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Dealing with infertility is not easy for couples. It throws many challenges at the people it plagues, and none of the challenges is easy to overcome. But one of the less obvious issues people shy away from is the change in relationship dynamics of couples waiting for the fruit of the womb. Some courageous women who were confronted with the problem told Effects how the challenge changed their relationships for better or worse.
Lizzy: Infertility made our love stronger
My husband and I have been through more rough patches emotionally in our first five years of marriage than many couples in their first 15 years. But when you are battling with something out of your control, like infertility, you need to really rely on those who know you best to be your sound board. You need them to become your rock, and help balance you when medications take your body for a spin. My husband and I have a new appreciation of our love, our lives together, and we learn everyday that our future is out of our grip. What we have found together, is that there’s an entire community of people dealing with this. It truly makes this pain of constant disappointment so much more bearable. We have resolved to enjoy our lives even if the children we desire so much are not coming to our family.
Nancy: Infertility made my husband and I drift apart
My journey with infertility challenged me to the core. The first month my partner tried, I became pregnant with my first daughter. The pregnancy was not easy, and I found myself in need of emotional support for the first time in our relationship. This was something he could not give to me.
Two years later when we were ready for our second child. We conceived right away and everything seemed to be going well. However, I miscarried. From that time, conceiving became a challenge. We drifted apart. It was almost like we became roommates who happened to share the same bed and take care of our young daughter together.
The only time we worked together as a couple was once a month when I was ovulating. That was the only time I even wanted to talk to him because, from my perspective, it was like talking to a brick wall. He always thought that it was my fault and didn’t waste time telling me that he was a man.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that he and I didn’t have a strong foundation to begin with. Along the way, we tried a variety of things to get our relationship back on track. Sadly, it was not able to help us heal our marriage. We spent less and less time as a couple. I was sad that he only wanted to touch while I was ovulating. It was like he married me only to make babies.
Lucy: Infertility has made our relationship stronger
My husband and I have been married for almost 10 years and have trying to have a baby for nine years. We have been through cysts, scar tissue, multiple surgeries, an IUI and three miscarriages.But infertility has made our relationship stronger than ever. We learned to trust God even more, communicate better, love deeper and use our story to encourage others. I love my husband so much.
Doctors said we would never conceive but we have and twice too. Although those pregnancies ended in miscarriage, we still have faith, because the doctors told us it wasn’t possible.
And we know that one day, we will have our healthy baby. My advice to women and their partners is to never give up. No matter what’s happened, we have survived it and our stories are testimonies to help each other. I just pray my situation changes soon and for the best too.
Ifeyinwa: Going through infertility gave my marriage a fresh spark
I was terrified the love of my life would leave me because having children is one of life’s greatest adventures. The day he told me he married me but not to make babies only, I cried with relief and felt it was the most romantic thing he had ever said to me.We are Igbos and I know how much importance our people attach to children especially male children. But we chose not to allow infertility define our relationship. Our life is full and rich.
We celebrated our 7th marriage anniversary this week, and I’m happy that we are happily married and looking forward to more adventures together as a couple. We are partners in life; we feel lucky to have each other and infertility is just one of the many hurdles we have jumped over in life.
Women who go through this experience of waiting for children need to do what is right for themselves and their relationships. Everyone’s experience is unique. Even though they are keen on having children, they should also focus on how to have a rich, rewarding life and relationship regardless of how their fertility treatments work out.
Charity: Battling infertility has made me honest with myself and my life
After two years of marriage, my husband and I decided to have a child. Looking back, it’s clear that the only reason we tried was that I thought giving him what he wanted would help our marriage. After a year of trying with no success, I went to the doctor and went through one round of IVF — that was all I could take. It was two emotional, tough years of trying to get pregnant.
At times, I felt ashamed and guilty for not being able to give my husband a child. Meanwhile, he seemed to be less and less interested in becoming a father. Our marriage came to an end shortly after that. It was the first time I was truly honest with him. I told him I didn’t want to try anymore because he made me feel useless as a woman.
We divorced, he met someone else and now he has three children — all boys. It’s been nine years since we split and I’m still childless, single and happier. I realised I spent most part of the relationship catering to his wants. If there was one thing I wish I had done, it was to be more honest with my feelings from the start. Battling infertility has made me honest with myself and my life.
Obianuju: Improved communication helped us cope with infertility
My battle with infertility started one year after marriage when we decided to try for kids. Two years later, we had no luck. We both had surgeries which didn’t help. So, we embarked on IVF. Our hopes were answered two years after, and we finally got that positive pregnancy test only to suffer a miscarriage afterwards. It was a painful period for us. Our relationship was threatened.
When your body doesn’t produce the way you want, you feel a lot of guilt and shame. It’s really important to surround yourself with people who have gone through it. It impacts both you and your partner. You have to be open and talk about it. You have to work through it, because those emotions can really bring you down. It’s not going to make you feel great, but it will get you through the day. Most importantly, you have to be careful not to blame each other.