Wednesday, January 26, 2011

And A Handsome Prince (a.k.a. My husband)

In the traditional fairy tale, the beautiful princess always completes her journey with a handsome prince.  Not always so in real-life fairy tales.  Sometimes couples are composed of two princes or two princesses.  Sometimes a princess decides to embark on her journey into motherhood on her own.  I have friends in each of these categories and I love and respect them for their strength and courage.  So please don’t think, when you read this post, I am forgetting that not everyone is making their journey with a prince…But I am, so that’s what I’m going to write about.

Let me start out by saying, my husband is not always a prince.  Sometimes he is aloof and grumpy.  Sometimes he goes into his emotional turtle shell and it is all I can do to coax him to poke his head out to acknowledge that I’m there.  Sometimes he rolls his eyes when I am crying about another coworker announcing her pregnancy or he lets out too big of a sigh when I ask him to pause a television show so I can update him on our current position on an egg donor’s waiting list.  Sometimes he makes me feel like I am all alone, because his way of dealing with the overpowering emotions involved in our infertility struggles is to move on without acknowledging that anything happened.  On these days, “prince” is not the word that I use to describe him.

But then there are other days – the days when he gives me a hug first thing in the morning and tells me that today is going to be a good day, or the days that he surprises me with a weekend getaway during a two week wait to get my mind off the all-consuming fear that we’ll be disappointed again.  There are those times when he offers to take over dealing with the egg donor coordinator because I am feeling overwhelmed and out of control.  On those days…he is absolutely a prince!

I should explain that my husband is a chemistry professor.  Enough said.  He is the poster-child for “emotionally unavailable" but I love him anyway.  We are very different people and we have struggled as a couple in the last year.  We’re in marriage counseling right now, not because we are on the verge of divorce or are disinterested in the marriage, but because we don’t speak the same language when it comes to infertility and it leads to serious breakdowns in our ability to communicate with one another.  The counseling helps and I would recommend it to anyone who is feeling like the tiny cracks that were there in a marriage before infertility are widening.  It happens to the strongest couples I know, and counseling helps.  Even my husband admits that it helps and he HATES relying on anyone, especially someone in the “soft sciences.”

Anyways, Mr. Science is logical, analytical and predictable about everything.  I am logical, analytical and predictable about everything…except infertility stuff.  When it comes to my struggle to become a mother, I am a hormonal ball of emotion that changes her mind faster than the wind changes directions.  Even when I am not on the fertility meds (which would turn Spock into a bawling little girl), I am not myself when it comes to dealing with my own infertility.  And it is because of the very different way that my husband and I approach infertility that we have made it this far. 

When I was begging to keep trying IVF’s with my eggs after 6 failed IVF’s and our second RE saying he just didn’t feel we were going to get pregnant that way, the prince didn’t cry or get angry like I did.  Instead, he insisted that I consider what was most important to me and what was going to give us the best odds of getting to my goal of motherhood.  I grieved for a long time, but eventually it was his objective perspective that forced me to be realistic and realize that having a baby was more important than having a baby with my DNA.  Granted, I wanted to send him outside to live in the garage when he was telling me that he didn’t understand why I was being so stubborn and emotional about not wanting to move on to donor eggs, but if he had taken the easy road right then and given in to my begging to continue a futile quest, I would probably be on my eighth failed IVF cycle by now, with two more heartbreaks under my belt.

Writing this post makes me think about a T-shirt that I got my husband for his birthday, after our third date.  The T-shirt says “Trust me.  I’m perfect.”  He still has it and even though it doesn’t quite fit his body anymore, it still fits his personality.  And he doesn’t hesitate to squeeze himself into the shirt, like a sausage, when he thinks I need a laugh after we’ve quarreled.  I’ll never say it to him and I would deny it if ever confronted with the statement I am about to make, but he is his own way.  He is my perfect partner in the infertility trenches.  I can always rely on girlfriends to help me cry it out and to talk about the stuff that is too sappy for my husband to take on, but he is the one I need when the time comes to make the tough calls (there have been a lot of them on this journey).  He  is the one that consistently rises to the occasion when the chips are down.  Bottom line, my husband may not always be exactly what I want, but he is exactly what I need and in that sense, he is my prince.       


Amber said...

I absolutely love your blog! Such a fresh way of thinking about all things IF.

You're husband sounds a lot like mine. Very analytical. I think he balances me out quite well.

Good luck in your journey! I'll be following along.

Princess Wahna Bea Mama said...

Thanks so much, Amber. I love having you along for the journey.