I hope I don’t get sued from Oprah for this one but I really like her what I know for sure series and thought I might start my own about things I learned while dealing with infertility. The first thing I want to discuss is a point that will probably warrant a lot of, “no duhs!” but it’s absolutely vital to recognize while you’re going through infertility and a topic I get a lot of questions on. And that one thing I know for sure is that men and women deal with infertility differently. Here’s what I experienced.
When I first started to recognize that there might be a problem and I brought it up with my husband, he automatically went into a fix-it mode. We tried all those at home solutions or all the things that they tell you you’re doing wrong and you feel sheepish learning about them as if it was just your ignorance that was causing the issue. When those didn’t pan out, we headed to the doctor and while I was in a denial/scared/sad mode my husband still took on the role of Mr. Fixer/everything will be fine. And then our test results came back and the issue was confirmed and my husband’s attitude changed from optimism to anger. He will fully admit this to anyone. He realized that he couldn’t be the one to fix it and that made him angry. Angry at our bodies for letting us down, angry that we might not be able to have biological children, angry that this was happening at all. And then I found myself having to be the one taking on the optimistic role.
It was hard at first to understand why his emotions were in the form of anger since all I generally felt was sadness and depression. But then I had that no duh moment of realizing, “Oh yeah, just because we’re spouses going through the same difficult period doesn’t mean we’re going to have the same reactions. He’s a man, I’m a woman.”
I prayed for the strength and understanding that I knew I would need to help him because I was still feeling emotionally taxed and knew I couldn’t do it alone. While I was given a little boost, it was still extremely hard to see my husband so upset and I wanted to be able to fix it. I had learned of the benefits of talking to someone removed from the situation about it all and urged him to do the same. He resisted for a while. Often women bond over talking and men bond over working/doing so I’m not sure he felt comfortable talking with somebody else about it. He eventually started talking to a male friend who is an excellent listener and it proved to be helpful. So much so that when I ask him advice for the husbands of women who are emailing me, he tells me to urge them to talk to someone about it.
While I know nobody’s experience is exactly like ours, I hope that sharing a little more about it was helpful. I would love to hear what your husband found was helpful to help him cope.