Words and images by Betsy Grinder
In the late winter months I married my husband on the beach. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky that day and the night was full of pretty stars. We vacationed with our “current kids” to the keys (if you do not refer to your animals as kids, we probably couldn’t be friends) and made our way back north to start our lives as one.
We knew right off the bat that we wanted to add more than just dogs to our home, so we got started. I had warned my now husband that this wasn’t going to be an easy road, as I had once been warned the same thing. He always smiled at me when we talked about this, like he knew that his eye contact and upward shifting mustache gave me such comfort.
The cycles started, the doctors’ appointments, counted days, medication trials, all of it! Our hope slowly began to fade as each month went by. Until October of 2016 – we did it! And then we lost it. Is he going to love me through this? I’m failing at the only thing I have ever given 100% to. As a wife, a mother - I am failing my husband.
He knew going into this marriage that I am unorganized, my car is always a mess, I am OK with dirty dishes left in the sink, and I have way too many shoes – but this. This isn’t what he asked for. I would hand wash all the dirty dishes in Pennsylvania to take back the look on his face when I told him we miscarried.
Our specialist changed and the car rides to and from appointments got longer. My mind spun just as much as the tires that season. Where do we draw the line? How much more money do we have to put into this before something works? Should we just stop and adopt every dog we see? Should we look into actual adoption or even foster care? Would it be easier for Aaron if I just suggested we split up? Every scenario you could think of, I already thought of it. And all made the feeling of failing him grow and grow. It took up the entire back seat on the way home and made its way into our house, into our lives. I was a failure. It got even worse as couples around us would announce they were pregnant – I would be out for days after those social media posts.
Aaron wants to be a dad; all of our friends' children love him! Like to the point of nicknames, handshakes, and secret jokes and I am robbing him of that daily. I am failing him every day that passes without that connection of our own.
We were at a local winery a few weeks ago, admiring a few older couples that were dancing to the band. They were having the best time, and so were we. I looked over and caught him looking at me. My husband was looking me with the same smile he did when we got married on the beach. The same smile he would give me early on during our long car rides and even on the way back – full of the comforting feeling. The same smile when those kids get their secret handshake right and he looks up at me. The same smile, it’s the same love. And it has been this entire time.
The only person I have been failing for the last five years is myself. Putting myself down month after month. I was so wrapped up in the process.
We got married, we moved into my childhood home, we remodeled, now it’s time for a baby. This perfect scenario played out by television and social media. It crept into my life just as much as the feeling of failing. It swallowed my entire life and wasn’t ready to give me back. Until I saw the look on Aaron’s face that day at the winery; he still loves me just the same.
Marriage is a promise, a promise that comes with ups and downs. There is no "maybe" or "might" in that sentence. These trials and tribulations build you as a couple and add to your marriage and lives as you continue as one. And it only takes one obsession, one fear, one miscarriage to trigger those feelings.
It is up to you to bring yourself back to that person who your other half married. You are in there, I promise. Dig deep and pray hard and one day you will catch him looking at you the way he always has when you weren’t looking.
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Betsy is an infertility blogger and is working on being more than just that. She strives to type her way into others' hearts, as she wishes someone would have done for her when she first felt alone. Each story she shares, she does it with tears and so much pain, but more than anything, love.