Existential Crises

11 Jul

All my life, nothing has ever seemed to come easy. I feel like everything I have accomplished has not been without tremendous amounts of blood, sweat, and tears. I am no stranger to struggle, defeat, and setbacks. But because of these things, I am also no stranger strength, determination, and the ability to overcome.

My life didn’t really get off to the best start. I was born to a teenage mom and dad. They divorced two years later and I have only seen my dad a handful of times since then. We grew up relatively poor-WIC, food stamps, section 8 housing, etc. We moved a lot; I went to 7 different elementary schools. In high school I struggled with an eating disorder. For the last 10 years I have struggled with various forms of intense anxiety and depression. I had to put college off for 3 years until I could find a way to pay for it myself. I’ve been unemployed for 2 of the previous 4 years.

But at my core I am a fighter. I know what I want and I go after it crushing any opposition. I had to learn to do that at any early age and it has served me very well in light of everything that has been thrown my way. I have forgiven my father, acknowledged that I don’t want a relationship with him, and sought a man who is the exact opposite of him. Moving so much made me want to find a place to settle down, a place to call home and that is what I currently have. I overcame my eating disorder all by myself starting when I accepted my own worthiness. I am no longer anxious or depressed. I have my college degree (and the student loans to prove it). I have a job that I love. I feel like I have finally made it. To where, you ask? To a place of comfort, happiness, and contentment. To a place that I only once ever dreamed of.

Through all of this, I have had two constants. The first half of my life it was my mother. She is the strongest woman that I know and where I draw my own strength from. Even though we had very little in the way of resources, she made sure that we never went without. When she had my youngest brother she gave up her job as a graphic designer in order to clean houses for a living. This allowed her to make about the same amount of money and to take the baby to work with her, thus not having to pay for daycare. She was constantly searching for the next best thing for our family—hence the many moves. She even took on a second job in order to move us into a neighborhood that allowed us to go to one of the best public high schools in the country.

In the latter half of my life, my constant has been my husband. We met when I was a sophomore in high school, although we didn’t start dating until a few years later. I credit him entirely for showing me that I am worthy of his love—of anyone’s love. He was steadfast and determined in his pursuit of me and after many, many trials and errors, we finally got this thing right. He has been by my side though college, new jobs, job losses, anxiety, depression, and now, infertility. To say he is my best friend would be understatement. He is so much more than that—my lifeline, my happiness, my heart.

I realize that everything is not peachy keen. I am still very much struggling with my infertility. But because of my past I am equipped to struggle with such things. I know in my heart that, just like everything else, this will take blood, sweat, and tears, but in the end I will be right where I have always wanted to be.

I’ve spent the majority of my life hitting triples, only to be caught stealing home. Fulfillment always seems to elude me despite being so close that I could reach out and touch it of only my arms were a little longer. In an effort to stick with the baseball metaphor, I will tell you that life has just thrown me a new curveball. A giant, hairy, slimy, curveball that is full of shit.

A curveball that brings up remembered feelings of inadequacy–feelings that I could just never be enough for anyone.

My husband is facing an existential crisis of epic proportions. One that I know will change my life forever. I stand to lose everything I have worked so hard for—comfort, contentment, security, happiness, hope, children. I feel the fighter in me trying to rise to the challenge, but the issue this time is that I am now part of a team. I can’t just say “every man for himself” and do what I know I need to do in order to take my life to the next level. I really thought I had it bad before, but this feels like something impossible to overcome—something that will change me at the core of my being. I am nothing without my dreams and my determination to make them come true, but I stand to lose both.

I can’t help but wonder if I am up for this again? Have I exhausted all my hail mary’s?

Had I gotten pregnant sooner, then maybe I would already be enough?




21 Responses to “Existential Crises”

  1. amy July 13, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

    Jenn…as usual, I’m a little late on this post. For whatever you’re going through, I am so so sorry. You sound so much in pain. I do know you to be a fighter and you have overcome a lot. Adding the detrimental challenge of IF is such a hard blow to a marriage, even strong ones. I don’t know what is going on, but as always, I will keep you lifted up in my prayers DAILY! You are one amazing chick and I love you for that. Keep in mind that this IS your safe place and we are always here 🙂


  2. Emily @ablanket2keep July 13, 2012 at 1:09 am #

    I am so proud of how far you have come and you will continue to go even farther. Praying your little team can keep working together and get through this like you have gotten through so much in the past. Hugz!

