'How infertility affected my marriage'

My husband and I had been happily married for about 5 years when we decided that it was time to start a family. I went off the pill and I guess, like most young, fit, healthy couples, we assumed we would be parents within a year. What actually followed was 6 years of doctors, medication and fertility treatment.

During these years, it occurred to me on many occasions that men and women really are from 2 different planets – well certainly, my husband and I were probably from 2 different galaxies.

The thing about fertility drugs is that they basically pump the woman full of hormones which makes her behave like a total nut case. I once cried for an hour because I thought our dog loved my hubby more than he loved me.  I also got lost coming home from work along the same route I had travelled for 6 years!

I became forgetful, angry, sad, frustrated and very resentful towards my friends who were pregnant or had babies.

My husband, while trying to be comforting and supportive, could never, ever have got it right. There was no way he could have known what I needed because it changed on an hourly basis and I had no idea either.

The science of sex

Our relationship was reduced to intercourse timetables and injection schedules followed by 3 days of bed rest for me, followed by devastation at failed attempts – and that was every single month!

We had to have sex at specific times as it is all worked out very scientifically.  One night, I had to have my injection at 1am and then at 3am we had to have intercourse. Romance is the LAST thing on your mind during these times. We had a job to do and like a lot of jobs, it is tedious work but you just get on with it.

We were completely stressed; financially, emotionally and sexually.

We adjusted our lives to accommodate the treatment.  In addition to working full time and getting daily injections, I embarked on a very radical diet as well as reflexology, acupuncture, hypnosis and more. What could my husband do? His routine kind of stayed the same.  He would go to work, then to the gym and then home to a crazed wife. 

Don’t get me wrong – he really, really wanted a baby and he was devastated by all of the failed attempts BUT, the only 2 things he could actually do were to deliver sperm to the clinic once per month and try to support me.

By the time we were 4 years into the process, we were speaking of very little else. We had become consumed by our battle and we had no one to talk to. We had decided to keep our infertility to ourselves (something which I regret it today) so we had no outlet for our frustrations. People would say things to us that would cut through us like a knife but because we couldn’t or wouldn’t share our problem that pain and frustration would wait until we got home and then explode into tears or a fight or some other outlet.

Eventually, we gave up.  We had a friend who recommended we try adoption instead and we decided to follow her advice.

Instead of taking a break and working on 'us', we dove immediately into the stressful world of adoption applications and interviews. Once again, we were stressed and we spoke of little else. 

We were fortunate and we got our baby boy the day after he was born (within 3 months of submitting our application).  He was very premature and quite ill and he spent a month in ICU before we could bring him home. This is another story all together but just before our son turned 3, we could no longer hold the marriage together and we split up.

We are both devastated to have waited so long and tried so hard for a family only to end up raising our son in 2 separate homes. We do the best we can but it is not what we dreamed of all those years ago.

What was the effect of trying to conceive on your relationship? Share in the comment box below, or mail your story to chatback@parent24.com
Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.
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