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The Fertile Chick: Save My Marriage!

Nicole The Fertile Chick

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My heart breaks whenever I hear this from any woman, TTC or not. ‘Please, help me save my marriage…’

When I think back to how fragile emotionally I was, when I was TTC, I’m not sure if I would have been able to withstand the kind of additional pressure being heaped upon a lot of women. If you are reading this piece, and are a friend or family member of a TTC woman, or man, please believe me when I say that the TTC journey is hard enough! We’re not exaggerating. It’s tough.

For a woman craving, with all her heart, just to get two lines on a pregnancy test strip, she could really do without your added pressure.

Someone just told me recently how her mother-in-law was ‘advising’ her to ‘quickly get pregnant’, so that her husband, the said woman’s son, would not go out and impregnate someone else, because, according to her, ‘you just can’t trust men’. Knowing fully well that the poor lady has been trying to conceive for almost 5 years, what she wanted her to do with this tidbit of information is beyond me. All it has served to do is add to her stress. Get pregnant or else…

But you know what’s worse? When that pressure comes from the partner himself (or even herself). We once had a blog post of Dealing with Infertility Bullies, and one of the comments from a member of our community stated that her primary bully was none other than her husband himself. The poor lady is barely in her mid-20s, but she keeps having her inability to conceive rubbed in her face…by the man who vowed to honor, love and protect her. So, pretty much, alongside having to deal with her own disappointment month after month, she also has to worry about dealing with his! When I hear things like this, it almost makes me wonder about the partnership in some marriages. If you and your partner cannot tag team on something as big as this, what happens with the other little, or even bigger, things come your way? When the kids finally come, what stops the bullying partner from finding something else to fixate on?

And what about the partners who just decide to up and go? I have a good friend who remarried a few years after a bad divorce. We were all so excited for her, as it appeared she had found true love after being with such a horrible man before. With her new husband, one year turned to two, and then three, and then four…but they couldn’t conceive. They had a few IVF cycles, which unfortunately didn’t work. Before we knew it, bobo started becoming distant and withdrawn…resentful of all they were spending on fertility treatment, and reminding her of it every chance he got. The next thing we knew, he called a family meeting, and, backed up by his people, pretty much said he wasn’t doing again! All because she couldn’t conceive!

And then, we have the infidelity…

Let me just pause to say that I too am seeking education on this topic. Even though I am months away from turning 40, and I am celebrating my 9th year of marriage this year, I find that I am not able to offer dispassionate advice on this. I find that I get too emotional, too angry, too upset, when I hear about infidelity with TTC couples. No, I am not being naïve to think that infidelity doesn’t happen. Unfortunately, it does, but if there is genuine contrition and a commitment to fix whatever has been broken, then it is easier for such a marriage to recover. But when this infidelity is justified…I’m sorry, I’m just not in that space where I can rationalize it.

In the case of a close friend of my cousin’s, her husband not only cheated, his side-chick had a baby. Meanwhile, his wife has been trying to conceive for about four years. The annoying part? The guy feels justified in his actions, and told his wife that ‘It’s God that gives kids’. What’s worse? His family, his friends, her family, and even her friends have also been justifying this faulty rationale of his, urging her to just accept her fate and continue trying for a baby.

Another new friend of mine was talking about the constant girlfriend her husband has had for the past 2 years. I’m not talking about random side chicks. I’m talking steady babe. When I asked if she has ever confronted him about it, she said she has, but his response was that he’s not sure of how he feels…there are times when he feels bad about it, and seemingly cuts off said side-chick, and there are other times when it’s the side chick he wants. He actually told her that. Even though we don’t know each other that well, I had to ask her if she thinks having a baby is going to change anything. If her man is torn between his feelings for her and another woman, is having a baby really going to make any change at all? What if it gets worse? She’ll be responsible not only for her own broken heart, but the hearts of innocent children. Her answer shocked me. ‘Nicole, I just want them to know I’m not a failure. I don’t care if he is a part of our lives or not!’

I was lost for words. Eventually, we prayed about it, and I still do keep her in my prayers, praying for a change in her husband’s heart…because that’s really all we can pray for.

An old friend of mine was in a very volatile marriage. Even before they got married, the guy had the worst temper ever, and was constantly abusing her, physically and emotionally. I remember telling her that a broken engagement was better than a broken marriage. Well, they married anyway, and of course, the abuse continued. In the years leading to the birth of their child, as they went through IVF cycle after IVF cycle, their home was a hot pot, as she too had started fighting back. By the time they finally had their daughter, less than four months after her birth, they had an extremely bad domestic incident that saw Police Officers invited to their home to resolve the dispute. They separated after that incident, and are divorced now. It almost makes me wonder if they should have bothered in the first place.

