Two years ago today it was the end of my ‘two week wait’ this term is mostly commonly used among those going through fertility treatments , it was the day I was found out that my second round of IVF had worked. I’ve spoken about this in previous blog posts about how I found out. So with it being Father’s Day I just wanted to touch on how we dealt with infertility before we finally got our Big Fat Positive.
I say ‘we’ this time round because as I continue to write about my journey and also read the stories of others; there is a forgotten voice : MEN...
There are couples facing infertility due to male factor infertility, but besides this during my second round I came to the realisation that my husband was also ‘going through the motions’ with me.
Years upon years it wasn’t just about the prospect of me carrying a baby , but more so if I would ever be able to give my husband a biological child of his own.
Before I go any further , I need to clarify that I have no issues with surrogacy, or adoption. However the focus of giving my husband a biological child was more due to the fact that I was always told that there shouldn’t be any reason as to why I cannot conceive naturally and therefore I longed for him to go through the pregnancy journey with me. I wanted to see the twinkle and sparkle in his eyes as he held his first child for the very first time.
In our own personal situation, regardless of the fact that it was made crystal clear that the issues we were facing stemmed from my reproductive ‘System’; I would notice that the pain of the unknown was still his pain. Subsequently deep down inside even where we’d both known that he was all clear , somehow the guilt would creep up inside of me and consequently I know he would start to feel the same way.
One of the biblical stories that always resonated was Hannah’s infertility story . If you are not familiar you will find this interesting story in the bible,
, Hannah was so depressed she did not eat. I got to the point where I was so overwhelmed with grief from my losses but also fertility failures. I can’t imagine how hard that would have been for my husband , but just like Elkanah (Hannah’s husband) said ‘Am I not better to you than ten sons’?
Not in so many words of course, I mean I want children but not that many! LOL , but yes in my husband’s own words , he said,
‘ Babe, I married you because I LOVE YOU, even if that means children or no children'.
If you’ve read the traditional vows in your marriage ceremony you don’t realise how real they are until life events slap you so hard in the face. In this instance he had reminded me that ‘for better for worse’, ‘In sickness and in health; he would continue and try even harder to love me more and so deeply because that’s all that mattered.
I had a different level of respect for my husband, and because of that I also dealt with him much differently during the time we waited. The best advice I can give from my personal experience is this:
Remember: If in your own personal situation you are the female going through all the treatments , and the subsequent side effects. Just remember there are also key points in the journey (no matter how small) that are also a big deal for your spouse/partner (I think you catch my drift). Don’t forget to ask every now and then how they are getting on.
Take time to ask them how they feel. We are still quite far away from having a breakthrough of men who can open up about how they dealt with infertility. They need someone to talk to - the best person in the first instance is YOU, as the signifiant other in the situation.
Finally and most importantly, although I haven’t touched on it because this experience doesn’t apply to my personal experience; remember there is such a thing as male factor infertility. Another taboo area that is rarely spoken about. If it happens to be your husband who has fertility challenges please try your utmost best to find out how you can best support them.
I believe some of these points which apply to my personal situation shaped and strengthened how my husband and I dealt with infertility. Once we finally became pregnant and had our baby , just seeing the love he has for our son is indescribable , and even more-so makes me reflect on how well and how gracious he dealt with every single challenge during our journey.
I’m guilty of this: so I kindly and respectfully urge and remind you not to forget about the men. Infertility due to it’s stigma and negative connotations towards men definitely reinforces it to become a silent battle amongst them, but remember as the closet person to him, you’re the best person to start and encourage their voice to be heard.