When Sophia woke up to her fifth wedding anniversary, she pulled the duvet over her head and tried to wish the day away. Not another anniversary without a baby…not even a baby bump to assure her that the 6th anniversary was going to be different. It hurt, and she hurt really bad. Just like the fourth anniversary, and the one before that; she spent the day in bed, comfort-eating on food she would normally avoid. The pity-party whas huge, but no-one was invited to it…not even darling hubby. Nobody could understand what she was going through.
Every anniversary signaled for her a reminder of her ‘failure’, and when she finally got on social media, it was to update another anniversary, another year past, a reminder that my body is weak, a reminder of my failure. I wasn’t her friend, but I followed her Instagram account. When I saw the picture of her sulking in bed and the attendant caption, I quickly went to her page and checked through all her old pictures. It was a pattern, from her second anniversary, right up to the fifth. For her, it stopped being a day to celebrate her marriage, but a day to remember that she was still TTC.
One of the comments on her photo also called my attention, and it was from another TTC lady who apparently had her anniversary coming up. The lady talked about the raw pain she felt at her coming seventh anniversary, and how she was emotionally drained and depressed. It’s terrible being so unhappy on your anniversary, but I can’t help feeling that our family is taking so long to get complete. In the past, I tried filling up my days with activities, but I was sure to return home depressed and sad. Now, the seventh anniversary is around the corner, Ron wants us to take a little vacation, but I just want to stay indoors and cry. These ladies are very open about their TTC journeys and lots of #TTCSisters commented, and also lamented about the depression that comes with wedding anniversaries while TTC. A lot of them admitted that it was a struggle to keep sane throughout that period.
Certain celebrations can be hard on TTC couples…birthdays and society’s reminder of the chiming biological clock is so hard to deal with; people hardly expect a woman who is TTC to celebrate her birthday. It’s like a sacrilege! You should be in church praying, or fasting on a prayer mountain or something, not celebrating that God has graciously added another year to your life, or the fact that you have great family and friends, a job, working limbs and hope for the future. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day celebrations, as well as New Year’s Day, are hard celebrations to face when you are TTC. But I doubt if any is as tough to deal with as the wedding anniversary. You remember saying For better or worse…in sickness and in health but in your heart, you only thought of for better…and in health. You had dreams and plans, and all looked rosy. But then, after the marriage, the nursery remains empty and dull, and you soon convert it into a closet for your old clothes.
Another #TTCsister account I follow on Instagram said each wedding anniversary was a hurtful reminder of her honeymoon, and the dreams she came back home with, which remained unfulfilled. By the fourth anniversary, she was tired of the pity-party she had thrown the previous years, and decided to be grateful rather for the fact that she and her husband were still going strong, that they were still married in a country where most marriages break up before the second anniversary. She chose to be grateful that, in spite of the stress and pain of infertility, she and her husband had grown stronger together. She had come to appreciate the vows she said on her wedding day, and she now had a revised version of her honeymoon dreams. She said she finally understood that life doesn’t always work by our calendar, but she had the responsibility of creating lasting happy memories. It wasn’t until their 13th anniversary that they finally became parents, and she was grateful that she had all those years alone with her husband, as they hardly have time now to go for anniversary dinners or getaways; with schedules filled with work, soccer practice, choir practice and all sorts of activities attached to raising children.
Our feelings are controlled by our thoughts, so whether or not you are going to have a good anniversary and celebrate your marriage, or stay in bed eating Pringles and feeling sorry for yourself is a question of what your thought process is like. It’s so easy and so understandable to fall into depression as the day goes by, but what good would that do? You only have one second or third or fourth anniversary…you don’t get another chance to make it a good one. In a society like ours that has little tolerance for delayed parenthood, try to be grateful for the fact that your mother-in-law hasn’t brought any girl from the village to ‘help your husband get a child’. For one, I am grateful that we have more supporting and understanding husbands these days. Decades ago, a woman who was TTC begged God for a child, not just because she wanted to be a mother, but more importantly, because she did not want to be kicked out of her husband’s home. But here you are, with a man that understands you, makes the doctor’s appointment with you, foots the bill and reminds you that he loves you. Now, that is worth celebrating! So make the most of your anniversaries now, while they can be a romantic activity for two…because soon, there will be a little bundle of joy, running fever from immunization, and your anniversary would probably be a quick trip to Cold Stone and Dominos.
Godspeed to us all!
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