Stress-free? Who am I kidding?

As much as I want to keep myself stress-free, it seems like I am under a lot of stress and my body is reacting to it.  My left shoulder has been bothering me, especially after driving 30  minutes to work or sitting at my desk working on the computer for about 20 minutes.  The pain sometimes extends to the joint of my left thumb.  Needless to say, I am not a fun person to be around these two days because of the pain.  Called insurance at lunch and confirmed that we have coverage for chiropractic services.  Just pay a copayment for any in network providers and we’re good to go for 30 visits per calendar year.  Got an appointment scheduled with this guy who has wonderful Yelp reviews.  I am hoping to be pain-free by Thursday.

Remember I said that I am not a fun person to be around?  Well, Bob and I got into a huge fight last night.  I thought that we have had a good system down and we really hadn’t gotten into a fight in a long time.  Everything was fine when he got home.  One phone call with his mother changed everything.  I don’t think I have ever talked about my in-laws.  Well, let’s just say that I am far from being the ideal daughter-in-law that they had ever dreamed of.  In fact, they were so upset about our upcoming wedding that his father called Bob the day before the wedding and yelled at him for a long time.  Nobody from his family, including his parents or any other close cousins, attended our wedding.  And his father stopped talking to him for many months after that.  The main reason: I am not Indian and I am older.  Since I wasn’t handpicked and arranged by his parents, it is as if Bob didn’t have a wife.  They would tell people that Bob has decided not to be married when someone asks them about Bob’s life.  After we went to visit them in India last year, things did get a little better. But his mother has this way of torturing him when they talk on the phone or Skype.  He basically gets yelled at for ruining their lives almost EVERY SINGLE TIME they talk.  Last night was no exception.  Bob got off the phone and was in a totally annoyed and unhappy mood.  So instead of being the wise one and walking away from it, I fell into the trap of reacting to his reaction to his mother.  One thing led to another.  And we were yelling at each other.  I don’t know if it’s the stress of IVF, infertility, his family situation, or his job situation.  Must be a combination of all of them.  I just feel so helpless when we fight.  I am also very frustrated that we are allowing his mother’s destructive ways to get to our relationship.  Other than this one stressor, Bob has also been a bit anxious about looking for a new job.  However, we can’t move on from this job until we’re done using the fertility insurance.  The lifetime maximum coverage will be finished in July when our cycle starts.  He’ll then be free to move around and look for another job.  But to him, it feels like that EVERYTHING we do revolves around fertility and IVF.  It feels like it, but it is not true.  However, no matter what I tell him, it doesn’t matter.  It is how he feels.  And he’s sticking with it.  We do enjoy life.  IVF is a big part but it’s not everything that we do.  I do see a pattern of our communication that is recurring and I feel that we can use some help in that area.  So during my insurance coverage phone call, I also found out that we are covered for counseling for unlimited visits with just a copayment.  Bob and I will talk about it and see if that’s something we want to pursue.  I hope it will help.  I don’t think it’ll hurt.

How do you deal with stress, especially when it’s related to infertility and fertility treatment?  Have you ever done counseling and how did it work out for you?

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27 thoughts on “Stress-free? Who am I kidding?

  1. You know… Gotta keep the stress at bay. Your body is going to react at it. We hardly fought during ivf for that reason. We both let everything slide and made it the most relaxing time ever. Seriously that should be a goal. You want a conducive environment for those eggs and embies. Postpone all the disagreements and don’t pick any fights. If anyone picks a fight the other should just let them win. And then breathe and pray. It’s a wonderful time before you life changes to parents so enjoy the time together in your 2-person world as much as you can.

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  2. goodness, sorry to hear about all this!! I think we can all use some counseling!!! Hope you and your husband will get lots of good time to communicate well and listen!!! Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry 🙂 James 1:19 – Prayers for you

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  3. Wow. In-laws like that would be STRESSFUL! Infertility is STRESSFUL! I’m sorry you have all this going on. I hope you two can draw closer through counseling. I haven’t had counseling for IF, but I think about it more and more, especially if this cycle doesn’t work. Hugs to you.

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  4. I’m sorry, that all sounds very stressful. My husband and I have had a few blow ups around IVF and he can get to feeling that way, too–that everything revolves around getting pregnant. I just wanted to say that we did have counseling after we first married because we were having a lot of arguments. We didn’t get a newlywed time; my husband’s company had just been sold, people laid off, he was out of work. We were both anxious. The counseling was the best thing we ever did! We only went a few times but we learned healthier ways of communicating with each other. We still use some of the techniques we learned when we’re arguing now, and it almost always gets us to a good place.

