As I prepare myself to travel to be with my parents, I remember something I wanted to discuss with y’all. It’s something many others have blogged about, most notably Stumbling Gracefully. But I was able to observe at close range a good case study.
We all know that once you have children, couples report a decrease in happiness, while couples who don’t have kids are more happy. I would be curious to see a study done asking those who had gone through infertility on both sides how happy they are. But, I think in general it’s probably true that the relationship between partners suffers when children enter the picture.
When Darcy and I lived in London (in a grimy flat) we became friends with another couple. (The woman lived in the grimy flat below our own.) This couple, I’ll call them the “Fabs” because they are, now live in an incredible magazine-worthy penthouse filled with spiral staircases and other deathtraps for parents. You see, the Fabs have decided to be childfree by choice. They have never TTC, they have no desire to even try. They want to travel, live together, and be fabulous.
I stayed in their penthouse for two days and the main thing I noticed was how attentive and sensitive they were to each other’s needs. They were very careful to take each other’s gym and travel schedules and work commitments into account. They worried about each other: “Mr. Fab has an early morning, so he should go to bed early.” Or: “Let’s make sure to park nearby because I’m not sure Mrs. Fab has her umbrella with her.”
Uh, I can’t remember the last time I asked Darcy if he even OWNS an umbrella. OUR conversations are rushed, kinda harsh in tone, as if the load of responsibilities on both sides is too great to add being solicitous into the mix. Often I feel like we are two workers on a factory assembly line on different shifts, briefing each other on the crucial tasks that need to be completed before one of us steps out for a break. To be honest, I was quite envious of the Fabs’ relationship. Because Darcy and I used to have that kind of relationship. Before infertility, anyway.
Did you have a more connected, solicitous relationship with your partner before infertility and/or parenting? Or have you been able to maintain that? If so, HOW?!? I really want to know.