Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Episode 18: When to seek help

Episode 18 of Bitter Infertiles is live! Click here to listen.

This week, we tackle a very difficult topic: how to preserve one's marriage/relationship while dealing with infertility and loss. Our special guest this week is a woman who's become an authority on the issue, CDG. Her story is a powerful one and how she has handled suffering divorce and infertility and loss is truly inspirational. Go listen.

On a personal note, I've talked extensively about counseling, both individually and as a couple. I've talked about it openly because I know how taboo all of this is. Too often, when someone suggests counseling, the individual or couple will see this as an attack. The truth is, I didn't realize I needed counseling until I was so far down the rabbit hole. Dee and I spent so much time working on getting me to a calmer, more positive state that it's only been recent that we've been able to dive into the underlying issues and being repairing things.

But the other truth is that neither Grey nor I thought we needed counseling until we were in the middle of it. Initially we figured we would pursue it to help us get over the last loss and to help us prepare for adoption. It wasn't until we were recovering that we were both able to look back and realize how much we needed help. Because before then, we were in survival mode. David has literally opened lines of communication that I never knew existed, resulting in a deeper and more intimate understanding of my partner and my relationship. Something that I never would have found as I didn't know where to start looking on my own.

The reality is, infertility and loss are traumas. And like any trauma, we need help to recover and heal. There is no shame in seeking help to do this (frankly, I believe it takes a lot of courage and strength). And it's important. Too often, I've watched bloggers describe how their relationships are dissolving; how they and their partners are becoming roommates. And then literally a sentence later they'll write about how they assume everything will be better once the baby is born or they become pregnant. Such a red-flag and my heart breaks for them because I know how much more difficult life becomes with a newborn. And if you're not okay prior to the baby arriving, it's very likely your relationship won't survive.

The truth is, no one embarks on marriage with the idea that they will divorce. But, like any relationship, marriage requires work. And infertility and loss are traumas that turn relationships upside down and inside out. Surviving it requires more than assuming the status quo; it requires opening the lines of communication and actually addressing what's broken. It's hard work for sure, but the benefits are ultimately amazing, as you may find that your relationship actually becomes stronger and more resilient. That instead of fighting this battle alone, you are fighting as a team.


  1. Thanks for your post! I go to therapy all the time, and I love it! I started going before IF, just to discuss stress, emotional eating, things that seem boring now lol! When I got diagnosed, I started going more often. Now I visit her anywehrre from once a month to once a week. In fact, I have an apt set up every Monday from now until two weeks after the results of our first beta. It just helps to have a professional listner!

    IF has made my relationship with B stronger, but not without a lot of work. We have had to discuss things that I neevr though we would have to consider. We have had to work on our communication style and tone of voice and hwo we approach each ther about touchy topics. I think all this work wil pay off when we are new parents, because that will be VERY stressful!

    Thanks again!

  2. I'm so glad you guys opened up about this one. I don't know how I personally would have made it through my cycles without counseling, so I can't even imagine how much more important it would be as a couple.

  3. Counseling helped out in our marriage a bit.

  4. While I never went through counseling with my husband, I sought it for myself. It helped with my sense of self-worth and my relationship with others around me. Thank you for talking about this!!

  5. I've been thinking a lot about this lately. Hubby and I are doing okay (he, perhaps, more than me, with his never-ending optimism), but I keep thinking, if the worst happens, wouldn't it be better to already be working on communication, etc, rather than floundering first? But this is probably just my pessimism speaking. I have been looking into counseling just for myself, though. I always appreciate your take on the counseling you and Grey have done.

  6. So many of the podcasts have touched me. I've been able to relate so much to what you girls discuss. However, this one hit the bulls-eye. Understandably so. When CDG (love her!) talked about how she and her ex entered into therapy too late- well, I understood. I'd been begging Mike to go to couples therapy with me for years (even before we started trying for a family), but he always refused. It was only when our marriage was in its death throws, that he relented. But by then, it was too late. It is a lesson that I will carry for me for the rest of my life. Going to therapy is not admitting weakness, quite the opposite- it's an act of strength and love.

    liI knew that this podcast was coming. I was anxious to listen. Yet, I was still unprepared for it.


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