Tuesday, August 7, 2012


From the time we are young, every girl is encouraged to dream about her wedding day. Weddings are suppose to be a time of celebration as families witness the unity of their loved ones and the creation of a new family. It's suppose to be a time of happiness and bliss. But unfortunately more often than not, it's also a time of stress and drama.

After 8 years of marriage, I've developed a sense of loathing regarding weddings. Grey and I were part of the first wave of marriages for both our families and our friends, hence we were initially blissfully clueless to all that could go wrong. As the years have gone by, though, we've learned.

There's always drama. 

Be it relatives who are not on speaking terms who both managed to imbibe in too much alcohol. Or the melt down from relatives who are unable to deal with not being the center of attention. Or the wedding being held in an outdoor venue where it's so unbelievable cold that you start dehydrating yourself so you don't have to use the outdoor toilets. Or, my personal favorite, the bonding with family members of the happy couple because all of you and half the guests have food poisoning from the dinner served at the reception.

The main purpose of our trip to Boston was to attend the wedding of Grey's youngest cousin. Initially the goal was to have an opportunity to meet most of Grey's extended family and to bond with his parents and siblings. Upon receiving the "save the date" card last November, I had also hoped to finally be pregnant, praying that IVF would not only give us our baby but a reason to celebrate with our family. The universe had other plans though, so instead we were traveling to this event knowing full well that I would be encountering BIL's very pregnant wife and dealing with looks of pity. Needless to say, I was dreading this wedding.

There was an added element to this story. The groom, a man who is 6 months younger than me, is the only child of Grey's aunt and uncle who also struggled with infertility. Back before ART was even an option, this couple quietly struggled to conceive for 8 years and were resolved to live child-free. Then their miracle baby arrived. I've never met their son, but from the moment I saw photographs of this family I knew there was something special about him. It wasn't until years later that I began to hear their tale. Hence, this wedding was incredibly special as I would be witnessing this family coming full-circle. And because of this, I was determined to not be the source of drama.

The thing is, how does one prepare themselves for an event where everyone is assuming you'll fuck up? Grey and I met with David prior to leaving for our trip and talked quite a bit about checking-in with one another as well as providing a united front. But I was still nervous because of how angry I've been with his family. They've been too silent during our time in treatment and with the recent pregnancy announcement. So, like most couples, as soon as we arrived in Salem, MA, Grey and I had a blow-out. After scaring a bartender, being overly short with our host at the B&B and me taking an extended walk, it was decided that our first evening in Salem would be spent with Grey seeing his family and me going out to dinner with Shelley and her DH. 

Following dinner, I was still agitated. While waiting for Grey to come back to our room so we could finish our fight, I walked through the garden behind our accommodations and called MissC to complain. Midway through the conversation, the universe decided it had had enough of me. And as I was complaining about how-I-didn't-know-how-I-was-going-to-get-through-this-wedding, I saw a small black and white head pop up from behind one of the benches.

"Skunk!" I announced, jumping out of my seat. One of the smaller and cuter skunks I've ever seen, but a skunk none the less. As I begged it to go away, and then wandered over to make sure I could make a bee-line for my room, I realized it had brought its sibling. 

It was in this moment of panic that MissC suggested a fantastic way to get our of the wedding without offending anyone: piss off the skunk. Her reasoning is sound, as no one wants to be around someone who's just been sprayed.

Upon hanging up with MissC and making it safely back to my room, I realized her suggestion was an insightful one. All of the anxiety about this wedding and seeing Grey's family came down to me feeling left out. That, like the skunk, I was seen as more of a threat to everyone around me because of the pain I was nursing from my losses and the experiences from these past 2.5 yrs. When Grey got back, he confirmed this as his family has wrapped him in love and allowed his to express his grief. SIL in particular had been amazing, empathizing with him over everything we've been through as she had suffered RPL before the birth of her only son. 

