Recently I posted a submission written by my husband. In it, he talks about how infertility affected him, me and us. When I read it, I laughed, I cried, and…felt some shame. Not from anything he had written, but for the fact that I had always assumed he was fine throughout the process. Or even more honestly, I am not sure I even considered how he felt. I was so mired in my own self-pity that I couldn’t look beyond myself and notice that he was suffering too.
Before I start to sound like a self-centered, narcissistic bitch, I should explain a bit about our relationship. We have been together for a long time. We met in college, and (minus a break-up my junior year that lasted about six months) have been together for 17 years, married 14. Throughout this time, I have been the emotional one, he the stoic. Our differing personalities have served us very well, and particularly well during the years of infertility. I knew I could lean on him, no questions asked, no judgments made. When he told me about a year into treatments, “You should talk to someone, you’re not handling this as well as you think,” I took that as an act of love and concern, not a criticism. I cried, he comforted. I broke down, he held me up.
There of course are cracks in this stalwart exterior, such as a particular Johnny Cash song that makes him tear up, and romantic gestures connected to days I wasn’t even aware of (like the 10th anniversary of the day we met). But, in everyday life, he is a rock. My rock.
And so, I write to make sure that, if you have a rock too, please don’t forget to check in with him or her now and again. If you are the more emotive one, go ahead and emote right along but at least offer a chance to cry, vent, or just let go. Knowing my husband, I am 99.9% sure he would not take me up on that offer, but I also know that it would mean something to him that I offered it at all.