Tag Archives: parents

Infertility: The Healthy Fertile Man

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The world as we know it can be hard. There are worse bad hands to be dealt in life than infertility but when you want a child it is all you can think about. Infertility is one of those things that is almost a sick prank that life pulls on you. I am a man but I know that many women think of having their own children often. The truth is men do too. I can’t wait to take my kid to a baseball game. I can’t wait until the first time a guy shows up at my door to ask out my daughter and I give him the “stare down and talk”. I can’t wait to teach them to ride a bike, to…….wait I suffer from infertility? What if you do not suffer from infertility directly but your wife does? What if you are a studly baby making machine just waiting for your wife to produce the child you were blessed to be able to biologically produce but she cannot? What do you do?

You marry to be in love. You marry to have the support system to get you through all of life’s ups and downs. I have never once heard in marriage vows the part that says she will knock out a kid when directed to do so and if she can’t then she gets sent to the farm and the groom can move on. After all a bull has needs right? HORSEHIT!!! A man is defined by how he behaves when the chips are down. It is easy to be the “I pick things up and put them down guy” but it takes true testicular fortitude to love for better or worse. If a man wants to be a father and the love of his life may not be able to make this happen he needs to then show her why she married him. He needs to go out of his way to redirect their life. He needs to talk about options. He should make her know that this is simply a little bump and all they have to do is slow down and get over it together. If adoption is not the answer he should help to cultivate a life for them where they can hand in hand find other interests that they can share and make memories from. Maybe they do not have kids but they can travel the world or become more involved in church or other community activities. He should not let infertility be a stop sign in their life.

If his wife needs medical help for the possibility of childbirth then he needs to become a brick wall. When she is feeling beaten he should hold her up and never let her fall to her knees. He needs to remind her that she is not the first to walk this path and many have had children with persistence and medical help. He needs to arm himself with knowledge from the countless appointments she will go to. Let me clarify that last statement ….the countless appointments “THEY” will go to.The hardest thing I had to do when we went down our infertility road was from time to time be quiet and just let her let it out. I had a few times I had to walk away and let her have a moment but I always returned with a kiss and a gentle touch (for the record we were both contributors to our infertility). I can still remember my wife telling me I should find a woman who I deserved. A woman who could just knock that child out. Men can you imagine the emotion a woman must be carrying to make a statement like that? She loved me so much that she was willing to give up her own happiness so I could wander in another field for offspring. That was the hardest statement I ever heard. You need to know that it could be you boys. It could be you have no ammunition in the pea shooter. Would you want her to leave? Can you imagine how emasculated would feel if you could not produce what was needed to have a child? Would it be fair if she left?  Be the man she married. Be a man! Be the man!

Please share this post. Challenge men to be men if they are not. I love you all and I wish you the best on a journey that takes a lot out of you but is well worth it when you find what you are looking for.

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What If Your Partner Leaves You On The Field

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Broken Heart photo: heart glass and broken broken.jpg

 

Pat Benatar sang that “Love Is A Battlefield”. I wonder if she meant that love was a battlefield because of the wars you will have with the one you love or if she meant something a little deeper. I like to think that love is a battlefield because any person or problem that faces the one I love and I will be left gasping for its last breath on the battlefield where, as a unit, we will defeat them. Today I read a passage on the Resolve Facebook feed that infuriated me. Generally I do not spend much time reading feeds. My wife could post on her page that we won the lottery and she cannot wait for me to get home and I would not see it unless she tagged me to it or it happened to be on top of the news feed. Sometimes I do scroll through the feeds looking for something to make me smile or maybe a random update from someone on my friends list. Today I ran across a comment from someone I do not know whose story was posted directly by Resolve. The post (and I am greatly paraphrasing) told us about a woman who had tried to have a baby with her husband for a couple of years through medically assisted fertility treatments. She received the news that everyone in the infertile community clamors for “you’re pregnant”. This should be where the good stuff happens but evidently not. Her husband was leaving her for someone else. My brain explodes in anger (for the husband) at the same time my heart broke for the lady in the Resolve feed.

For those who have not read my blog before or may not know me please let me give you my résumé on this subject. I am married for the second time after a bad first marriage. I met my present wife well after my divorce. My present and last wife and I have had plenty to deal with as a couple. We have dealt with nothing that many other couples have not faced and nothing that is worse than the next couple. We have not dealt infidelity and by the grace of whatever we may believe in I doubt we ever will. I should say I know we never will but if the Bachelors Juan Pablo popped up I am in trouble. We have dealt with infertility, loss of baby, and finally successful IVF. I am also a man. I am not the tough guy macho man. I am sensitive but I have my limits too. I have been cheated on but have not cheated. I will not pretend that I will not take a second to notice a pretty girl in a room but I fully expect my wife to notice a man and we have discussed attractive people on both sides often. There is a line to noticing politely and being the creepy person in the corner. Now let my diatribe begin.

When you fall in love and marry it is not disposable. Marriage is sacred and not because of faith-based reasons. Marriage is sacred because it is a promise. You promise yourself, the one you love, your friends, and both of your families that come hell or high water we will get through life together. Nothing that man or life can throw at us will tear us apart. If you fold under pressure and leave your partner on loves battlefield you are not a man. You are not human and quite frankly if you fold because “you can’t take it” then every woman who sees you from the day you fold on should also get an e-mail that says, “While he may be handsome he will leave you when times are hard. Before taking a date with this man share this information with everyone in your inner circle so the one that you are most likely to listen to in life will tell you to not even give him the time of day”. I am a realist. I do think that sometimes what was shiny and brilliant sometimes loses its luster. Sometimes things do not work out but before you throw in the towel did you try every avenue to be sure it isn’t just a relationship bump?