  3. futuresoccermom July 12, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

    I just wanted to let you know I am thinking of you and your husband… You have quite the support system here and I am glad you were able to share with us.

  4. jell jell @ I'll Sleep When They're Grown July 12, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

    Thinking about you, dear!

  5. TheStorkWhisperer July 12, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    I am wishing the best for you and your husband right now. I’m sorry to hear that you are going through difficulties. Thank you for sharing your story with all of us.

  6. EmHart July 12, 2012 at 8:24 am #

    All the ladies above have covered everything I would say to.you, but I wanted you to know I read your story and I am so very sorry you are having such a hard time.

  7. Roxxroxx July 12, 2012 at 5:32 am #

    Hey, Jenn, I don’t feel I have anything to add that is more eloquent than what all the others have written here. I admire your strength – you have certainly has more than your fair share of heartache. I am sorry that on top of all the agony of infertility you have another huge challenge to overcome. But you will be able to, one way or another. You have to draw on that strength. It’s difficult to know exactly what your husband is going through, but keep talking and don’t implicate yourself and your obvious worth in his crisis.
    Loads of hugs and wishes of good fortune.
    🙂 xoxox

  8. dopingforbaby July 12, 2012 at 1:13 am #

    This is such a profound post. Truly one of the most personal and amazing I have ever read. Not to brush aside the magnitude of your situation, but you need to get this writing out there. Send this to BlogHer, submit your writing to other blogs. It’s really beautiful. I love the line about hitting triples and stealing home. Whoa. I hope that you and your husband are not dealing with this situation alone. Seek outside help (not family). Seek out a professional. Remind yourself of your strength. Do not put any of this on yourself. Your husband made a decision and now he has to work through the consequences. Sending you a huge hug. And please keep writing. We are all here to listen.

    • Jenn July 12, 2012 at 10:09 am #

      Wow, thank you! That might just be one of the sweetest things anyone has ever said to me! We are definitely working through this slowly, but surely. Hopefully I will have an equally profound post to follow it up with. Thank you, as always, for listening. xo

  9. Jenn July 11, 2012 at 10:10 pm #

    I just want you ladies to know that I have read every word you have written (over and over again) and taken it to heart. I know that this is not my fault and my husband also keeps reassuring me that is the case. I want so much to share this with each of you, but my husband has asked me not to. Once we get to a place where we can make heads or tails of what is going on then I know I will open up here. This is my safe place, after all.

    I also want you to know how much your love and support means to me. I continue to be amazed at the outpouring of understanding and kindness that I get from you. From infertility to marriage problems, you ladies make me feel so much less alone. Sometimes I tell you more than I tell my “real life” friends because I know this is a place of no judgment. Starting this blog and getting to know each and every one of you has been nothing short of amazing.

    Please know that I am also here for you if you everything need anything. This community is so wonderful and I just don’t know what I would do without it.

    So, THANK YOU!

    If there is one thing my husband and I are good at it’s beating a dead horse. We can talk for hours and hours about the same thing, so you better believe that we are hashing this out. No matter the outcome I will know that I gave this my all. I love him unconditionally….that means that I am here and if he needs me to be his strength right now, then that is what I will be.


  10. @ErinMarshall71 July 11, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

    There’s not really anything I can say to comfort you at a time like this. I know how difficult it is to face marital issues; I mean in the vague sense that I know how difficult it was for me, yet I also know that no two people’s experiences are the same.
    I read a pretty neat article last week about a man who wanted to split up and how his wife handled it. Obviously, I have no idea of all the ins and outs of your situation; but I’ll pass on the link anyways.
    I’ll also pass on 2 additional links to posts about marriage ending, one I wrote, one was written by an online friend of mine.
    I’ll used your contact info, rather than spam up your comment feed.

  11. drunnermom July 11, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

    I am glad that you have the courage to share all that you did and that you feel you have a place where you can reach out for support. After reading the other comments, there is no way I could do justice to these obviously wise and wonderful women, so all that I will add is to keep in touch with your own emotions and be kind to yourself in the process of being there for your husband. I will be keeping you both in my prayers.

