2010 was the year my life changed forever.
I got married and moved out in order to begin living for the first time as a wife.
To say it was a massive adjustment would be a HUGE understatement.
Nonetheless, I was pretty cocky and thought I could handle it.
My world (whilst never that ordered) had never yet been subject to ‘having to share it with a boy’ and the learning curve was…not too bad initially. But then the niggles started. And the misunderstandings. And the miscommunications.
None of this made any better by the fact that Husby was struggling hugely with health problems, which drained him physically and mentally over the next two years, imploded our home life and left us both in very desperate, lonely places, unable to talk properly to each other for all the angers, hurts and rejections which had so rapidly become toxic.
Last summer I nearly left.
I had two good friends around me. Both of whom made me face the stark reality – my fantasy of swanning off and living a hedonistic, self-serving lifestyle somewhere anonymously was Never. Going. To Happen.
They made me acknowledge what I knew (but didn’t want to admit to myself) that I really, truly did want my marriage to work in spite of the fact that, at the time, because of the limitations of Husby’s mental and physical health, I’d have to be the one who ‘carried’ us.
And boy did I.
Then in late 2012 he received his diagnosis (broken endocrine system) and his depression began to be addressed.
We even got to a point where we felt that the timing could be right to have children.
Then began the merry-go-round – one which required strength from places I didn’t know I had, and certainly some strength I didn’t have, to negotiate without falling apart.
His treatment would render us infertile. We had a while – August ’13 was the date they suggested, to give us time to conceive. Then we miscarried*. Then I freaked out about the deadline by which his treatment would begin. Then I miscarried again. And freaked out more. Then his endocrine system performed a pre-emptive strike and took all his fertility. Then we were told that a different treatment *might* restore it. Then his depression nearly widowed me.
At some point, (probably not in this world) I have a few questions about those marriage vows. At what point (when the ‘for worse, for poorer and in sickness’ have swamped your entire marriage) do you get to bargain for the other half?
Which was about the time (in spite of wonderful family, friends and Husby’s best efforts to cope and manage his condition and my grief and loss) that I started drinking. Not often, but occasionally, to obliterate everything.
Because then life could look beautiful and exciting and carefree again for a while
But somehow, the alcohol saved my marriage. Communication and healing began to happen. I began to be less afraid. I made a conscious decision not to get back on the ‘will we have children’ rug, having learned that each time I did, it was pulled from under me. And Husby’s been improving too, with treatment.
We laugh together again.
We enjoy one another’s company (most of the time, let’s be realistic)
We work as a team.
We share unspoken moments.
And at the moment, our future – my dream of being a little old couple hobbling down the street, still holding hands – seems bright.
Children there may or may not be. But we are determined to hang onto each other, help one another through and get working on the other half of those vows.
* Remember that ‘Big Reveal’?
I followed a link back to this site one day, where I realised that lots of ‘Mom’ posts had been written, including some very positive, happy ones on ‘why I don’t have children’. I realised that the story of someone struggling to cope with infertility (and very much wanting children, and not at all positive about their lack) was missing. So I emailed the site owner and kinda sorta told her she should include my story (which of course all started with miscarriage, and is what has been published first).
I had NO idea how much of a Big Deal this was until later…when I began to freak out a little.
I was brazen and possibly a little rude in the assumption that this would be alright, but fortunately for me, Jill Smokler is one of life’s generous, kind people. Instead of telling me to take a hike, she listened to me and agreed to read what I sent her. So I got writing. And today my first piece at ScaryMommy.com has been published!