It’s our anniversary today. We’ve had 14 years together and eight of them as man and wife, becoming Mr & Mrs on June 4th 2011.
Whenever I think of that most glorious and wondrous day my heart glows, my soul smiles and I remember its utter perfection. I beamed and he grinned and we were surrounded with glee and joy and wishes of the warmest kind.
And then, as you all know, things didn’t go to plan. For no matter how much we loved, nor how much love we had, we remained empty, unable to create the child we craved.
During our darkest days I’d question whether we’d used our ‘happiness quota’ on that one day, and weren’t entitled to more. However, I learned that wasn’t the case, but rather that it was circumstantial and merely just how it was. We hadn’t jinxed anything, we hadn’t wronged the universe and, whilst it felt like a punishment, we weren’t actually being castigated. It was simply our life.
Trying to maintain a relationship whilst living with infertility is not easy. It’s incredibly, heart-breakingly tough, and there were times when I didn’t know how we were going to survive. We’d been so full of hopes and dreams, plans and secret promises, which were forced to remain in the imaginings of a parallel life, shattered in the reality we were living. I felt tricked, cheated and conned; the rest of the couples we knew had been bestowed with their most precious of gifts, yet we were left aching, wanting, longing. I sometimes feel an overwhelming sadness, that so much of our newly wedded bliss was spent in yearning and sufferance and pain.
Discovering we couldn’t have children naturally, gave a very real meaning to the vow we’d made: “For better, for worse”, because even when we thought life really couldn’t get any worse; it did. Our first cycle of ICSI failed and we lost my father-in-law. Our second cycle was also unsuccessful and this time my Grandmother passed away. We then battled for further months experiencing more negative pregnancy tests, a miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. At some points it truly felt as though we were perpetually waiting for the better, wondering if those days would ever return.
I’m often asked if we’re stronger, because of what we had to face and, in all honesty, I don’t know the answer to that.
I think we’re different people to the ones it’s possible we’d have become. We’ve definitely grown together, but it’s my hope that would have happened anyway. We’ve learned to find joy in unexpected places, that life doesn’t always go to plan, and we now know an awful lot about how babies are made! We’re hugely fortunate to live a life which is so blessed, but it is different to the one we’d always imagined for ourselves, and I do still carry the burdens of loss. I’ve often heard variations on the quote; “happiness cannot exist without sorrow”, and that certainly feels quite apt.
Infertility stole much from us and shaped the whole course of our life. We didn’t always handle it with aplomb or grace, yet we did manage to get through it side by side, always together, forever as us; a couple, of whom I am immeasurably proud to be one half of.
But we’re just one story. A solo voice in the sea of anguish which is caused by being forced to live childness not by choice. We also, eventually, did get the ending we’d so desperately hoped for.
Not all are as fortunate.
Circa 3.5million people, in the UK, are known to live with infertility, and around a quarter of a million pregnancies end in miscarriage, per year, with a further 11,000 ectopic. A huge amount of heartache is known, intimately, by many couples fighting for a child, fighting for a chance and fighting for their relationship.
I always try to write to support those living with infertility, but it’s also my aim to help educate, inform, and increase awareness for the family and friends who play such a huge role in supporting us. To understand a little more about how it may feel, for someone who lives with infertility, then please do look through my infertility route and visit my resources page, which provides details about other blogs, websites and charities who are also there to help.