Our society is completely backwards when it comes to talking about sex. Most of us have bought into the lie that it is completely okay to talk about it when it occurs OUTSIDE of marriage, yet when it occurs within the realms of how God created it, we think it is completely taboo to talk about. Not only does this lead to the dehumanizing of others (by creating the environment for undignified terms and treatment of others as objects,) but it is completely harmful when issues occur within a marriage and “no one is allowed to talk about it.” When a couple wants to grow their family, but sex does not lead to that outcome, it can be entirely devastating on a marriage.
So welcome to the “Sex talk” you never wanted to have, and no, I am not talking about that awkward conversation with your parents that is sprung upon you one day. No, I am talking about the sex talk that NEEDS to happen when sex is not leading to your dream of having a baby. That moment you both realize something might be wrong, and you both immediately become attacked by a bunch of lies and fears as you search for answers. We have to be able to talk about this stuff, because the stakes are incredibly high…our marriages, and sometimes even our identities, are all on the line.
I have my wonderful husband, Richard, joining me today to talk about what our biggest fears were when we both realized that something might be wrong with us, and our ability to conceive.
So, Babe…When sex changed from spontaneous to planned, then from planned to frustrating…it broke me. One of the lies that quickly became a fear for me was that this was hurting me more than it was you.
Well, yes and no. You definitely were driven, before I was, to grow our family. Where you are the gas pedal, I am the brakes. When I came around and felt more ‘ready’ to take on the responsibilities entailed with having children, I eased into it, thinking ‘we’ll just do our thing without protection, and it will happen naturally as it does for seemingly everyone else. It will be fun! We’ll have lots of sex, it will be spontaneous, then one day you’ll come to me with a positive pregnancy test. I really didn’t think too much into it, until I realized there was more going on and that you were being affected.
I suppose I still held out hope that it would eventually happen, but as time passed, you initiated the more methodical approach, of charting cycles and possible ovulations. At first, it still felt ‘somewhat’ spontaneous when you initiated sex. But again, more time went on, and you explained to me what your collected data may be suggesting. This was around the time the romance and spontaneity died. It became more of a mission – planning and calculating when we needed to have sex. And it did make things more difficult. Foreplay seemed forced, and the post-sex romance disappeared to make room for the “gravity assistance” routine.
I guess it didn’t really hit me until I saw the fears swelling in your eyes. That’s when it occurred to me just how many months we had been trying. Long gone were the days of ‘letting it happen,’ we had been actively ‘trying to MAKE it happen’ for many months, without success.
You may have been the first one to dream of parenthood, but the further that dream came from becoming a reality, the more I understood how devastating this was. I no longer needed to be the brakes when we were not going anywhere, and that’s what it felt like, we were stuck. Seeing you in pain broke me. You are my wife and my best friend. I always feel inclined to try and fulfill you and bring you joy. When I see you hurt, I hurt. Then we were hurting together.
I know this does not make any sense, but I’ll chalk it up to high stakes and some hormones, but while I simultaneously thought that you may not be as hurt as I was, I also believed that you deserved someone else who wasn’t “broken” like me and who could eventually give you children.
That thought right there, that you felt I deserved someone else who wasn’t broken, just crushes me to hear. I believe that is a lie Satan tried to sell to you, and has probably told other women this as well. Never once did any such thought cross my mind, that my personal desire for children would come before my love for you. You are my love, my best friend, and my partner. I can say I would not even want to have children if I wouldn’t get to have them and share them with you!
And as we would find out, you weren’t the only one broken. We can say my contribution, my little Michael Phelps, weren’t exactly winning any gold medals.
Is it weird to say, that after learning of your multiple diagnosis, and the immovable mountain before us, that I somehow had an embarrassing and small sense of relief, that I also contributed in a way? Even if not entirely impactful, I felt more like we were in this together and maybe to address that fear, that you weren’t the only broken one?
That isn’t weird to say at all. We are imperfectly perfect for one another, and I also felt relieved knowing that this was something we both shared together. What was your biggest fear that you faced or what lie was internally taunting you?
To be honest, I felt hurt that I couldn’t give you what you wanted. I know that having kids has always been one of your biggest dreams, but I often wondered that if we could never become parents…would I still be enough for you?
Oh, this breaks my heart. I both want to answer you immediately “OF COURSE YOU WERE ENOUGH FOR ME!” while I also simultaneously want to run and hide in shame.
The truth is, in that moment, I don’t know how I would have answered you. You are my favorite person and my best friend…but I was struggling with so many personal demons, that I honestly would have taken a beat, a devastating beat, before answering you. God was working on stripping away all the layers of self sufficiency I had, which instead of taking with humility, I clung to my dreams even tighter. I was wrestling with Him, and often that meant pushing you away, as I tried to push Him away in my anger.
What I can tell you is this, Babe, you are enough for me! Going through infertility taught me that. My heart was so broken it wasn’t beating, but now that God put it back together, it beats for you.
Okay friends, so why did we let you in on this super personal conversation? Hopefully, to show you that if we can have this vulnerable and uncomfortable conversation within a public forum, then you can definitely have this kind of conversation in your own bedroom.You do not have to buy into the cultural lies, or wear the mantle of shame that the world wants you to pick up when things do not go smoothly between the sheets. Infertility SUCKS, but that does not mean your marriage has to. Trust us when we tell you, this was not easy for us to share.
We have had amazing support come from most of our family and friends, but there has also been a great deal of persecution from others, for our young marriage, how we chose to deal with infertility, and how we have chosen to parent. We have dealt, and will continue to deal with trolls for this, and you will too when you share your story, but don’t let that stop you. YOU and your marriage are worth it! Do not miss out on the most amazing marriage by being too afraid to speak about “the unspeakable,” and do not miss out on the most amazing community by sharing your story.
This blog post is just a start. We hope you all found some encouragement, and at least part of the weight of this journey has been alleviated by being reminded that you are NOT alone. I will happily have my husband back on here to continue this conversation. Please feel free to ask us anything, or to share your story with us!
Want to read more about our infertility story? Check out my other blog posts in “The Wait” or by clicking here: Our Infertility Story Part 1: How we became Google’s Top 3
or here: Survivors Guilt: From the Mom who did NOT #webeatinfertility