I know we've all taken sides on whether or not relationships/marriage work as an analogy to the infertility experience, but I really do think that it lends itself well to discussing resolution within infertility. At least, it helps me to think about it this way in explaining why Domar's book and therapy and a lot of crying worked for me in resolving the infertility, and how--for me--the two sides happened separate from one another. I think they can happen at the same time--resolving the infertility and the childlessness--but, for me, they happened separate from one another.
So you have five scenarios:
- Resolve infertility and childlessness at the same time (removing the childless state removes the feelings about infertility)
- Resolve the childlessness, but never resolve the infertility or resolve it later (you have a child, but you're still stuck in the same emotions, self-hatred, and depression you experienced during infertility--whatever form your personal struggle with infertility took)
- Resolve the infertility, but never resolve the childlessness or resolve the childlessness after resolving the infertility (come to a place of emotionally coping with infertility separate from whether or not you have a child)
- Never resolve infertility or childlessness.
- Infertility doesn't affect you emotionally beyond some basic disappointment, frustration, or sadness and therefore, you're not really on this list.
Healthy is a relative term. We all have our quirks and issues and we're talking about two separate people coming together. Of course there will be friction when two people need to navigate a single world together and constantly interact. You may not always be on the same page and you may fight and you may have times where things are quite boring in your marriage--but that is different from having problems in your partnership. Healthy couples argue healthily (sort of like absolute power corrupts absolutely?).
What I mean by unhealthy are the larger issues we bring to a relationship when we date knowing that our minds and hearts aren't really ready for dating; that we have personal work we need to be doing for ourselves so we can bring trust into a relationship. I think that lack of trust plays a big role in ruining relationships and it plays a big role in life after infertility. Because a lack of resolution with infertility usually goes hand-in-hand with a lack of trust in other places--a lack of trust with your body, a lack of trust in happiness (how many people talk about waiting for the other shoe to drop? I know I do), a lack of trust in your own abilities.
I was doing that with family building--trying to do the physical side of treatments without taking care of the emotional side. I will obviously always choose to plow ahead and work on the family building and emotional stuff at the same time because they're separate issues but entwined. I think it's also possible to move forward and date while working on your relationship issues at the same time because the two are entwined as well. It's only helpful to a point to work on resolving your relationship issues without being in a relationship. But I don't think it's healthy to move ahead with either dating or family building without also addressing and working on resolution with the emotional issues. By which I mean, putting coping mechanisms in place. In both situations, there needs to be new outlets for emotional stress or that stress will keep manifesting itself in the same way. With dating, you may keep entering abusive or unhealthy relationships. With infertility, you may keep entering a state of self-hatred and depression.
I think Anonymous spoke a valid point for her--the book didn't work for her. And this is true for every method out there for removing stress or coping with emotions: therapy, religion, yoga, medications, gardening, art, basketball. I think the way a person resolves their infertility is very personal. I was only stating what worked for me; it really really won't work for everyone.
I think that it was very telling when I was pregnant with the twins that my therapist didn't release me from the sessions because there was still work to do. I kept going until a few weeks after the twins were born, when she told me that she trusted that I was in a better space, with coping mechanisms in place. For me, the visualization techniques and return to Buddhism and therapy worked which is why I said that I got the brass ring. I got to resolve my infertility and I got to resolve my childlessness, and I count myself lucky that both happened because it could have been otherwise.
And by resolution, I don't think I'm at a place of absolute peace with it. I bumped into an old peripheral friend a while back and she was late in her pregnancy. I hadn't seen her in almost a year and I didn't know that she was pregnant. And I felt such a seething jealousy looking at her belly, knowing how easy it comes to her. That's not resolution, but it's better than where I was so I count it as progress. Aren't we all just a work in progress, stumbling around, trying to find our way?