So, here I am, throwing it open, because I am desperately seeking an education on this myself. Should a TTC woman, or man, remain in a relationship with an abusive or unfaithful partner…especially one who is not contrite and sees no bad in their actions? Is it really worth it? What is the guarantee that such a man/woman will change? Is it fair to bring a child into an already acrimonious environment? Does it make more sense to just shake hands and go your separate ways? Yes, I do believe in the power of prayer, and yes, I do believe that marriage is sacrosanct. But when these things happen, could it be a cue, even from God, that you need to leave?

I look forward to being educated, because, honestly, this is one topic that really, truly breaks my heart.

Photo Credit: Andrey Popov | Dreamstime.com

Nicole is a woman in her late 30s, with a passion for all things fertility related. She suffered infertility for the first 3 years of her marriage, and found it extremely isolating. After she had her kids, she started The Fertile Chick (www.thefertilechickonline.com) to create a community and happy-place for all women, in various stages of the fertility journey.

25 Comments

  1. Ann1

    January 27, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    This article has no direction. Here’s a written tip. Next time you want to use abbreviations in an article, make sure you explain what that abbreviation means in the first paragraph. I had to open google to find the meaning of TTB.

    • bae

      January 27, 2017 at 3:52 pm

      I am shocked at your response. Obviously this article is not for you. I pray ? you never truly understand what TTC is.

    • Babym

      January 27, 2017 at 5:45 pm

      ‘A written tip’???? Well I have a writing tip for you learn how write b4 you yarn dust ?

    • Tru

      January 27, 2017 at 6:44 pm

      And it’s TTC, not TTB

    • Toluwalope

      January 28, 2017 at 10:07 am

      You’re too young for this page. You can kindly check back when you clock 21 and by the way, have you done your home work?

  2. Dlp

    January 27, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    Hummm, using the word heart break is an understatement. As I was reading i will pause for a bit and begin to think. I don’t understand what marriage has turned to and I don’t even what to imagine what a TTC woman in this type of situation will be going through. For me I don’t think I will stay in that kind of relationship haba it is so unfair, so so unfair how will you treat another human being like that and if you talk too much they will say God hates divorce. May the good Lord guide our part and help my daughters to meet the right man that will treat they with respect

  3. Omonaija

    January 27, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    @ann1 It’s *writing tip* and *ttc* I too no dey worry you.

    • Omonaija

      January 27, 2017 at 2:42 pm

      I too know

  4. Worn out

    January 27, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    Nicole, this is the story of my life.

    Been trying to conceive for two years. Hubby has a medical condition that makes it difficult for him to impregnate a woman. Hubby is unfaithful and emotionally abusive. I don’t know which is more exhausting. The former, or the latter.

    20 hours in a day, I feel like packing my bags and going off on an indefinite holiday. I feel emotionalky drain and mentally exhausted.

    • Worn out

      January 27, 2017 at 3:35 pm

      *emotinally drained and mentally exhausted*

    • curious

      January 27, 2017 at 5:47 pm

      Perhaps its better you don’t have a child for such a person. Maybe God is giving you a chance to break away cleanly without feeling you need to stay because children are involved?

    • Marian

      January 27, 2017 at 8:59 pm

      This is the best time to change things. Do you have proof that he’s cheating or it’s just a suspicion? I’ll advice counseling now ( the sooner the better) to figure out what you both want out of the marriage. I recommend the book ‘the 5 love langues’ it’s one of my favorite on marriage.

    • BijouxthisBijouxthat

      January 28, 2017 at 8:53 am

      So why are you still married? I don’t get some African women!
      Imagine the nonsense? It’s the dude fault yet he is being emotionally abusive to you.. And you are staying? When you have both biblical and legal reason to go! Are you waiting to be infected?
      Must you stay married?

    • Laura

      January 30, 2017 at 11:27 am

      I do not undertand you? You not having a child for
      Him is probably a sign of God so u can leave him and start ur life all over again but noww u wantto die there. I know it is not easy but even if u dont want to divorce him then turn the tables around and deal with him, let him knw he is the one at fault and abuse him emotionally as well..2 can play that game sister!!! U are really weak ibeg! Pls grow up! I feel for you.

