiving end of my tantrums –
- when the meds make me feel too hot (WHY IS IT SO HOT!? CAN YOU DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE AIRCON?!),
- when my boobs hurt so bad (DON’T TOUCH MY BOOBS. YES U DID. YOUR FINGER GRAZED IT.),
- when I have to figure out how I am going to explain to my boss why I have to go for YET another scan (WHY IS LIFE SO UNFAIR!!! – my personal favourite)
- when I am heaving and sobbing about yet another negative pregnancy test and he tries to comfort me saying it will be okay (NO IT WON’T BE. STOP SAYING THINGS YOU DON’T KNOW FOR SURE!)
- when I hear about yet another pregnancy announcement from couples “who were not even trying” and I am trying very hard not be a bitch (who am i kidding..i WAS being a bitch) (WHAT DO YOU MEAN I SHOULD BE HAPPY FOR THEM?!? OF COURSE I AM BUT AREN’T I ALLOWED TO BE SAD FOR ME?!?)
For all the times you just listened to me and even more for all the times that you made me realise that I have to stop being such a whiny, pathetic, blubbering mess – thank you V 🙂
SO yes, that’s my list. This is not exhaustive of course but what comes to my mind about what the husbands go on their own. Sometimes, in the midst of all the madness we go through, we tend to take them for granted and expect them to do whatever they are doing. So, thank you. For going through all this with us and not leaving us when we become psychotic. For holding our hands when we refuse to talk. For holding us when we refuse to be held.