The Spouse Nick and I have never had the most conventional of relationships. We’d only known each other for 18 months when we got hitched and our 8 month old daughter was the flower girl. You do the maths. We fell pregnant again on our honeymoon and the next five years have continued in much the same vein. We’ve only ever known one another during the turbulance that is pregancy and parenthood. That in itself does not exactly make for your typical wedded bliss; throw in the turmoil of recurrent miscarriage and you have quite the rollercoaster.
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll be familiar with the Spouse’s unwavering presence as the butt of many a joke and the inspiration behind some of my most scathing posts. My Gran said I make him sound like a plonker and, to be honest, a lot of the time, he is. Credit where it’s due though, Nick is actually a decent human being. He’s cocky and arrogant and is a terrible tipper, but he’s also the kind of guy that once spent an hour giving CPR to a stranger, who collapsed outside our house. The kind of guy who deliberately crosses the street to help someone in need, rather than walk away from them. As a husband though, he’s not the best. Those kindnesses that he so freely offers to others, don’t always make it home. I suppose Instagram and blogging have become my outlet. A place to vent my spleen after every domestic. Someone to talk to, when in reality I can feel quite alone. I take a tongue in cheek approach. I hide behind the jokes. Because to openly admit that your marriage is struggling, well that’s a very difficult thing to do. It’s admitting to failure. It’s admitting that maybe you made a mistake. It’s admitting that perhaps all those who thought you’d rushed things (no kidding), might be right.
It’s a devastating reality when an idea originally conceived of love and hope for a shared future, can end a marriage.
Here’s the thing though, underneath it all; the tears and the fighting, our marriage is rock solid. You don’t go through the things that we have over the last six years and come out the other side of it, without some sort of unbreakable bond. Even on the worst days. Even when I email him divorce papers (mostly in jest) and cry myself to sleep; I can’t truly envisage a life without him. He’s a part of my unit as much as my kids are and as much as I imagine a fourth baby to be.
But I’d be lying if I said we were happy. Not all the time anyway. We’ve done our fair share of scrabbling over the rockier patches of a relationship and I can pin point those harder times beginning when we had our very first miscarriage. That’s when things escalated from arguments about the toilet seat, to real, heart wrenching conversations about if we even wanted to be married anymore.
You see, what we’ve been through, it’s tough. It’s really really tough. And if you’re not quite on the same page throughout it all, it becomes damn near impossible. Each time we’ve decided to try for another baby, we’ve been in agreement; but each time we’ve lost one, our opinions begin to differ. He is content not to rock the boat further. To count our blessings and carry on with our lives. Whereas I, simply, cannot give in. In the end, I fought tooth and nail for a third. I put my marriage on the line for years because there was no way I felt I could ever give in and ultimately, it was worth it. And I’m willing to do it all again, but Nick is not. Nick’s priority is to avoid anymore heartache. He doesn’t yearn for a fourth like I do. He doesnt understand why I’m so wiling to keep putting us all through it. He doesn’t want to keep trying. And for every month that I’m not carrying a healthy baby, we have the same fight. He thinks I’m being unfair, forcing us all to put our lives on hold. I think the whole thing is unfair. There is no compromise. We either try, or we don’t. Someone has to relent. And it’s always him. Still, the fight is exhausting.
I don’t want to keep going through it, of course I don’t. I want to fall pregnant and have a healthy baby in my arms nine months later. Yet it’s not that easy for me, which means nothing is easy for us. When we decided, together, to start trying for a fourth, I don’t think either of us truly imagined we would go through this again. Yet now we face the reality of more pain, more loss and more conversations about why I won’t just close the door on it. I can’t make him understand. I can’t make most people understand.
Physically and emotionally, each loss has been so different for us both too. For me, the agony comes from losing my baby. For him, it comes from watching his wife suffer. So we deal with the loss in different ways. Ways that we each struggle to grasp. A storm that we should be riding out together, is somehow causing us to drift apart.
So how do we get through this? How does our marriage survive? The truth is, I don’t know. When all this is over, when we finally come to the end of this jounery, whatever that end may be; I know our relationship will be unrecognisable from those two young parents that giggled with joy as they said their vows to each other, 5 years ago. That couple who spent only four months engaged, because all they wanted was to be married. We’ve both changed so much since then. We’ve both suffered so much. I hope we don’t suffer anymore. I hope that whatever comes next, we can make peace with it together and rebuild our lives, our marriage and our family around our upcoming chapters. I hope we can begin to argue about toilet seats again.