J here–finally! I don’t know why I haven’t written sooner except that the immediacy of each moment seems to take precedence. First off, let me just say how thrilled, how absolutely over-the-moon happy I am that after all this time, we are finally pregnant!
Sure, there are many challenges that face us as we take this journey together. I’m aware that T and I have together challenges and individual challenges. I’m working very hard to understand hers and help her to get through them. But despite the moodiness, the hormones, the financial struggles, etc. I can’t help but feel peaceful about most of it.
See, before the positive result on Dec 31st, T and I had hit a crisis point, not with each other necessarily, but a crisis point nonetheless. T was particularly difficult. She picked fights with me, complained about everything, and had a generally negative attitude. Add to this that she was completely uninterested in my own stress and worries, and we were not doing well heading into the Christmas holidays and the lengthy stay at her mom’s. Some of it was the stress of finals and impending holidays, but we had weathered these tense times before. There was something very different–and scary–about the last TWW.
I realize this is like airing our dirty laundry, but I find it so significant, so bear with me.
I told her during one argument that she was losing it. I told her she was out of control, and she did not deny it.
We weathered the holidays and put our angst on hold for a week, but mostly out of necessity rather than any normalizing force. When we returned home after Christmas, the stress returned. T was just so. . . . unpredictable? negative? whiny? all of the above? We had this one particular day, the 29th I think, where it all came to a head. I told her that I was so worn out, so torn down, that I didn’t think that I could take another negative result, that it would just do me in and sink me into a depression. I had never said or felt that before in our long journey, but something was just dragging me down, and I didn’t think I could take all the disappointment and despair that comes with a negative test. T must have also been at her wit’s end because she was worse than usual–overreacting to every little thing, misinterpreting my words, and despairing about everything. When I called her on it, she told me it was likely PMS.
That statement ran me over like a freight train. It was not what I needed to hear, whether true or not. I stopped speaking. What was there to say? She went silent too. This went on for a few hours until I couldn’t take it anymore. It all hurt too much. I went into our bedroom and cried. Big, heaving sobs spilled out of me, and I had to hold on to the bed just to keep from falling to the floor. It hurt so bad. When will something, anything, go our way? We work so hard, but for what? What a lonely, godforsaken process TTC had become for us. I couldn’t take it. I wept until I was completely wrung out. Eventually, after an hour or so, T came into the bedroom and found me sitting on the floor staring at nothing in particular, my eyes swollen and red. She felt terrible for blaming her mood on PMS, and we decided to get out of the house and go to our favorite Irish pub. We drowned our sorrows. We paid the price the next day. The following morning T tested positive.
And there you have it. Just as we were spiraling into a dark place born out of the frustration, emptiness, and panic that comes with trying to get pregnant, we got our heart’s desire.
T’s disposition was the result of early pregnancy, not PMS. I could not have known, nor could she. We got used to disappointment over this long process. This is perhaps the most maddening thing about TTC, in my opinion. While we must brace ourselves and even expect a measure of disappointment, our efforts are also steeped in hope. They must be. Why try to get pregnant month after month if we have no hope that it will eventually happen? Why would we want to bring a baby into the world if we lack hope? Hope is our fuel, our thrust, the very thing that moves us through this process no matter how painful it gets. Necessarily it must be so. Without it, we would never continue the process because it feels so bloody awful at times. Weeks of hope followed by crashing disappointment, only to have to find a way to start all over again with hope.
But for me, hope was about the future. Something was going to go our way soon, just around the bend. We’d get around that bend only to find our surroundings just as littered with complications and disappointments. Hope. At the moments when the universe seemed to strip us of all hope, we dug a little deeper, and hoped a little harder. When we had no reason to hope, we did so anyway. To do anything less was to give up, and giving up wasn’t an option. To give up on being a parent was never an option; there was always another plan, another approach. We could not and would not consider the “what if.” You know, the what-if-I-can’t-get-pregnant thought. Hope wouldn’t allow it.
I used to think hope was for fools who hadn’t suffered enough to know better. I was too smart, too enlightened to ever stake my future on such a naive emotion, and yet it saved us. It saved us from our worst inclinations. It saved me from myself, from my tendencies to engage in self-destructive behavior; it helped me to not give in to anger and despair, which is my nature. It helped me prop T up when she was low and being negative.
Hope, for most of this long process, was all we had, but I’m sure as hell glad we found it.
I cling to it today, hoping I’ll be able to find a good job that will provide healthcare for my wife and baby. I hope I’ll be able to be a stabilizing force in my wife’s life during her pregnancy. I hope I’ll be a good mom and pass on good behaviors rather than the ones passed on to me by my mother. I hope, I hope, I hope.