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    • Awww that must have been one stressful period of your life! Thanks for sharing your experience and I am so glad that you guy made great use of counseling and that it was helpful.

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  5. First, your in-laws are jerks. I know a few people whose parents hoped that they’d marry within their own culture, but you know what happened when they didn’t? They were mature, caring parents and got over it because the person made their child happy. So sorry that his decision ruined THEIR lives. This makes my blood boil, and I definitely would feel the same as you and wouldn’t necessarily be able to take it lying down. But also, I can say for a fact that infertility makes your stress tolerance much lower than it would normally be so that things that might not bother you another time are huge deals instead. I think if you guys are covered by counselling, you should go for it. Lots of counsellors say that couples often arrive too late in their office, only once huge problems have arisen. You guys could hopefully nip this stuff in the bud and I’m sure you’ll be the stronger for it.

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    • I know. They think that they own him and how dare him do anything other than what they tell him. Doesn’t help that he’s the only child. I talked with my hubby tonight and he’s not resistant to counseling. So we shall see.

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  6. I have LOTS of thoughts about this. The short version is that I am a HUGE fan of counselling and think it is fantastic. I’ll write something more detailed later, I can’t at the moment as I am at work and got lots on (it’s our weekly record day, got 50 people coming into our TV studio audience, gah!). But I wanted to drop a quick line now to say HANG IN THERE and counselling is awesome in my own experience.

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      • Yeah I work at a TV station on a weekly discussion program on news, current affairs and social issues 🙂

        As for counseling … I have used counselors lots of times in my life for all sorts of reasons: in Hong Kong because I was starting to have low self-esteem and feeling disconnected and lonely; another time back in Australia when I was having relationship problems; when I was offered a MASSIVE promotion at work but didn’t know if I wanted to take it as it would mean more stress (I didn’t accept it in the end – best decision I ever made); couple counseling pre-marriage; and then my husband and I went together the other day to talk about our grief over my diminished egg reserve, which was a shock. We just sat on the couch opposite the counselor and both cried buckets. It was great to hear my husband’s perspective on the fertility challenges and have it all in a setting where we could talk to a third person.

        My biggest advice is: find a counselor. A personal recommendation is great, or just google. Book yourself in for a session. And (here’s the important bit) if you don’t ‘click’ with that counselor or don’t really think they understood you or helped you … GO SEE ANOTHER ONE! Don’t persist with them. You’ll know by the end of the session whether you feel it was good for you or not. In my experience, about 50% of counselors are absolutely excellent. So if you land a dud, don’t worry! Just find another one. You WILL find a good one. They are out there.

        My husband and I will be returning to our counselor in a few weeks’ time, mid-way through our first IVF cycle, just to chat about how it’s all going.

        “IVF is really easy, it’s a piece of cake, and actually FUN” … said no one ever. Of course it can put a strain on relationships. So why not get some extra support. It’s ok to get help.

        My last point is … does your employer have a program like this: http://www.eapaa.org.au/ It’s an Employee Assistance Program it means your company pays for a certain number of free counseling sessions per year. Completely anonymous, the company doesn’t know which staff have used the service, they just get the bill. And doesn’t have to be work related. I’m sure there must be an equivalent where you are.

        Best of luck
        x
        (PS your in-laws …. wow. Words fail.)

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        • Thanks for the advice, girl! We have insurance coverage if we go to someone who is in the network of our insurance company. We only pay a copayment of $15. We don’t have the kind of program you mentioned about. But I think what we have is pretty good. This is my hubby’s company insurance and it has good coverage. If I used my own company’s health insurance, many of the things that I’m doing now are not covered. What you do sounds very very interesting! What exactly do you do for the TV station??

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  7. Ugh! A good friend had a similar experience with her Indian in-laws (his mom calling crying, saying he was ruining her life, his sister implying that my friend must be a ho-bag gold-digger, and that their relationship was the reason nice Indian women had to settle for white men, and so on…). Fortunately, they sort of came around in the end and attended the wedding (and threw an Indian wedding). I’ve always been so grateful that my in-laws have embraced me, despite the fact that I’m not Vietnamese!

    But the most important relationship is the one between you and your hubby. I’ll be thinking of you and hoping that you can find a way to get through this together!

