Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wednesdays with Will - The Mood Ring

(Disclosure: photo is of Will's hand!)

For Mo's last birthday, I bought her a mood ring (it was the faux-gift of a larger present). We were headed on vacation and I thought it would be a fun way to signify that we were finally letting loose a bit. I had forgotten about it until the other day when we were sitting in a diner, a post-meet-with-our-RE ritual we have going on. We try to process what has been discussed and how we want to proceed. In the midst of sipping our coffees, Mo looked at me and said, "But what do you think we should do?"

An honest question, but one I sometimes have a suprisingly difficult time answering. With all of these IVF dilemmas I am caught trying to figure out: 1) What does Mo want to do, 2) What is good for us as a couple, 3) Is there a right thing to do (mixed into this are social norms and expectations)? Somewhere along the line my own emotions must get caught up in this stream of anxiety and subsequently muddled. To complicate matters, it isn't my body that is undergoing the surgery, the daily needle sticking, and the ultrasounds.

For some decisions in life, one person in the relationship can abdicate most of the power without much ill effects - "I trust you, please make a decision that reflects both of our values." Mo and I do this all the time when it comes to things like charity, savings, vacations and the like.
IVF takes both of us to weigh in on choices. Mo needs me and I need her to navigate this river.

Does this happen with you and your spouse? Any suggestions for how to label your own needs, thoughts, desires before they become entangled in the needs of your spouse or the needs of others?

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  1. Not a clue. That is something we have had to discuss often, still haven't worked it out. We've managed to reach a happy medium where we each know how the other feels, and we both feel supported. I wish it were as easy as ordering a pizza. On the upside, lots of other areas of our lives have become simpler in the aftermath of IVF - this is about as hard as it gets, I think. There are so few things really worth arguing about.

  2. I would say that it gets simpler as the ivf cycles more on, the first one was more input from both sides, and of course the desicion to move forward with working with a surrogate was a big decision for all involved.. Right now, when it comes to the nitty gritty of cylces (the when/where/what ovaries bit), I mostly in charge, and am happy to meet with the doc and speak the talk without having to go into longer explinations for the mr... that said we make a lot of decisions jointly, and are blessed with similiar likes/dislikes that makes decisions quicker.
    When it comes to surgery/my health, we both get a say, because really I want to know that my husband loves and values me and my life...

  3. I really love this post, and it speaks to what was, for me, one of the hardest parts of this whole journey. My husband has a lot of trouble expressing his own opinion - or perhaps more accurately, his own opinion so rarely differs from mine that it is a huge struggle to get him to say much beyond: "Yeah, that sounds good. Whatever you want is ok with me." There have been a number of times on this whole IF path where I have been on the verge of tearing my hair out over this very issue. Somehow, I've learned to trust him that he will speak up if he has a strong opinion that is different from mine, and just to focus on myself and my own discernment process. It's still very much a work in progress, though.

    Thanks for writing this - it gives me some insight into why it might be so hard for him to figure out or express his own answers to my "What do YOU think we should do?" questions.

  4. this is so tough. b and i are very similar. i had a tough time actually finding my voice in all of this. just try to be honest. :)

  5. No suggestions, but this is a question that comes up often if ou marriage regarding IVF. Although I know Sean supports me 100% and wants children badly, I often ask him if is ok continuing on. He always says he will go as far as I want to, but that never really answers the question...

    good post - thought provoking!

  6. I think that every argument we've had about all this stuff has come from my husband not saying what he felt, or what he wanted. I think he felt compelled to protect me, or scared of my reaction (and sometimes I reacted badly...ugh). There are so many places in a marriage where it is easy to let the lead shift,but IF has really forced us to feel our way thorugh.

  7. I have to say that I gave up after our last failure - I had no more to give. I put all of my heart, soul, energy into the last year and last 3.5 IVF cycles. I truly felt like I had no more to give mentally and I just completely left it up to my husband. I would go to the end of the earth to have his biological child but I had taken us both along the journey over the last year - I could not/did not want to be the one to make the decision to use donor sperm, to give up the dream of our own child. I needed him to know that I would be willing to do that, to adopt, to do more IVFs anywhere in the world with his sperm but I just had to turn it over completely to him. The silence and relief that happened in my head immediately after I made that decision was amazing.

    My husband is my rock, my litmus test, my human valium and I need him for everything but I could not make the decision to give up on his sperm - I really felt like that had to come from him.

    Our situation is different than most - Mr. M has a son from a prior marriage so he has fulfilled any sort of genetic legacy in some sense.

    ((HUGS)) to you and Mo - whatever you guys do, your closeness to each other is an inspiration.

  8. This is a tough one. Sometimes I have taken the lead in this journey, and sometimes DH has taken the lead. In our situation, the one "sitting back" respects the other's decision to move forward at that time. And then there are also times when we are completely in tune with each other.

    Sometimes there are no easy answers. You just stumble forward, and try everything you can.

    We have just gone through a horror first IVF cycle, but I don't regret it one bit. At least we tried.

    Good luck as you move forward.

  9. I wish I had a good answer. All I know is that we just continue to talk and talk and talk and talk...and then talk some more. We talk until we're exhausted, we talk until we think there aren't any more words, and then somehow we find other stuff to say. I guess just try your best to be completely honest with each other, and to remember that minds can change weekly, daily, sometimes ever minute.
    Sigh. It makes me crazy just thinking about all of the deep-super-down-deep talks we've endured. We're closer for it, but oh the bliss of never having to navigate these waters!

  10. Thanks for posting this- thanks for all who have commented. I know that at first G & I would go over every detail, every apt. and now, many moons later, I have tried to carry alot of the burden of the details myself for a few reasons:
    1) He does not understand alot of the details of the tests/hormones/numbers of the cycles and I am the one to reasearch/gather info.
    2) he is working like a dog to even make it possible to keep going.
    3) his stance has never really changed: He wants me to be happy and us to have a family, and at this point he is really just up for anything &everything that may accomplish those two things.
    Having said that it does not make it easy on him. Sometimes he can feel "out of the loop" or 'not a part of" and at other times, when I bring him up to speed, it can overwhelm him...
    No easy answer. We have spent almost the last 5 years (our whole married life) dealing with this stuff and we are tired.
    In the end, I think our IF struggles will bring us closer.

  11. I wanted to tell Mo I was thinking of her today and sending happy lap wishes! I'll be waiting to hear how it goes and what she thinks of the whole thing (mine is next week).

    Hang in there guys!

  12. Thinking of you both today and hope Mo's surgery went well-- the shoulder pain was the worst for me, totally unexpected.

    Will- I think it is really hard to separate out the me from the we in this one. I almost feel like whomever has teh stronger feeling wins since that is what is better for us. But that oversimplifies-- this is such a shitty journey in so many ways- so hard to ever know what is right-- for me it has always been about balance of regrets-- what would I regret more? But then there is the very real burnout to deal with, the battle fatigue. I wish you both all the best.

  13. Thinking of Mo today! I wish I had some brilliant pearl of wisdom regarding your question...all I can offer is that I do think that many times through the infertility experience either person might conceal their true feelings to "protect" the other from their pain or doubt...but it's critical to be brutally honest, because the "protection" thing so often backfires and the other person just wants to know their partner's true feelings. I know you two will sort this thing out together!

  14. Excellent questions...and sorry, no answers...So far dh seems to be ok with taking it as far as we need to make the dream a reality, but I often wonder how he really feels...Nice to hear from your point of view :)


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