It was not her wedding anniversary but she stood there, looking at the framed photo of herself and her husband on their wedding day, which was in a prime position on her dresser table, and looked at the joy on their faces. It brought back so many memories of dreams they had then, especially the ones they had chased and not achieved….of how much her life had changed. That picture prompted her to dig up some old pictures, and she sat there and reminisced over the way her life was way different from how she had imagined it would be.
Looking at the pictures, she saw a happy woman in love with her husband, who saw everything through the eyes of the lens in her amateur photography craze. She saw the vivaciousness in their faces, and the excitement over the life that lay ahead for them.
These were memories that made her look at her life and wish things were very different. But the reality was that they had been trying for a baby for six years, without any success. They had gone from trying on their own with their limited knowledge of how her body worked, to seeking professional medical help from a fertility doctor. But still, they were nowhere near the goal. She was not pregnant, had never miscarried, and had no baby.
Aside from feeling like a faulty baby making machine, Senami* lamented how their love life had become mechanical, no more romance attached. It had become more of a chore that had to be endured. They had sex based on their calendar, and the prediction of the ovulation stick she used. On the day the ovulation stick read positive, she would inform her husband, and whether he was at work, home, or anywhere in between, it meant they had to have sex that night. It did not matter if there were in the mood or not, whether they had had a quarrel or not, whether they had settled it or not, they had to have sex, and that was all that mattered.
It was not only their sex life that had been changed by infertility. Life’s daily interaction between them was tainted with the mark of infertility. From an even-tempered wife to a nagging one, who became upset at every seeming hesitance of her husband to attend any doctorâs appointment, to have sex on ovulation days, no matter how unhappy he was, or even both of them were.
But she took charge. She realized that they could not continue like this. She knew it was going to be only a matter of time before family pressure would soon be added to their list of worries. In her heart, she believed that if her husband were to have married another woman, he would have become a father.
The next time ovulation day rolled by, she was determined to make judicious use of the night. Instead of the usual call to inform her husband the stick had read positive, she sent him a delicious message…one she hadn’t sent in a long time. Senami’s husband was pleasantly surprised. For the first time in a long while, he went home with a spring in his feet. Going by his own calculation and the routine he had lived with for some time, he had a fair idea that it was ovulation day, but was surprised by the change.
Meanwhile, his wife had prepared his favourite dish, set up the dinner table with candle lights, and had Luther Vandross playing in the background! The stage was set for a remarkable dinner date. And it was.
Welcoming him with kisses and hugs, a long forgotten deal in their business, Senami said, “I realise that, for a long time, I have been a far cry from the woman you married. But tonight, I would like us to recapture the lost moments and just celebrate each other.”
That was enough for her husband to let down whatever remained of his guard, and warm up to the idea of an intimate evening with his wife. That day, they not only had a romantic dinner, they made love…not just sex. And it set the tone for the rest of their fertility journey. Even when it was hard, they managed to put some romantic time into the journey.
While Senami had to come to the realization she was losing more than her relationship to the fertility journey, it was Joy’s* husband that took the bull by the horn. He had had enough of his wife moaning, and being miserable. She had become a shadow of herself. All she thought about was baby; when it was coming, why it was delaying, the treatment the doctors had prescribed, and the failures that they had experienced.
Matters came to a head on the day he got home to meet his wife, a weeping mess, having just received yet another unwelcome visit from Aunt Flo! He immediately told her they were taking a break from the fertility treadmill, and going on a vacation. A decision she resisted with every fibre of her being, but her husband was not budging. So, after he had arranged for a leave at his work place, he bundled his wife into a plane, and they headed off to a serene location for the first vacation they had had in three years.
On the vacation, they were able to leave behind their worries and stress over their fertility issues. Joy’s husband was able to pour out his heart to her about how he was also affected by the fertility stress.
For once in a long time, she thought about her husband’s feelings, and how he was also coping with their 3-year baby delay. After extensive the soul baring discussions, they decided to do things differently in their marriage; like have date nights. And if that was not feasible, they would be sure to find some other way to bond, or just do anything that was not just focused on the baby they craved.
While these couples are not out of the woods yet in their baby dance, or even in the dynamics of their relationship, the women have learnt the importance of always looking in the mirror and declaring that they are stronger than their fertility challenge.
And so are you!
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