  12. jo July 11, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    i find (and it may not work for you) that the best way to handle an existential crisis as part of a “team” is to do the opposite of what i want to do. my husband had a crisis like this (ok he had two) and both times i wanted to throw a real-life tantrum: cry, stomp my feet, yell until he understood my side, pound my fists on the floor and scream that things would go my way. but instead i calmly said “whatever makes you happy i will stand beside you” and it killllled me to say that but at the end of the day i want to be his partner and not have him rolling his eyes 20 years from now telling a divorce counselor that he harbors some deep seeded resentment for what i didn’t support him in. and both times it worked for me. one time he went with the change. one time he decided not to. but i see the joy in his eyes when he tells people what he almost did and that i would have let him *insert awesome wife award here* so that is my advice. just grin and bear it and tell him you will stand by him no matter what his decision is.

    obviously this advice is assuming he’s looking at a career change or religion change or getting a pet or moving or something like that NOT something weird like wanting a threesome or having an open relationship because then i would say tantrum like nobodies business!! 😉

  13. storkchaser July 11, 2012 at 6:17 pm #

    Oh sweetie, I’m so very sorry you’re facing a really tough time ahead. You know you’re an incredibly strong and positive person so I don’t need to tell you that. But I will tell you that I understand how much it sucks sometimes. Sometimes you don’t want to be strong anymore and it’s impossible to welcome any more life challenges. It’s not fair and after everything you’ve not only overcome, but CONQUERED, you should be given a darn break! And while this difficult time is made harder because of someone else, it really feels unfair. But you will make it through this, your marriage will be even stronger, and you WILL be blessed for not ever giving up when many would. I’m here if you need anything. Even if you want to email a big ole dump to me. xoxo

  14. Theresa July 11, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

    I have to say that in this whole story, two things stick out to me. One: you are incredibly strong, and Two: your last sentence. If I had already been pregnant, maybe I would have been enough? Because it sounds like maybe you are partly blaming yourself for this crisis he is going through, wondering if being pregnant might have changed that. Those ‘what if’ questions are killers, both because you can’t answer them and because they drive you absoluately insane.
    You are part of a team now, but at the same time you have to take care of yourself. I hope that you can come through this together, stand together and move forward together. I’m thinking of the both of you.

  15. searching for middle ground July 11, 2012 at 3:48 pm #

    Not sure what’s going on, but I’m thinking about you and praying that your strength and drive will get you past this obstacle like you’ve always done! Let me know if you want to vent!

  16. robin July 11, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

    I don’t know what you’re going through but I am so sorry it sounds like it is threatening your core and your foundations of support. I hope you and your husband make it through whatever is coming, stronger and better than before. *HUGS*

  17. Shelley July 11, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your story, Jenn. You’ve already overcome so much in your life and you’re a much stronger person for it. I admire that! I don’t know what your husband’s crisis is but it sounds like you two have a strong foundation, much like my husband and I – and it takes a lot to break that. I’m sending you lots of love and good thoughts! I hope you can come through this together without losing all you’ve worked so very hard to obtain. You deserve nothing less!

  18. allmyprettyones July 11, 2012 at 3:11 pm #

    I always felt that I was the type of person who could “make” things happen, if I truly wanted them, no matter what the hurtle. And I have made my dreams come true by brute force… my dreams of traveling, buying my family property on a lake, overcoming childhood abuse and it’s aftermath in my relationships to become an emotionally stable and healthy person, it was all me. But this TTC thing, it’s another story. I can’t “make” it happen. I can arrange the situation to give it the best chance, but in the end, it is a roll of the dice. And I hate that. So I feel ya…

  19. Belle July 11, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

    Oh Jenn, I’m sorry you and hubby are going through this. I had similar feelings when Mr. Husband was having a failing job search. I have always been self sufficient and able to soldier through tough times and come out on top. It is a lot harder to do this, though, when there is another person to consider. You are a strong woman and I know you will find a way to find balance between taking care of yourself, your husband and your future. xoxo

  20. K.Smitty July 11, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

    Wow. Reading your story in full nearly brought tears to my eyes. I am sorry to hear your husband is going through a rough time, but now it’s your time to be strong for him. And you are so strong, Jenn! Personally, I solved my own existential crisis by finding my faith. I know it may not be for everybody, but doing some soul searching was the only thing that got me grounded again. Maybe a baby would have helped or solved this problem, but maybe not. And you can’t blame yourself. I know it’s not entirely your job to figure out what he needs, but you can be the one who suggests things to him from a place of love. Beyond that, all you can do is support him and love him just as he has done for you. I know you know that already though! (LOL). As always, you will be in my prayers! Xo

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