I am a man. I am not a tough guy kick another guys ass man but I can handle myself if need be. I am emotional and in touch with myself but not in a cry when I see a butterfly land on a lambs nose on a spring day kind of way. I spent nearly ten years as a police officer and that’s a rough and tumble job. I can command attention in certain situations when need be. I am simply qualifying myself as an everyman. I am not special but I am not to be looked over either. When I found I was in part responsible for the infertility issues my wife and I had nearly ten years ago I never took the time to check myself. I “MANNED UP” and sucked that girly emotion in and tended to my woman dammit!!! I had no time to look at myself. I could not be bothered with me and my problems.
A man by most definitions is a hunter. He is the one that takes care of his family with his hands and his back. He speaks strongly and carries respect with him sometimes just because of his sex. This is partially true. I am stretching things out to show a point. He does not have to be these things. What is the point in defending your home if you never take the time to take care of yourself as a part of your family duties?
I protected my wife when we were working through medically assisted conception. I felt the need to put her needs before mine. I still think for the most part that is the right thing to do. In a relationship you need to be able to put your needs aside from time to time but if you are going to stay strong over the long haul you need to recalibrate yourself every now and again. I have coached youth baseball for a several years. I coached long before I ever had a child of my own. After I my wife and I lost a pregnancy I still remember canceling practice late right at the field and when all the parents left crying in the cab of my car. I needed to let go so I did not hold in my emotions and potentially take it out on others. I had a friend at the time I would call and just talk to. He did not offer up much in advice but he listened. It turned out that he too had dealt with a pregnancy loss very late-term and hearing his story saddened me but brought me calm as well. It brought me calm because I realized his was far worse and I was not alone. I listened as he told me about the emotional process he went through. I was not happy because his was worse but I realized not only am I not alone but there are other men that have more loss and deeper loss. I thought to myself…..this could always be worse.
If you are a man going through infertility issues make yourself stronger by educating yourself through your doctors, good websites like Resolve, Shady Grove, and Attain Fertility. Find that one friend you can always go to and be honest with them. Tell them I need you to just listen. Most guys have that friend. You may be surprised to find out they have had problems or know someone who has. You are not alone as long as there is information readily available to you. You can be the hunter…of information. Do you remember those Schoolhouse Rock cartoons as a kid? Those cartoons were right when they said knowledge is power. Show your partner that not only is your back strong, and your hands hard but your brain is your biggest asset. A man is most comfortable when he feels he knows his stuff. If you have infertility issues own it, educate yourself, talk to someone, and no matter the final results of your journey the most important thing you have will stay in tact: your marriage.
Marriages can come to an end during infertility struggles because of lack of communication. It may be that a man has sucked it all in and becomes irritable and impossible to live with. You do not need to be that man because you are not alone. Are you a man that like tools? The tools are there you just have to swallow pride and get the tools. If you go to church talk to your pastor. many churches have family building groups and nothing is more positive than men of faith getting together shoulder to shoulder to face their problems. You cannot be broken when you build up a wall of support and information.
Love your wife. Rain love on her. No matter what emotion comes out of her you have never seen before step back and breathe before opening your mouth. You will never look better to your wife than when you listen, show you listen, and take the time to learn about your plight together. Never forget this is a we problem not a she problem. You are not alone brother and the infertility battle is an amazing opportunity to show the world what a real man is.
This is my third year writing a blog for this annual Resolve event. I will never forget where we were and how we felt. We are fortunate we had a child but I still see hurt in my wife eyes from time to time as she enters a new level of the infertility struggle. No matter where you are in your struggle you are not alone. You are important and you are loved. Below are links that will help you to better understand infertility. Please consider surfing the web for others personal stories.
- http://www.resolve.org/about-infertility/what-is-infertility/ (Basic understanding of the disease of infertility.)
- http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/about.html (About NIAW)
In 2011 I wrote The Longest Love Letter. The E Book is the true story of our infertility journey. It leaves little to the imagination but is the most honest thing I have ever written. It is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.