Eight years ago my husband of fifteen years and I jointly decided that we would not become parents. Abandoning IVF, we passed the panel for adoption and were unable to work out how on earth to choose a child. We should have been joyous and we were briefly. But unable to decide the weeks and months slipped by. My husband said I should choose because it’s my idea. This is not like a trip to the cats home, I tell him.
By then we had stopped having sex. My husband was unable to get the images when we first went through IVF from his mind. He had diligently sat with me through every procedure but when I miscarried, it was the start of the decline of what little sex life we had. And if I’m honest, we didn’t do much to repair it because I felt hopeless. I was overweight and covered in spots from the steroids. I was red eyed from tears and we had shared too much to feel like there was any mystery left. We tried daily kisses and hugs and they were enough. Cavorting in my undies trying to be sexy was humiliating when I was rejected and my husband refused to seek help.
Then I met the man who became my lover. I met him at work, he was briefly my manager and I moved departments such was the need I felt. I wanted him to notice me. He isn't conventionally handsome but he feels capable and a permanent bachelor. Calling him a lover makes us both seem less sordid than it is. It isn’t, it’s skulking around and hiding in his flat and wishing I could hold his hand in public. It’s watching him across the staff canteen and knowing that if I sat with him, I wouldn’t trust myself not to say something intimate or revealing that would give us away.
I can pack a bag under my husband’s nose and say I’m going to a work conference. I call him from my mobile three miles away from the kitchen standing my my lover's kettle, making tea, to say I’m having a nice time. It reflects on the lack of interest my husband has in me and I in him.
I want him to find out so that someone can decide my future for me. Since I first stuck a needle in me, since I first called the adoption agency, I don’t feel I have had a choice, because I can’t choose a child alone.
Yet I can chose to be with my lover. I can decide when I want sex and that I do want sex, that I am as glorious as he says. I can go into a shop and buy underwear I’d never usually buy, speak words I’d never say to my husband and be the free woman I longed for.
Infertility screws up your sex life - literally. I do not think that I am a great example for Walk In Our Shoes because I feel I should tell you that I will repair my marriage. I don’t think I will until someone does something. I am older than my lover and he may go off me, my husband may find out or I may tire of them both or come to my senses.
So this is my photo, of my lover and my feet. The only one I can take.