Apples and oranges, cats and dogs...
Dr. S once told me to be very aware that Jeremy and I would likely process the stress and anxiety of infertility differently. He told me neither of us would be wrong, but it might cause some friction between us. This is absolutely the case.
For those of you who may not know my husband well, he is pretty much my opposite. I am high strung and bossy. He’s laid back and go with the flow. I like to have a plan, a back up plan and a back up for the back up plan. If I’m not 15 minutes early, I am late. Jeremy likes spontaneous trips and times everything to arrive “just in time.” Why would the ways in which we handle infertility be any different?
I know this struggle has been hard on Jeremy, both because he is dealing with difficult emotions and because he is tasked with helping me through my difficult emotions. Most of the time, he is great. But, there are some things he is never going to truly understand. Sometimes, I get overwhelmed by this whole process. The failure every month just feels too much. I don’t feel like I can hold my head up, let alone go out in the world and function like a normal adult.
He tells me to let it go. I wish I could. Let it go. What a nice image.
I see myself holding a balloon, full of helium, and I release the string. But, my infertility is not the balloon. It’s not external. It is part of me. I carry it with me everywhere I go. It’s heavy and tiring, not light like the balloon. No matter what I do, it doesn’t go away. It’s a weight, somewhere deep in my chest, that can not be removed as long as I live. It’s an essential part of my being.
I know my husband desperately wants to be a father. Of that, I have no doubt. But, he doesn’t know the ache of an empty womb. It doesn’t hurt the same way, because pregnancy is outside of him. It’s part of me - well, should be a part of me- and the fact that I fail month after month to achieve pregnancy makes me hurt in every way.
I’ve recently had a very rough day, courtesy of my sister. I love her and don’t know what I would do without her. I don't blame her. She didn't do anything wrong. It was just one of the crazy, everything comes together moments. I logged on to Facebook (which should be called PregnancyBook or MyCuteKidsBook) to check things out. I notice a few pics my sister tagged. Then a few more... and a few more.... and a few more. These were pics from various stages of her children’s lives, many of which I was around for. I’ve pretty much seen all of the pics before. Nothing is news.
But it hits me. Hard. We’ve been trying for a child since Cali was a baby. I look back at the stages of her life, then the addition of her sister to the family. I remember those babies with chubby cheeks. I remember all of those stages. I remember thinking my sister and I would be able to raise our children together... that I would get pregnant while they were still little and they would have each other. My husband and I whispered these secret wishes, but we never told anyone else. We were young and healthy. We just knew I would get pregnant.
The pictures told the story of my infertility prison. It’s been years. More than half a decade. I love my nieces dearly and would do anything for them. But, they’re not mine. Yes, my sister generously shares them with me as much as possible. Yes, Cali resembles me in some ways. But, they’re not mine. I don’t tuck them in at night. I don’t see glimmers of myself and my husband in them. I’m Aunt Chicka. I’m fun, I bring presents, I take them places to do the things mom won’t. I’ve watched them grow and learn. But, it’s irrelevant. They’re not mine. I’ve waited and wanted and still.... my heart aches and screams “I just want a child!”
Therein lies the difference. My heart screams for a child. It aches and persists, regardless of what I do. My husband can seemingly compartmentalize his longing. It's so hard for me to forget. I try, largely for him, because I know he longs for a wife who believes babies are easy to make, or at least a wife who can get out of her head and stop beating herself up. But my heart just won't be quiet.