A few months ago, on Mother’s Day, I poured my heart out to tell the story of our journey to become parents. Looking back now, it is not surprisingly almost all my own feelings and experiences with only a nod to Daddy2twindividuals who travelled the same path.
This got me wondering about how much you men and partners have to take onto your shoulders. I’d never considered before that just like Mother’s Day, this day could be just as painful for the many fellas out there trying to conceive.
Generalising aside, our society is accustomed to seeing emotional women. There is still this notion that men have to be tough and while your significant other will obviously appreciate you being her rock, it’s ok to not be ok.
Try as you might, if your infertility story is a long one, your strength is going to waiver. Realising your dark days are not necessarily the same as hers can help you tag team the support. Some days she’ll cope better than you and vide versa.
Without a doubt, the biggest asset to your relationship will be communication. Once the medical professionals get involved, things get personal very quickly. Being able to talk openly about sex, ovulation and sperm counts is essential if you are to ride the waves.
You will have conversations that will reassure you and lift you up and others that will floor you when you realise you’re not quite on the same page. Decisions about how many rounds of IVF to try can quite literally be life changing.
When the cause of infertility is sperm related, I can imagine it’s hard not to feel responsible. I know Daddy2twindividuals definitely felt so at times. In his eyes, he couldn’t provide what was needed to make us happy. Even more importantly, he said that it all just felt very unfair. While I went through blood test, invasive examinations, injection after injection, all he had to do was provide his sample.
I never saw it like that. We are a team and always have been. Fifteen years ago we met at university. He lived in the halls below mine and within weeks of being together we were talking of marriage. In our case, we just knew. There was no way I was walking away from that….baby or no baby we just had to get through it together. I may have taken a hit this time but who knows what our future holds and whether he’ll need to step up to the plate on another occasion.
When the months roll on and on, it’s easy to have no other focus than getting pregnant. Sometimes you just need to do whatever it takes to stay positive. If this is distractions like mini breaks and days out then do it. If it means avoiding the latest newborn because you just can’t face it, then so be it. That may seem harsh but looking after your team is more important.
If you’re not celebrating Father’s Day today but wish you were then I’m thinking of you. Take it one appointment, one decision, one conversation at a time and remember you are not in this alone.