So, that night, I made a decision to try. The next morning I walked with Grey over to the house his family was staying at and began to interact. To say everything went smoothly is a lie: I could barely make eye-contact with BIL and I stayed as far away for his wife as possible. And there were moments where I became so overwhelmed that walking away from them was the best possible option. But, I was able to play with my niece and nephews. And in doing so, I felt the bitterness and pain from these last 7 months melt away. Children are such a gift. In addition, I started letting Grey's family in. I spent quite a bit of time bull-shitting with my FIL. And when my MIL approached me to give me a hug, I accepted it for what it was. Later on at the reception, I began to feel more bold. I turned to my MIL and hugged her again. And while forcing back tears, I told her how much I hurt and how scared I am for the future. I did the same with SIL and in that moment, she gave me something that I will be eternally grateful for.

The wedding was beautiful, with the groom's father acting as Best Man, the groom's mother aglow and the happy couple filled with light and love. There was a moment during the ceremony where their rings were passed around the room, allowing each of the quests the opportunity to bless them. I don't need to tell you what I wished for them; it's the same thing I wish for all of us.

The evening after the ceremony was filled with music and dancing. Though there was drama (the couple's landlord's wife took a spill), it wasn't the type I feared. For an evening, infertility took a back seat and the crazy infertile was completely entranced with her niece and nephew as they hit the dance floor. There was spinning and twirling, with each child begging for more and more. And with the spinning and the dancing came a unity that was unspoken; a love that only grows with time.


  1. Good for you for making the most of the wedding and the time with Gray's family. I know that wasn't easy. What a neat story about his cousin (and his aunt and uncle). I loved the idea of having everyone pass around the rings and get "blessed" by everyone. That totally gave me chills. I think of you often on your journey.

  2. I love this! I can relate to all of this. My favorite part of this story is your bravery in being open with your MIL and SIL. This is so hard, but so worth it. Glad to hear this event had some nice ups with its inevitable downs. :)

  3. It's good to hear the weekend turned out much better than anticipated. I hope you'll be able to keep communicating with your hubby's family. I know it is difficult, but it has also helped me and my family to understand each other and what we're going through better. *big hugs*

  4. I like Miss C's suggestion about the skunk myself.

  5. You are so brave, Cristy. I know you dread the wedding for the same reason I couldn't bring myself to see DH's family since Thanksgiving last year (BIL's big pregnant wife and now a baby). You've done what I cannot do, and you are my hero. It takes a lot of guts and I'm so happy you were able to let Grey's family despite the built-up resentment and feeling like an outsider. I totally understand because that's how I feel too. I hope one day I can be as brave as you and deal with them head on. Lots of hugs, always....

  6. A skunk attack would be an excellent excuse for getting out of any occasion, however I'm glad that you were able to visit with Grey's family and attend the wedding- mostly unscathed.

    Sometimes I dread things. Things that most people wouldn't think twice about. All I can do is protect myself. Even the smallest chance that there might be added pain will make me thrust my sword into the air. A tender heart needs to a valiant defender. However, the few times my hand has been forced, there have usually been tiny unexpected surprises. It sounds like this might have been the case with you as well. It's just impossible to know when to let the guard down.

  7. Braver than I am. I'm thinking I would have found a way to not go to the wedding.

  8. You are so strong to go to the wedding and be around all the family. You could have gotten sprayed by the skunk, but you chose to be even braver. Big Hugz!
    I love the idea of passing the rings around to be blessed by everyone. Beautiful!

  9. I'm glad you didn't resort to the skunk spray. It sounds like things went pretty well considering and you were able to feel a little better about your relationship with the in-laws. I'm happy for you hon.

  10. Family drama is hard. But I think you handled it well, with grace, and it sounds like you've even allowed some fractured bonds to heal. When we were at a recent family wedding, I just had to keep reminding myself, "This weekend is not about us. It's not about us." That helped me get through.


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