Infertility On Father’s Day: The Facts For Men
Men so often are left out of the infertility equation. We typically associate infertility as being a female challenge. Why? Because anyone who hasn’t had first-hand experience with fertility struggles of any sort is unaware of what an important part men play in the intricate process of trying to conceive, not just physically but emotionally as well. Putting aside the vast array of male infertility challenges that exist and the helplessness that a man feels when he is diagnosed with one of these conditions know this: No matter how or why men are faced with this painful life situation, they too, hurt, struggle and yearn for a child and so often do not have a support system of their own in place to get them through this painful experience. This Father’s Day, I would like to acknowledge all the men who are suffering in silence and encourage them to find their own personal path to smoothly and soundly moving through this sensitive time.
When a couple is faced with an infertility struggle of any kind, the woman almost always must undergo one or more procedures; specifically when using any form of reproductive technology like in vitro or insemination. It is within her that an embryo would find a home and so by default she plays a significant role in the process. Naturally, men must take on the part of “supporter” in order to alleviate any pain, discomfort or pressure that their partner is experiencing. It is my belief that when anyone takes on any role in which they are supporting another person in such a big way, they too need to find a steady and stable source of their own to keep them uplifted, grounded and in a healthy state of mind. Understand that nobody can solicit support on your behalf, as the magnitude of your hardship may not be as visibly observed by others.
Have Your Own Back
Having your own back is at the cornerstone of getting through this as effortlessly as is possible. A support system can come in so many different forms for men. Sometimes it’s a friend who has been through similar struggles who you feel comfortable and connected with. Other times it feels more natural to speak to a professional such as a therapist or coach where you know with certainty that there is full confidentiality. Support groups for men are definitely on the rise and a great outlet to share details about your situation in an environment where others can better understand where you’re coming from.
Expecting the kind of attention and acknowledgement you need right now from your spouse can set you up for disappointment. She is most likely be wrapped up in her own physical and mental battles that are par for the course of infertility. Know that she still cares for you deeply but is trying in her own way to stay afloat and navigate the ever-present ups and downs of her pain. Finding an alternative connection point with her at this time can be a lifeline for your relationship and for finding a resolution together. Engage in activities that make you laugh and distract you from the day today feelings you are both experiencing. Realign with all of the reasons that you came together and keep your focus in that space. Know that your commitment to one another in this process is paramount.
More than anything else, please do not allow infertility to define who you are. Stay true to yourself and know that although it doesn’t seem like it, this is all temporary. Hold on to all your passions, your strengths and your dreams because those are the factors that are authentic to you. If you are going to take anything away from this experience, find a way to transform your pain to some sense of greater purpose and allow that to fuel you forward in the next phase of your life, whatever form that may take.
Written for The Huffington Post. See the original article here.