My husband is hurting. And it sometimes feels so helpless to see him in pain.
His recent emotional experience reminds me of myself a couple of years ago. At that time, I hated people. I didn’t feel good at all when I was bombarded with birth announcements, pregnancy announcements, and adoption news. I just wanted to hide from the world. All sorts of feelings consumed me: anger, despair, disappointment, jealously. You name it. I had it.
Even though we just lost another early pregnancy, I am in a much better place emotionally and spiritually than my old self back then. My relationship with the Lord is going strong despite all of this going on. It is not the case for Bob.
Bob was strong for me the week we found out about the chemical pregnancy. He comforted me. He was there for me, smiling and cheering me up. However, my poor husband has definitely been hurting. The weekend after we lost the pregnancy, I found him home early Saturday morning. He was supposed to be at his bible study training until 9am. He told me he left early. At first he wouldn’t tell me why he did. Later, he finally divulged. What happened was, during prayer time, one of the leaders gave thanks to the Lord for his wife’s new pregnancy. Everyone else was praising the Lord and praying for the baby. Bob told me that all he felt was anger. Angry that it was supposed to be our turn as well. Angry that this journey wasn’t any easier with donor eggs. Angry that others got to celebrate their blessings but not us. He lasted for another part of the training. When he returned to the main room for the last hour of the training, he looked inside and saw that people were still talking about that pregnancy. He did not feel that there was the place for him. Instead of going in and enduring the silent pain of listening to others’ joy, he decided to pack up and go. He went to a coffee shop, picked up a cup of his favorite coffee, and drove home. He told me that he sat in our car in the driveway for a long time, thinking about our life and our journey. Listening to him, my heart was filled with compassion for my dear partner in life who was hurting so badly. His desires to be a father are so strong that this recent loss just pushes him over the edge. It hurt me to see him hurt. All I did and all I could do was just to hold him in my arms and to tell him that I understand 100% of how he was feeling. Sometimes, just being there for him brings comfort.
The next day, we were at church for our greeting duty. Bob was outside the church greeting people while I was right at the entrance. A very good friend out ours, an American of Indian descent, came to me with a special smile on his face. I had been anticipating his announcement of his wife’s pregnancy for months now, simply because he and I had a long talk about babies before he proposed to his wife. After a year and a half of marriage, I knew that I would hear from him any time. Plus a few weeks ago, after learning that she wasn’t feeling well, I had an intuition that she might have been pregnant. This friend said, “We had some good news to share with you!” I forced a smile on my face and waited. He went on to tell me that his wife is expecting. I said congratulations with my forced smile and asked him how far along she was. She is now about four months. Then, there was this awkward silence before he walked away telling me that he would go and share the news with some other people.
This was the weekend after we learned about our most recent loss. As hard as it sounded, I was doing okay with this news. It wasn’t a great feeling to learn that yet another couple successfully became pregnant seemingly without any effort. But surprisingly I was doing okay. I knew how Bob had been with pregnancy news and I thought about not telling him until after the service. However, I didn’t hold my tongue and shared with him when he came back inside the church. I could see the hurt on his face, which broke my heart. Pregnancy news from his guy friends two days in a row was just too much for him. He asked if he could just leave right after our duty. I told him to feel free to do whatever he felt like. It was going to be very tough for him to sit through the service not feeling loved by God. I didn’t want to force him to do anything as he had his way of handling and processing his emotions. I think this one hit him hard also because our friend’s wife is Chinese, so the baby will be an Indian-Chinese mix. We have always been the first Indian-Chinese couple who got married first and tried for a baby first. I can imagine how difficult it is for him to be waiting for so long and watching someone else have their Indian-Chinese baby first.
Bless his heart. Bob sat through service and even waited for me to finish my duty. He went for a walk right after service. We skipped the going away party for our close friends right after service. Although I wanted to be at the going away party, I knew how much Bob just wanted to be left alone and not to be forced to smile when he felt like he was dying inside. I really got it. So we just spent the rest of the day at home by ourselves.
How has he been doing since? I have never seen him so angry and sad in his life. This failure of the first DE cycle has really pushed him over the edge. He continues his ministry as a children’s leader at bible study, but he has just been going through the motions. He has been angry with God for allowing us to be on this journey for so long without any results. He does not feel loved by God. He refused to talk to God. He does not want to talk to anyone about his struggles. He has not shared with any of his friends about them. When he shares his prayer requests, he shares about mundane stuff. I asked him about it. He said that our loss and our struggle is just too huge for him to put into words to share with others who may or may not pray for us. He even has an idea of us not sharing with anyone about any details for our upcoming frozen embryo transfer so that nobody would pray for us. To him, clearly, prayers have not been working. I have never seen his faith in God so shaken up. But as a wife, I have learned to shut up about it because really, it is between him and God, and I have no place in talking with him other than prayers for him.
The Lord is merciful, full of grace, and full of comfort though. Fortunately, when Bob is weak, the Lord has kept me strong. My heart and my soul yearn for a baby, but I have not been pulled down by this failed cycle. I still have faith that things will work out in the end, and I have seen the Lord’s hand in sustaining us. I can be the strong one for my husband when he doesn’t have enough strength and faith to carry on, hopefully for this short time of grief. Although emotionally I am doing better than he is, I am very attuned to my feelings. Skipping my work holiday party for the first time in the 12 years that I have worked there tells you how meaningless I feel to be socializing with people who know nothing about our struggles. I don’t feel sorry for skipping. It’s our way of preserving our sanity.
The Lord is patient though. Even though Bob is going through some very trying times, He is still speaking to Bob through his struggles. The day after our weekend full of pregnancy news, Bob did his daily bible study and came across a passage that spoke to him. He shared with me that morning, telling me that God has not given up on him. This passage is from Ephesians chapter 4:
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
I am so glad that Bob did not just tune God out. He is still receptive to whatever God has to show him. This whole last week, he has been talking on and off to God about his feelings, his anger, his disappointment, and his pain. I have never prayed for my husband so much in my life, but I know that I have to be the one praying if he is too hurt to pray. I am glad that he is slowly coming back to an open dialogue with God. I know that I cannot force Bob to feel better because he needs to sort through his feelings and reestablish his relationship with God himself. But I am confident that with my patience and with God’s patience, my husband will return to the previous state of trusting and having faith in the Lord for guiding our path.
But, this time, it may really take some time.