by Kristen Magnacca
Last week I received a frantic call from a client whose husband had changed his mind about continuing with infertility treatment. The couple had been trying to conceive for years and had taken on a tremendous financial burden. Their last IVF cycle had failed and that is when her husband declared, “Enough, I am done, I have supported you throughout but I am finished with this process.”
So for six months, they lived their life without fertility treatment. They traveled and enjoyed each other’s company. In other words, they drank and were merry. But on the morning she called, the wife had woken up and realized that after six months of being “done and enough,” she was not “done and enough.” She was still “wondering and wanting”. After all, there were frozen embryos waiting for her at the clinic.
I have had the privilege of seeing this situation before. It usually begins after a couple has experienced yet another failed cycle. First, there is the period where a reactionary decision seems to be in power. The couple feels they can’t go on anymore, living with this pain.”
I AM DONE!
Anger comes in. Sadness might follow. Pain is present. Then time swirls around the couple. Equilibrium sets in, breathing relaxes and joy is felt again. Peace is experienced once more.
And then suddenly, longing comes backs to one person along with the relentless questioning. Should we or shouldn’t we? He said this and then she said that…. but she really meant this….
So how do you breach the valley of “I’m done” to re-engage your partner in a conversation when one party feels done or complete and the other not so much anymore?
For this incident, it was the “guy” of the couple who threw in the towel, but on numerous occasions I have received calls from the “guy” about the “girl” of the couple doing the same.
What I know now that I wish I knew then for my own personal journey is that when the reaction to the pain is healed, and emotions are more stable, only then are you able to compassionately communicate with each other and create a plan that is proactive instead of reactionary.
Now, how do you do this?
Remember the Tenderness
Compassionate communication means being there for your partner and hearing him or her from an open heart, without bringing in your own bias. If you are too raw to do this, perhaps a good option is using a journal to write to each other.
But, first you need to go within yourself and decide what you want to do. Are you sure you want to get back into the fertility world? Sharing from your open heart and being truthful will in turn bring back the same feeling to you.
A marriage strong with a foundation of trust and love can withstand a change of mind; it is all within the tenderness of the delivery.
Tenderness with yourself and tenderness with the other person is all that needs to be present, whether it is a guy thing or a girl thing.
Simply remember the tenderness.
Kristen Magnacca is an author and lifecoach speacializing in infertility.