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    • My in-laws are a bit more stubborn than that. His mom was nice to me when I was there. She cooked us food and took good care of me. Regardless of her liking me as a person, in her mind her life is damaged b/c of us. I’m so glad you don’t have my kind of problems!

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  8. I think that you are so smart to take stress seriously and to make sure that you are taking the steps to take care of yourself and your marriage. IF can be so hard on relationships! I wish you the best of luck.
    And def I would limit contact with MIL if she is going to act like that

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  9. I can empathize a lot with you. Hang in there and I am sure counselling helps a lot. I have been through this and I did take up counselling. It really helped put back things together in our relationship. On a separate note, I can very well understand how your in-laws ridiculously behave. I am Indian (Tamilian as well) and I know how hard Indian parents can be. Just stay away from the, btw…l love your blog name binkymoongee!! Wish you all the luck!

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    • Thank you! I am very sure you know exactly what I’m talking about when it comes to South Indian in-laws. I’m glad counseling helped you. I clicked over to your blog and congrats on your baby girl! She’s adorable!

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  10. I’m (white) married to an Indian from Kerala and after reading your story, I’m so grateful to my in-laws. I know they wanted my husband to marry a Malayali, or at very least an Indian, but they’ve been nothing but wonderful to me. His mom threatened not to come to our wedding, but that’s because it wasn’t going to be a Catholic ceremony, not because I wasn’t Indian. In the end everyone came and there was no drama.

    An aside, my husband’s previous girlfriend (of over a decade, but they never married) was North Indian, and his parents have admitted that I’m a lot more open minded and accepting of their culture/food/values than she was, despite the fact she was Indian and I am not.

    Another aside, I’m slightly older than my husband–by about 4 months, but FIL has told his extended family that I’m younger (I went to the eye doctor when I was visiting last and a cousin made the appointment and the DOB given had shaved a couple years off). In addition SIL last year married a younger man (again, not much, 6 months or so), and I swear his parents told me that he was older than she was and I didn’t find out about the age difference until a few months ago. Our generation doesn’t care, but clearly the older generation still does.

    Except for our in-laws, the rest of your story sounds eerily familiar. I’m DOR with no/no AMH and high FSH and he’s severe MFI. It’s pretty horrible. We actually do the worst when we get bad news (last week my cycle was canceled, he couldn’t cope, and I was MAD at him for being an ass), but we bounce back pretty quickly. We’ve spent the last year just sort of waiting to get pregnant, and nothing has gone our way and we probably have a year to go. This year, we’re committed to moving forward with our lives, IVF be damned. So we’re moving cities (same job, same insurance, different cities, but close enough to where we’re living that we probably won’t switch REs) and trying to build the life we want so when we do have children, we’re happy. It’s been a long road, but we’re getting there. And both of us are confident that we’ll get there somehow.

    I’m sorry that you have to deal with such drama from his family when you also have to deal with IF. I hope they get better, or at very least, your husband gets better at dealing with them.

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  11. Thanks so much for sharing your story with me. I wish my in-laws were as open-minded as yours. I’m a few years, not months, older than my husband. His mom got very upset about it. We’ll figure out a way to deal with his parents. In the meantime, I found a counselor in network so I can call her up and schedule a time with her. Yes, isn’t DOR a horrible diagnosis to have? I went on your blog and read a little bit. Sorry about your canceled cycle… this journey is tough. Big hugs to you and hope that the big move goes smoothly.

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    • Thanks Isabelle–I should have mentioned that his parents lived in the US for 30 years before moving back to Kerala a couple years ago, which has probable helped in their acceptance of things not being just as they would like. Regardless of whether the age difference is months or years, they really ought to be respectful of you, your husband and your relationship, but you know that, and I’m sorry that it’s not happening.

      Thanks for your support; it’s been tough and we’re probably looking at a DE/DS situation. While hard, it also means that we aren’t racing against my biological clock which has freed us up to move forward with our lives in non-baby related ways. Bittersweet, but keeping us sane. Big hugs to you too!

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  12. I give you a LOT of credit for dealing with those in-laws! Hopefully things improve a little over the years, because putting up with that forever would drive me insane.
    I think counseling is a great option. The most important thing, in my opinion, is to find the right therapist. It needs to be someone who’s style works for you. Also, try some relaxation/meditation exercises if you don’t already do them. That can help ease a little stress too.

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    • Thanks! I do Circle and Bloom at night. The only problem is that I often fall asleep during the recording. But apparently as long as the subconscious mind is listening, I don’t actually have to be really awake? Dunno.

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