When our lives changed on December 23rd, 2021 with Nigel’s infertility diagnosis there were a lot of feelings and a lot of emotions immediately and in the days and months to come, many of which Nigel has shared in his posts.
I remember that first day where we were in a state of shock. Nigel had left work immediately and ended up at my library where he sat and coloured as I ended my shift. I couldn’t tell you what we had for dinner (or if we even ate), but I know there were a lot of tears, and I did a lot of consoling.
It is interesting being the support person. I am usually the more emotional person in our marriage so often I am the one crying and emotional, but especially in those first few hours (and beyond) it wasn’t about me.
Eventually we went to bed and Nigel fell asleep, but I found myself tossing and turning, going through a lot of thoughts in my head. I got up and moved to the couch, knowing that sleep wasn’t going to be coming to me for a long time. That is where I started to cry; where I started to feel some of the complicated feelings that I was feeling. I of course was devastated for Nigel, being a father was and is something that is so important to him and something that was a big loss.
I also had feelings of loss, and some of these were ones that I felt guilty for. Immediately I felt like this diagnosis meant that I would never get to experience pregnancy or having a baby, things that had become a dream of mine.
So there I sat on the couch crying out my grief. I was grieving for Nigel, grieving for us, but also grieving for me. My mind immediately went to feeling like my dreams had just been crushed as well. I felt guilty for this, which is why I was hiding these emotions. I wasn’t the one who had the devastating health news and also, the solutions I could think of in my head were selfish in motivation and I didn’t want to be the one to bring them up.
It didn’t take long for me to have the thoughts of using a sperm donor which also felt like a self-centered thought to me as it would mean that I would be biologically related to our future children when Nigel wasn’t. I didn’t think that I would ever share those thoughts with Nigel, or at least not for a very long time.
Nigel did eventually wake up at around 1 or 2 am and noticed that I was no longer in bed and went to look for me, finding me in my emotional and exhausted state. As he asked me what was wrong it all started spilling out, from my grief of feeling like I would never get to experience certain things and how I wanted to be a mother so badly. That is when Nigel surprised me completely when he brought up a sperm donor. I couldn’t believe that that was something that he suggested, especially on that very first night and made me immediately feel like more of a team with him.
While I did (and sometimes still do) feel guilty about the things that I will hopefully get to have that he doesn’t, it proved right away how much of a team that we truly are. There is still a lot that we don’t know about the process that we will be starting, but there has been a lot of conversations that we have had since then, about both of our fears, what we both feel guilty about, and what we are jealous of.
In the early hours of Christmas Eve 2021, when the tears had dried for that night and when we had both shared our thoughts and desires we did something that has become somewhat of a tradition for us, we moved our bed. We moved our mattress out to the living room, something we do a few times a year to watch a new Netflix series, but also to change up our perspective and outlook, something we have had to do quite a lot in the recent months.
Six months later there are still some tears, still some deep conversations on the couch, and still a lot to figure out, but we are doing it together as a team.