This is something that I have been hesitant to write about. It's very personal, it's related to infertility but it's also not. It broke us for a while but then it made me so much stronger. It is part of our journey. And it is also something that im proud of overcoming. BUT, it is not ok, it's still not ok to abuse anyone, verbally mentally or physically. So please be kind, just because we chose to get through it together doesn't mean I was ever Ok with it.
Alright, here goes nothing...
For years this was how things were in our home. We would fight, argue and disagree like most couples. We argued over spoons, over breakfast bars, over where to go to dinner. It's funny because our major decisions like finances, how we were raising our girls, religion or morals were never an issue, we always saw (and still see) eye to eye. But it was that argument over a power bar that became abusive. "Why the hell would you buy this? Don't you know what I like to eat?" or "Why did you buy this? You're so crazy when it comes to food, youre such a bitch." Obviously not all in that same context but all of that often, too often in fact.
I was taking care of our twin girls. It was hard, I was also trying to keep my business afloat, that was hard too. I didnt talk to adults, another hard thing, so when he came home I really wanted to talk to him. I'm a talker, I enjoy conversation especially with my husband and when my only conversations during the day consisted of poop, pee, snacks and nursery rhymes. The girls were 3, but this had been going on since pregnancy.
When he would come home from work we would try and sit down to talk. He started to give me time limits to my conversations. He said "you have 5 minutes, go!" I started to think this was ok, I mean he was at work all day so I understood he was also tired. I started to normalize this. Those were the interactions we had. Even if I wasn't done conversing with him, even if I wanted to ask him how his day was, my time was up. It was time to serve dinner. This was our routine during the week.
I was scared of weekends. I was worried about all the fighting that we would do in front of the girls. I hated that they saw him talk to me the way he did. But what could I do? I had twin girls to take care of, I had to make sure they were ok all the time, I had to put myself on the back burner.
Name calling was a constant in the house. I asked him not to call me that but he would say he could say whatever he wanted to say. I felt scared so I would go mute. I didnt have the enrergy or the power (so I thought) to say much. Sure I yelled back, I cried, but I could never make him understand how hurtful his words were. I started to believe them, I started to think maybe I was crazy.
I was going through a lot of stomach issues. I was seeing doctors left and right and could hardly eat without feeling pain. But that added to the issue. I was crazy for feeling this way because the doctors couldn't find a diagnosis. I was "embarrassing" to go to dinner with, I was "not fun" and I was stressing him out. I actually started to feel bad for feeling ill. Could I be crazy? Am I making this up? I knew I wasn't but I started to pretend I was ok at times.Luckily I found someone who was able to help me and we found my stomach issue, SIBO! I wasn't crazy, but while it changed some things, it didn't change much.
Yes we had been seeing a therapist together. But we went because he "agreed to go wit with me," not because it was something he thought WE needed.
Finally one day I had a kidney stone. The girls were with my nanny because I had planned to meet he and his friends for dinner. But I couldn't move, this was the worst pain I had ever experienced and I had no idea what it was. He came home, as did my mom, and we went to the ER. He left while I sat in the waiting room with my mom. He went to finish dinner with his friends. He came back and then went back home to relieve the nanny. My mom dropped me off at 3am. The doors were locked, I couldn't get in, he was sleeping. I remembered the extra key we had hidden. I went to bed, I was done.
I woke up the next day with a plan in my head. I was ready to call it quits unless something changed. I never in my life imagined that I would be sitting in the ER not knowing what was wrong with me with my husband sitting at a dinner table with friends. I felt so alone, I felt like he didn't even care if I lived or died. I couldn't do it anymore. So I wrote him a letter on valentines day. I gave it to him at dinner and told him I wanted a divorce unless he could figure out a way to change. I said, and he agreed, we would give it 6 months and if things didnt turn around I was done. I couldn't let the girls see this, not anymore, not now that they understood so much more.
So he made his first appontentn with our therapist, alone. He needed help to manage his anger. He started opening up. I started to learn SO much about him, about his past, about how he was raised and how he felt and what he saw. I felt like I never even knew who he was until this moment.
We went to therapy together, but this time we actually went together. We started our weekly walks (which we still do) where he would open up, be vulnerable and share his feelings rather than cuss me out and make me feel insignificant. I felt like I had a partner, like I was getting my best friend back but this time like he actually wanted to be my friend, my life partner.
Nick has continued to see our therapist to this day, alone and we also see her together. I honestly never thought we would make it another 6 months but we will be married 11 years in September and I can honestly say ive never felt happier with him. People don't normally change, but he did. Maybe he didnt change as a person, but he changed. I am amazed by him and his story every single day. I am amazed by his new love for life, for me and for the girls. I am amazed with his desire to be better and to acknowledge his faults (because we all have them), and I'm amazed by his continuous work to help himself, to help US.
Since then I am not called names, and if I am I say please stop, that is not ok. Since then I am treated with respect, and if I dont feel respected I make sure I say so. Since then I have learned that verbal abuse is abuse and it is not ok. And since then I realized that I have a voice that I am strong and that I will continue to use my voice for myself and for my daughters because I will not allow for history to repeat itself.
I know infertility and IVF can cause a lot of issues in a marriage. But remember that there is no room for abuse. Toward you or your partner. It's hard, it definitely takes a toll but its not your fault, its not his fault or her fault. The stress of being abused really damages a body, it takes a toll emotionally and physically. So if your'e experiencing this during before or after infertility and or IVF please know that it's not ok. You are not alone and you have a voice too.