Does prolonged exposure to the rigours of infertility necessarily destroy a relationship?
Can love die for the want of a baby?
When hope is lost, what is left?
These last few months after loss have been unspeakably hard. So much has happened since another Baby Wobbles left us. It has largely been the same old by now very familiar drill: suppress all grief, anger and sadness. Just keep going regardless. We ended another year without a baby. Year of the Take-home Baby bypassed this house. Our â€˜Babyâ€™s first Christmasâ€™ decoration is lost at the back of some cupboard.
My Wobbles and I are lost in a new Infertility Twilight: a land that seems beyond dreaming for a baby or actively planning further cycles, but not fully accepting this can never be.
Meanwhile we struggle. Struggle in our own ways to make sense of something that possibly defies logic or explanation.
Never in my life have I worked so hard at something for such a prolonged time. This is quite a claim for someone who is so lazy. Nor have I ever found so little reward in a decision to pursue a dream. This too is quite a claim for someone who has built a life around horribly low expectations.
Where have we gone wrong? What else could we have done? Why do we seem doomed to be THAT couple? The one, that despite their best intentions, efforts and endurance were the ones that failed.
My Beloved Wobblesâ€™ greatest dream was to be a parent. He is not bitter, nor does he blame me. I just wonder how I can continue to look into those big sad eyes of his knowing how badly I have failed him. If I had little family life in upbringing, he had even less. Denying Wobbles fatherhood is where my failures begin to feel tangible and not so insignificant anymore. My own inability, which started off with bad eggs and has now extended into other issues, affects someone else very much so. All other hurts before this were largely my own. This private little hell conspires against us. While we remain strong together, it assists our isolation from the rest of the world. Infertility represents a pain that we wear permanently. Even when we cannot see it, this is the thing that triggers other insecurities. We feel like lesser beings. Undeserving lesser beings.
I resent falling into suspicion, thinking that maybe some â€˜forceâ€™ has deemed that we would not have made good parents. Somehow, in denying us the opportunity to experience family, unknown powers have seized upon my own secret doubts that Wobblesâ€™ vagueness and workaholicism combined with my depression would have made for a terrible basis parenting.
Is it foolish to look for meaning in all of this? Why do I feel the need to find some kind of message or lesson from this? What am I to do with the nagging fears? Of all the mistakes made by the clinic â€“ and there were many â€“ is it really possible that our most recent cycle and the ultimate loss might have been spared? The evidence is there. I dearly hope we are mistaken, but what if we are not?
The therapy is helping, but even my psychologist seems a little concerned about the events I am describing. Then again, he has heard the whole sorry saga of Other Stuff. There is still no end to Other Stuff, and the thought that it is about to get worse again is difficult to face. A pregnancy and the resulting baby of last cycle was we hopefully told ourselves, to be a form of compensation for enduring over a year of Other Stuff. It was not to be and afterwards the punishments and humiliations of Other Stuff seem even more acute. â€˜We must be really horrible peopleâ€™ I find myself thinking when I am not simply fixating on â€˜I think I have jinxed Wobblesâ€™ life.â€™
By the close of 2011 my despair had grown to the kind of levels whereby suppressing them was the only way to survive. As of course, as is the usual story with IVF there are simple practicalities to be considered, such as earning a living and so on. I buried myself in work and studies not only out of a need to survive financially, but also out of the need to avoid aggravating that overwhelming sense of personal failure. It was life as we have grown to know it: fighting going under from despair and financial stress set against a background of suppressing the many fears attached to childlessness.
In an effort to snatch life back from this ongoing grind, or maybe it was in an effort to ward off some the atmosphere, Wobbles surprised me with something quite unexpected. In a romantic setting on a rare night away, he asked me to marry him. So on New Yearâ€™s Eve, we became engaged. Who knows if, or when there will be a wedding? Point is it was that all-important reaffirmation I needed from him: that our love for each other still mattered â€“ that although I cannot give him what he most wants â€“ I am what he needs.