I’m not wearing my wedding ring and it feels very strange.
The truth is I haven’t worn it in weeks, but it’s only now, looking at Hubs’ bare hands that I feel odd. Somehow when he removed his, it got me looking for mine. Like I have to visually confirm its absence.
Sometimes I still feel its imprint and my thumb darts across my palm searching for the thin bands on my fingers. It’s like having a ghost appendage.
I remember how important that stupid ring was.
When I was going through fertility treatments for Baby Girl, Hubs and I weren’t married. We weren’t engaged. We just lived together in our small nest of a condo.
At the clinic I’d sit in the waiting room with countless other women on the same cycle, and I’d hide my hands, wary of judgment. For some reason their diamonds were the first things I noticed. They glinted with ‘the right way’ of doing things.
My finger felt naked.
I finally got up the courage to talk to Hubs about it.
“So..um.. now that we’re doing some pretty hardcore trying… have you thought about.. you know.. maybe getting married?” My heart was slamming in my ears. This was not how I pictured this conversation. Not remotely.
“Well, you know Honey, I want to, but why don’t we wait until the business is doing a little better.. our finances will be stronger.”
Well that made sense. The voice in my head, however, did not.
“I feel stupid in the clinic. I feel like I’m the only one who’s not wearing a ring and everyone’s looking at me and judging me because I’m trying to have a kid and I’m not married.” I blurted it out. Hubs looked amused.
“Do you think they might stone you or something?”
We burst into laughter.
Months later, I was pregnant, and the ring crept back into the picture. It was as if a panic seized me. A Victorian panic.
“Oh dear sweet lord. I’m carrying an illegitimate child!” My brain had officially turned into an Edith Wharton novel. And then, she will be destitute, and her relations will shun her, and she will be a sad, wilted, virago and at the mercy of a cruel society.. for shaaaaaaame!
I pounced on Hubs one morning.
“I can’t do it any more. I need a ring. I really need one. I’m freaking out.”
“I can see that.”
“Well can we go looking for rings? I mean even if we aren’t getting married?”
“We’re getting married. Just not now.”
“Ok. Whatever. I need a ring. I can’t handle feeling like Spike from Degrassi anymore.” My hormonal wail was in full crescendo. Why did he not understand how important the ring was to me? Gollum, Gollum.
You know the rest. Maybe not the whole story, but a variation. Fill in the blanks, I got my ring.
And now I wonder, what would have happened if I hadn’t asked? If I hadn’t freaked out? If I hadn’t pressed so hard? Maybe we never would have been married. Maybe he never would have asked. Maybe that would have been a better path. Maybe he would have been happier. Maybe I would have been. Maybe life wouldn’t be as complicated right now.
Why was it so important to me in the first place? Why the urgency?.. Why the rush?
Fear of judgment? Fear of being alone? Needing to give my parents what I thought they wanted? Because they didn’t need me to get married. No one did. No one ever judged. And certainly no one ever treated me differently when my left hand was occupied with it’s own little glinting treasure.
I can’t help but cry a little when I think that my wedding ring may actually be what led to the deal breakers in our marriage.
I keep my rings in my bedside table, in an old glasses-case. I sometimes look at the closed drawer and wonder.
I wonder if some night I’ll have a couple glasses of wine and get it into my head to parade through the house in my old prom dresses. I wonder if I’ll open the drawer and slip those rings back on; sink to the floor in a sad mound of crinolines and enjoy a fantasy just for a moment.
Homecoming was never so bittersweet.
Today is my wedding anniversary. Hubs and I have been together for 6 years, married for 3.
Our marriage, however, has taken a hit.
We’ve been having serious problems for over a year.
We’ve been in couples’ therapy for two months.
It’s sad around our house.
We look at each other hoping for breakthroughs, always a little disappointed with each other for not understanding. For not quite ‘getting it.’
We try to rip the wall down but it gets higher and higher.
We swallow the hurt for our lovely child, and then explode when we have time to ourselves. Or worse, there’s just silence. Smiles. Nods. Passive kindness. Apologetic jokes about who’s going to get the car or the toaster.
How did we get here?
My posts here about fertility have trickled to a stop.
I tried to stay on topic even though we weren't ‘trying’ anymore, but after each mechanical article was written I’d delete the file. It felt hollow and strange to recite facts that were now simply trivia to me instead of a way of life.
I wanted to reach out about the issues Hubs and I were having—I wanted to write about them and somehow clear the air around it all, but I couldn’t. I wasn’t ready to admit that something was wrong. That my marriage was failing. He wasn’t willing to admit that things had progressed as far as they had. Then scary, foreign words started to crop up in our conversations and in therapy.
We’ve both cried in each other’s arms trying desperately to get back to the place of understanding where we were when we first fell in love. But we can’t. I can’t.
Sometimes you have to accept that you’re not the one driving the car.
Sometimes you have to accept that you’re the one driving off course.
When I am not lost in an emotional mist of sorts, my ever-analytic brain starts intellectualizing the scenario. I’ve never been that great at sitting with my feelings. Conducting a forensic investigation seems like the productive things to do.
Was it the miscarriages? Was it the stress of parenthood? Renovations? Being entrepreneurs? Illness and loss in the family? Lack of intimacy? All of the above? Is there nothing else I can do?... Nothing?
I wait for something to resonate; some defining reason; some gentle shove that will have me wake up from the problems in our life together.
Up until a few months ago, I was hell-bent on getting back to ‘normal.’ I booked weekends away for us to connect. Date nights. Doubled up on therapy. Read Harville Hendrix like it was the gospel. I was trying to recreate the person I was before I went through some pretty life-changing events. I thought that’s what I was supposed to do.
Then, as part of my therapy at Women's College Hospital’s Reproductive Life Stages Program, something finally clicked.
I’ve been going to this program as part of my recovery from the trauma of the multiple miscarriages and to wrap my head around my current fertility issues. Last session, my doctor said:
“I appreciate your intentions...but you can’t get back to normal. ‘Normal’ is what got you to where you are now. You have to grow now, and make changes…learn how to do things differently…by yourself, and with your partner…even if you aren’t together.”
So here I am.
As far out of my comfort zone as life will let me get.
I have no idea what’s about to happen. Or why.
Trying Times seems to mean something very different now, but I’m ok with that.
A special note to my Hubs,
I am so proud of the six years we have had, the three years of marriage, and the limitless future I know we’ll have as best friends.
Even though the thought of separate lives is a scary one, it doesn’t mean that our joy together is any less.
It doesn’t mean that we will never smile together, laugh together, or cry together again.
It doesn’t mean that we will love each other less—just differently.
Some things will always be the same:
Whatever the road holds for us,
We’ll hold our baby girl close.
Whatever the rest of the world makes of us,
We’ll make her dreams come true.
If I had to go through this at all,
I’m lucky to be going through this with you.