The reverberations of infertility

It’s his 43rd birthday and he says he’s plagued by sadness that he’s childless.

I come home from work and unsure what condition I’ll find him in, but knowing that we could go out and celebrate his birthday.

He’s playing video games and says he’s feeling “a little bit better than before,” and yet he says he thought all day about children. About how old an infant born today would be when he’s in his 50s, 60s, 70s. And maybe he should adopt a 5 year old, a teenager.

How do I keep my own deep hurt in check from being triggered when my husband is clearly hurting?

I do, and we talk.

What we went through last year hit us hard. We shut down and muscled through and took action. I was cut open twice and spent more time in hospitals than I’ve ever spent in my  40 years. I was pushed to my hormonal limits with suppressants and stimulants. I gave so much blood. I spent hours in appointments or on the phone to make appointments. And at the end of it, what do we have? Nothing.

Not nothing, he reminds me. I’m no longer in pain from the endometriosis and ovarian cyst that haunted me. I know now that –unless by some miracle– my body has tapped out its ability to make eggs on demand, and having a child through intervention of modern medicine isn’t an option for us anymore — by biology and by choice.

I can’t help but feel resentful when my husband takes on all the hurt by himself, though. He didn’t have surgery. He didn’t have hormones given and blood taken. His body and modern medicine has not betrayed him as they have me. He could easily create a child with another woman. Whereas for me, another man wouldn’t make any difference.

Yet, isn’t it said that the suffering of the witnesses is worse than the suffering of those with the illness? Is that survivors’ remorse?

We’re not talking about death or cancer here, though. Even though I bore the physical suffering of infertility treatments, his suffering is just as valid. We didn’t know that I had infertility when we got married. If we knew that, I still think he would’ve married me.  His suffering is the regret that life didn’t turn out the way he thought it would.

It’s also on me that we haven’t taken steps toward adoption yet. Unfortunately we’re at this point where we have to make exact decisions about the steps toward parenthood, and with all those decisions, the burden of responsibility that I feel is factored into my angle of the decision to adopt. I’d like to adopt. But I can’t without more help. I  need more help financially. Or something. It’s not just a  lump sum of money I could use, but his commitment to not settle in a job that pays scraps above minimum wage.

I am an artist and a healer. I have gifts that I feel are so big and needed for this world, and I won’t just stand by in my standing-desk cubicle for 40 hours a day so we can pay bills, afford the things we enjoy to bring pleasure into our lives and have health insurance.

At the same time, I’m tired and burned out. I need time. I don’t want to quit my job and work tirelessly to maybe possibly be a self-sustaining artist. I don’t want to crank out commissioned work and pimp and pander myself out so that someone can buy my little wares.

I don’t know what the answer is.

I’m thankful I have an amazing therapist and two incredible communities to help me remember the light within me, to help me trust.

I wish that my husband would get therapy for his anxiety and depression. Today, he won’t.

There are limitations in all parts of life. I have my own. He has his own. I can’t fix him. He can’t fix me.

It’s his birthday and we’ll go out to eat. I’m disappointed to say that in my reactivity and emotionalness, I feel like numbing out with wine and falling asleep without sex. It’s unfortunate to say I don’t feel close to him right now. I’m in my own anger and hurt.

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