Trouble in Paradise
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Stress in your Marriage -- how do you deal?

This is my first time posting here...I've been lurking here for a few weeks and found everyone's comments supportive and helpful to provide a fresh perspective. I guess that's what I'm looking for...a place to vent and maybe get advice or a new perspective on stress and how it impacts your marriage.

My husband and I have been married for 5 years, together for a total of 11 years. We have a three year old son who is the center of our world.

Ever since our son was born, we had an insane amount of stress thrown into our lives. Having a baby is a major life event, and learning to juggle the demands of work and family have been challenging. On top of that, we've moved, dealt with a serious family illness, experienced a miscarriage and had a ton of work stress just in a few short years.

It seems over the last few months that things are really coming to a boiling point, for two main reasons. First, we've unsuccessfully been trying to have another child for two years and the stress of infertility and miscarriage has been so, so hard. Second, both our work situations have been challenging. My husband is miserable in his job and often brings his frustration home with him. My company is in the process of being acquired, so there is the unknown of my job stability.

As the result of all of this, our marriage has suffered. I feel like I can't even talk to my husband any more. He'll have a bad day at work and come home in a terrible mood. He won't want to talk about it or really much of anything. He withdraws himself from our family. Because he's so frustrated, he has little patience for our son, who just wants his dad's attention and instead my husband yells at him and disciplines him for no reason. Yesterday evening, he had another terrible day at the office and said he needed to unwind. So he just left - went for a drive and didn't return home for hours.

I know I"m struggling to...infertility sucks and I do my best not to let it get to me, but it's hard. I know I withdraw sometimes to deal with it, but I never let it impact my son or how I interact with him. The last thing I want is our stress and issues to effect him.

I just don't know what to do anymore. I'm committed to my marriage and making it work, but I don't know what to do or how to make it better. How do you deal with stress in your life and prevent it from impacting your marriage?

Re: Stress in your Marriage -- how do you deal?

  • First thing you need to do is stop TTC. That will hopefully decrease some fo the stress and it doesnt really sound like a great time for another baby!

    Next you need to sit H down and tell him he is a big boy and although you know he is stressed he can absolutely NOT take it out on your son. Tell him to grow up and leave your son out of it.

    Tell him you are stopping all attempts at TTC.

    Tell him you understand he hates his job and what is he going to do about it?

    Have you had a night out alone together?

    I understand that you love your son...but making him the center of your universe can cause majot marital issues. you need to balance your marriage and parenthood equally.



  • image magsugar13:

    I understand that you love your son...but making him the center of your universe can cause majot marital issues. you need to balance your marriage and parenthood equally.

    this EXACTLY
  • Thanks for the fresh perspective...I really needed to hear this.

    When experiencing secondary infertility, I know it's common for parents to put too much focus on their existing child or children. I know I do that...and I know I need a balance. It's just difficult because you want to hold on so tightly to your child when facing pregnancy loss or the possibility that you might not have any other children.

  • I understand your feelings toward your current child and the difficultly loss brings. I think now is probably the perfect time to step back and take a break. Talk to your husband about putting a hold on TTC and just rebuilding your relationship and family. It takes time and communication but it is possible. 

    DH and I have been through many cycles of grief from loss, we rebuild and then the cycle begins again (which is why we are no longer trying). One thing we did in the midst of things was to take 10 minutes every day after dinner to talk. DS would play in the living room and we would talk. First about our feelings, anger we felt, sadness, a changed view of our family and then eventually we'd just talk about our day. It was a good way to force communication about a painful topic and relieved the stress we feel from the unspoken elephant in the room. 

    It may not be what you wanted but the family you have is perfect. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is an idiot. You don't want to know my response to rude people who make ignorant comments about only children. The stress of TTC through loss makes people put all sorts of pressure on themselves and their spouses. To be honest you are too close to your breaking point to continue, another loss might bury you. 

    image Nicholas loved for 28 weeks, 4/11/10
    Baby Boy loved for 15 weeks, 5/31/11
    Baby Girl loved for 16.5 weeks. 3/1/12
  • Thanks Tiffany...I really appreciate your response, especially since it sounds like you've walked down a similar path.

    This may seem silly...but how did you stop TTC? As you probably know, infertility and loss can just take over your entire life, cycle after cycle of hoping and trying. Even if I'm not focusing on it, it's always there. And although we are at our breaking point, I just don't know how I could let go and say we aren't trying anymore, if that makes any sense.

  • image kkfall07:

    Thanks Tiffany...I really appreciate your response, especially since it sounds like you've walked down a similar path.

    This may seem silly...but how did you stop TTC? As you probably know, infertility and loss can just take over your entire life, cycle after cycle of hoping and trying. Even if I'm not focusing on it, it's always there. And although we are at our breaking point, I just don't know how I could let go and say we aren't trying anymore, if that makes any sense.

    This will be long, sorry.  

    It was honestly a hard decision but our experience if different from yours and it was the only one that made sense for us. I have been pregnant 6 times, DS, 2 early m/c's, a stillbirth, and 2 losses in the second trimester.  