  5. Awiase

    January 27, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    Those relationships are not worth staying in for a second.Yet can we decide for an adult?.I always say people stay in bad marriages or relationships for several reasons.Of course there is no perfect marriage or relationship anywhere.Some stay because of low self esteem,family advising against divorce,their Christian beliefs or some believing the notion or fallacy that all men are the same etc.All one can do is to advice them and continually pray for them cos they are adults who have to make the decisions themselves.And yes it’s very heartbreaking to see.And it only gets worse when you find yourself in such a situation and you’re Africa living in Africa.Your fellow women instead of consoling you would only gossip the more about your fertility struggles.As if you’re the only one to make the baby.I can’t exhaust the stories I have of those I personally know in the same boat.So sad

  6. bae

    January 27, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    To stay or go. TTC or not never stay in an abusive relationship(mental or physical) . a woman trying to conceive is already sensitive as it is then you add abusive and a cheating partner, it is a NO NO. That’s double wahala and a death sentence for the woman.

  7. Bold Baby Pearl

    January 27, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    Our mothers stayed.
    That rationale is there.
    They’ll even tell you it’s not up to what your / his father has done or is still doing.

    ‘The yoke’ is slowly being broken tho’.

  8. Sultana

    January 27, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    Insightful article as usual Nicole! But heartbreaking too. However I think TTC only magnifies that which was already present.

    A broken marriage will always be broken and bringing children into the mix would just mean more broken hearts. In fact TTC which precedes a divorce is sometimes a blessing in disguise. Physical abuse especially should not be tolerated because a dead woman cannot bear or take care of children.

  9. Kashmir

    January 27, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    I saw TTC and was like, li le leyi? However, it did not take long to decode. TTC is hard, in fact, new couples face the pressure just within 2 months of marriage which makes you wonder, what’s the rush for? If the pressure starts <1 year, wetin you wan come enjoy for marriage?

    I am getting increasingly worried by (wo)men's justifications of infidelity. The worst side to TTC is to have a non-supportive spouse; to me, that's childish.

    The ultimate approach is to keep talking about this issues till society is sensitive enough to respect speeches and comments on people's lives.

  10. Anon

    January 27, 2017 at 7:28 pm

    AND STill we see inability to give birth as a woman’s problem, even the writer. Which is why a commenter here, although her husband has the problem, is the one being cheated on. And she’s still there. Because in Nigeria it’s better to be married than happy or alive. Tomorrow when we speak about gender equality people act like we are imagining these things

  11. mimzzzzzz

    January 27, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    My MIL visited after I had my first child n we got talking, our conversation drifted to a relation of theirs who had been married for more than 15yrs without any child. I didn’t know the said couple had been married for that length of time, the next thing she said shocked me. She said the wife was the one with the problem and that she must be a very wicked woman for not allowing he husband to go out and have any kids of his own. I was shell shocked n couldn’t believe my ears cos I just dawned on me that if I had any problems conceiving and wasted time bearing kids for her son after marriage I for hear am. It just shows that different people reason in different ways.

  12. Hadiza

    January 27, 2017 at 9:30 pm

    I’m sorry writer,but your friends are really sad n pathetic. One is trying so hard to conceive and the man is busy impregnating his side piece?? and her family n friends and his own too are advising her to accept it and keep praying?? Even God frowns on adultery. It’s disgusting to hear such stories. Is marriage all about kids?? Your friends are married to their worst enemy. Those men don’t love or honor them. Those men only see them as baby making factories. They should leave them. Those men are scum. I don’t understand how women put up with so much nonsense all in the name of marriage. it’s sickening.

    • kwinny

      February 1, 2017 at 3:01 pm

      “is marriage all about kids?” I asked too. one man will say his friends are mocking him because he’s without child and that he’s not a “real man” because he doesn’t have a child. Some people are devils aka complete witch according to Chrissy Teigen. No compassion at all, then worse, they’ll add infidelity.

  13. Ade

    January 27, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    We’ve always been told children are God’s blessing to a marriage. No one has it all.
    I choose to give thanks, no matter the situation.

  14. Lily Rose

    January 31, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    Hadiza you are right. Many Nigerian men marry for the sake of birthing kids! This is fact! So they just pick the ‘wife material’ type & marry. When conception proves difficult, what do you expect? Of course he would find an option outside. Or leave. Or both.
    One so called suitor of mine told me to my face that as soon as we got married, I should get pregnant. I asked, “are you marrying me just to have kids?” The egotistical cow went, “before nko?” And even after that, some friends were asking me to consider. You see the problem with many women? They have a long distant relationship with intelligence.

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