It is often said that opposites attract, but does that last long? And when you add infertility into the mix, how far does it go?
Those were questions that a lovely lady, known as Derin, did not ever think she would be answering. She is a vivacious lady, who happened to fall in love with the gentlest of men she had ever set her eyes on.
He was everything she wasn’t; he could spend his entire weekend at home, without stepping a foot outside, while Derin needs to go out to feel alive. She can’t stand being cooped up inside, so they reached a compromise; they would do whatever she wanted for a day, and did what he wanted for the next day.
Derin’s husband, Stanley, never sought out people, his circle of friends was quite small and most them had come from way back from his childhood, while Derin picked up friends on a daily basis and from their interaction, you would think she had known them for years and was merely reconnecting with the friend, not that they had just met.
Where Derin’s heart is easily broken, even though she quickly gets over it, Stanley doesn’t even open himself up to be hurt that easily. So, he gets to play the life coach a lot, where his wife is concerned, but rather than heed his suggestion to take things easy with new relationships, Derin is, as usual, always moving at break neck speed.
As their second wedding anniversary approached, she started to talk about babies a lot more than usual. She was always sharing baby news; a friend had just given birth, another just got pregnant, yet another couldn’t show up for an outing, because of morning sickness. Derin kept dropping snippets, but she has a husband who doesn’t understand hints. He responds to only direct comments, questions and such.
So, in the end, she had to come out and disclose the main reason behind her suddenly becoming a bearer of baby news; she wanted a baby too.
Before this time, she had experienced pregnancies but they had often ended in miscarriage. They had tried injectibles with timed intercourse, but it had ended in miscarriage. True, conception wasn’t their challenge; the challenge was maintaining the pregnancy.
In a twist that they didn’t realise until TTC reared its head, Stanley was the eager, proactive one, while Derin was more laid back. What a switch.
So, her mention of wanting a baby was a challenge to Stanley. He immediately went into problem-solving mood. Yet, here was a problem he had failed to solve in the past, so, it came with added stress of past failures.
Still the next day, after Derin mentioned baby, Stanley was presenting her with plans; Plan A and B, the options available to them in the light of their diagnosis of unexplained recurrent miscarriage.
As usual, Derin found it hard to relate her quiet man, with the guy who has been approaching their TTC efforts as though it is a project he needs to execute with timelines.
Yes, she wanted baby but her ardour nowhere matched her husband’s and she noticed that it was whenever, she was feeling down and cried for baby that her husband would go into his TTC warrior mode.
Derin liked the fact that her husband was interested in their having a baby but it was only at her prompting. For Stanley, he was fine with the way, they were but he truly desired to please his wife, so when she wanted something, he provided, only that this time, he couldn’t provide what she wanted.
They went along with one of this plans, which involved seeing another doctor and a possible IVF cycle, which Derin wasn’t enthusiastic about at first, but when they spoke with the new doctor, she started to warm to the idea and even hoped it would work. On the other hand, her husband was already wired for it to work, for his wife to get the baby, her heart desire.
When that cycle failed, Stanley hurt badly. It was a blow to his self-esteem, all his planning hadn’t succeeded, after all. He had failed his wife. But he internalised his hurt and took care of his wife, strategizing for another day.
Another day hasn’t come for them, but as I write, they have switched personalities; Derin is now the most withdrawn person, with a distinct lack of interest in social activities, while her husband has moved over to the other side, cajoling her to go out and bringing her plenty of gist, just to get a smile out of the love of his life.
It’s been five years of consciously trying, visits to doctors are uncountable, hormonal injections are normal part of their lives and even though they are yet to have the baby, they are not giving up hope that, one day, the lines will fall onto them in pleasant places.
Now, Derin has answers to her questions; not only do opposites attract, they can last and even when infertility rears its head, interesting things can happen, like a swap of personalities.
Meanwhile, here are some suggestions to help both partners during the infertility process:
- Communicate openly with each other.
- Realize there’s no right or wrong way to feel. Getting in touch with your feelings will help you know what you need. Once needs are identified, clearly and specifically tell your partner how to help you.
- Ask your partner what she/he needs rather than assuming that you can/cannot give it.
- Recognize the psychological and emotional differences between men and women.
- See if you can teach each other some of the skills you’ve learned from your own life experiences as man or woman.
- Share more in the process of treatment. Share both the burdens and joys of your different perceptions/experiences of infertility. It will help to balance the intensity and bring you closer with a deeper respect for each other.
Sending loads of baby dust the way of all TTC mamas and more love in their marriages.
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