    (background) When we lost Nicholas 2.5 years ago the results were inconclusive, either cord accident or clot. We did a ton of testing, nothing showed up so we thought it was a horrible tragedy but not a pattern so TTC was an easy decision. Then I had an early m/c and lost another boy a year later.  We did more testing and did a few more appointments with more specialists and the only thing they found was a minor clotting disorder. After a lot of tears and thinking we decided to try one last time b/c maybe clotting was the answer to our losses.  We saw a top MFM and I had lots of monitoring. Everything was going great, weekly appointments and then right around 17 wks at an u/s once again our daughter's h/b had stopped. We knew that our daughter was the last loss we'd experience from pregnancy. 

    Back to the question... 

    It wasn't easy and we are still working on it, but after having a still birth and 2 D&E's, I couldn't bear it again. Do we each still think about it? Of course we want another child. It was horrible to let go of the dreams and images of 2 little kids running around. It sucks when DS tells us he wants to be a big brother so badly. But we were miserable, DH and I wanted to have a real relationship and a strong family, neither of which could survive another loss. We did some counseling sessions this time and it was very helpful for both of us. You need to go through all the painful and dark emotions, prior to the sessions DH sounds similar to your DH, in pain and stressed out.

    You have to think about what a loss would do to everyone in your family, not what a baby could bring b/c that may not be the result. I can't ride with the puppy dog and rainbows people after our experiences. The benchmark for the last pregnancy was "can we handle another stillbirth?" The answer changed after we lost our daughter.  

     Also, I don't let people make me feel bad about my family nor do I avoid talking about my losses and pregnancies. Don't allow the pressure from others to dictate how you feel. You have to be willing to say screw what other people expect and if/when they say something call them out. Stop accepting conversations about possible reasons for your situation, just shut those conversations down. They are harmful for you b/c nothing you can do will change your situation. Save those conversations for DH or a close friend.

    It is very liberating to embrace what you have instead of clinging to a dream that may not happen.  You can't be a good mother if you aren't able to be there in the moment with your child, same for your DH and yourself. You don't want to waste years urning for something when you have a family in front of you, nor do you want to just go through the motions. Get engrossed in something you use to enjoy and reclaim who yourself. Do not let you pregnancy history define you. 

    image Nicholas loved for 28 weeks, 4/11/10
    Baby Boy loved for 15 weeks, 5/31/11
    Baby Girl loved for 16.5 weeks. 3/1/12
  • Thank you...for sharing your story and all that you've gone through to get to where you're at now. Truly, you've really given me some things to think about and consider. Thank you!

  • While I have not experienced the tragedy of m/c or loss that you and the PP have, I have struggled with infertility for 8 years. My current pregnancy is the result of donor embryos from a wonderful couple who knew our situation. (And I apologize sincerely if seeing my ticker is difficult for you; I do understand.)

    Before we were blessed with this opportunity, I really was at a point in my life where I had made some sort of peace with my infertility. I don't think you ever really lose the hope for a miracle, but you can get beyond the point where you're living your life in two week increments.

    One of the things that helped me was to talk to a counselor. You likely need to grieve the family you thought you would have to better enjoy the family you do have. Your husband may need this too; men are affected to. It doesn't have to be someone with experience in infertility, although that can be helpful.

    As for the other stresses, I do agree with magsugar. You need to find a time to talk to your husband about how he is handling his stress. Lashing out at your son (or you, should it come to that) is just not acceptable. Find a sitter or send your son to Grandma's house for an evening and talk, just the two of you, with no distractions. You have a lot going on and you *need* to take care of your relationship.

    Lilypie First Birthday tickers
  • Wow, I am so sorry for everything you and your husband have been through lately. It's completely understandable that all these stresses in your life are taking a toll on you both, and my heart went out to you as I read of the infertility issues and miscarriages you've faced. This has definitely not been an easy period for you both! So, I would definitely agree with the other poster about considering some counseling for the two of you. It really can make a huge difference in your relationship and probably help you work through some of the grief and stress you're feeling right now. It also might be worthwhile to look into a support group in your area-maybe for grief or infertility? I've heard of an organization called GriefShare while working at Focus on the Family that might help you connect with one in your area. Stepping Stones is another group that offers support for couples facing infertility. So, not sure if that would be of interest, but just FYI. Well, know that someone out there is praying for you and your husband. Hang in there!
  • "It is very liberating to embrace what you have instead of clinging to a dream that may not happen.  You can't be a good mother if you aren't able to be there in the moment with your child, same for your DH and yourself. You don't want to waste years urning for something when you have a family in front of you, nor do you want to just go through the motions. Get engrossed in something you use to enjoy and reclaim who yourself. Do not let you pregnancy history define you. "

     

    WELL SAID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Everyone could use this reminder...

  • Pray about it! Put god in the center of your marriage. Only good can come from it! 
  • image heyblondie:

    "It is very liberating to embrace what you have instead of clinging to a dream that may not happen.  You can't be a good mother if you aren't able to be there in the moment with your child, same for your DH and yourself. You don't want to waste years urning for something when you have a family in front of you, nor do you want to just go through the motions. Get engrossed in something you use to enjoy and reclaim who yourself. Do not let you pregnancy history define you. "

     

    WELL SAID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Everyone could use this reminder...

    Thank you for these words. I needed to hear that. 

    Hang in there. I wish you the best. I hope things get better. Communication is crucial before things escalate more.  

    DS was born in April 2012 at 31 weeks - 45 days in NICU
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