Infertility will try even the strongest of couples. I still remember my wife telling me at one point that she would not blame me for seeking out another woman who could give me a child when we went through our journey. To this day I cannot believe that statement but I understand that her love for me and the disappointment she felt in herself because of our struggles to conceive made her feel that way. The truth is we both contributed to our infertility but moreover we both were in the struggle. I have read many women make the same statement my wife did to me but I don’t think I have ever heard a man say it. There is no greater love than the love where one will sacrifice anything for another but that does not mean you take the “get out of infertility jail pass”. When a couple tackles infertility it will shake them but a good man will see past the tears, the loss, the insecurities and find a way to bring relief to the woman they love. The relief is often no more than just saying I love you, kissing them, holding their hands and saying nothing. Let’s face it, when it comes to the bumps in the road infertility brings sometimes the best support is just making sure they know you are there. If a man falls out of love during the infertility process he is weak and is only looking to escape what he is not man enough to face up to.  He is selfish because he cannot keep a promise and went down a path with you he probably knew in his heart of hearts he could not handle and when he found a woman who would support his weakness he left. It takes a strong couple to handle marriage much less infertility and my heart breaks for this woman because I am sure she felt they were this strong couple but it seems the strong one was her. So what does she do? She is pregnant and her other half has left. I suggest that your other half is the child you carry. You may still have a tough road ahead. For infertile couples the battle is not won when you are told you are pregnant because too many couples still have problems carrying the infant to birth. My wife had nearly eight months of bed rest and could only get out of bed to use the bathroom at several points in the pregnancy. Notice I said “couples” have problem getting the infant to full term. It will be hard but do all you can to focus on yourself and your child. Even if he thinks he made a mistake later you do not need extra pressure added by him. If he bailed on this be would bail on something else. Build up a fortress of support from friends and family. Try to not get caught up in the hideousness of his act and know that you have a blessing to care for. I truly wish you the best.

Love is all that matters. When you get married is it not for love? The same can be said for couples trying to have a child. Having a child should be about love. I am not making light of the families that are fortunate enough to build families without infertility issues but the couples that have children after infertility battles have a different view. We do not love our children more than couples that had children without issue but there is an extra glow to it and in some cases a maybe a bit more appreciation. I truly and fully intend no insult with this. It’s not more appreciation for the child as much as it is more appreciation for conceiving successfully. Not every couple is the same and every word of my above diatribe is simply opinion but love must come first.

When you enter into medically assisted processes to have a child it is very important to be supportive. Even if everything seems okay it is not a bad idea from time to time to ask your partner how they are feeling. Let them know if you feel less of a man or woman. Let them know that it bothers you when friends and family ask:

“When are you going to have a child?”

“At least you get to have a ton of sex?”

“Mary is pregnant. Todd and Amy are pregnant. The dog’s pregnant”

“I want you to come to my baby shower.”

“Just relax it will happen.”

“It’s Gods will.”

“If you need help I’ll volunteer to take Teds place.”

The more you share then the less likely a buried emotion fester into an argument that could have been avoided. I do not for a moment say any of these things happened to the muse of this blog but they are just things that help.  I learned from my wife that women are the strongest of creatures and in many ways stronger than men but even the strongest of us have insecurities. I wish you all the best. I hope you all get what you are looking for in your journey and most of all love each other.

Love is a battlefield. The best way to win a battle is a solid yet flexible plan, communication and trust.

Talking To Myself Again

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If I were able to talk to my twenty-one year old self my younger self would tell my present self to get on my Back To The Future care and go to hell. My younger self would not believe the things my older self would experience. I would be either way to cool to have gone down future self’s road or I just would have not believe that “IT” could happen to me. Hey younger self could make any girl he wanted to get pregnant in less than two minutes of serious love-making. Yes older self is telling on younger self and quite frankly older self “two minutes” but at least it would be “serious”. When it comes to either of my self’s you take the old you take the bad and….what is the rest of that sitcoms jingle anyway. Facts of Life theme song aside, my younger self would be blown away at the things he would do down the road.

A twenty-one year of age strapping young man such as my younger self would have never and I mean ever gone with a girl to her gyno appointment. Younger self could certainly not have dealt with a man tinkering with his girls undercarriage right in from of him. Younger me would tell you that there may be a third person in the room but it would have been a second girl….he only wishes. Younger me would have never admitted to anything but the highest of sperm counts. He would tell you he had a count that was so high that it mystified doctors. My older self would be so very disappointed in the way his crows feet free self viewed a woman’s part in having a child. He would have told younger self to be sensitive to his significant others feelings when she said she felt less than a woman because of the difficulties they were having in conceiving. He would make sure younger self did not blow off her feelings with a “suck it up attitude”. Younger self may have left a woman who couldn’t “get the job done” in his eyes. Younger self could be a real asshole.

Older self is educated to infertility norms. Older self recognizes that it is not unusual to get angry at friends when they are pregnant and that he should not judge his wife for feeling such anger. He gets that she will be more sensitive. Older self gets that he will feel less a man because there is nothing he can do to make her feel better. Younger self would tell you that not only could he keep his girl feeling happy and secure but if he could not (and he would never admit he could not) he would simply trade her in for a less bitchy model. Younger self would not talk about his short comings in a blog if a such thing even existed then.

Infertility Awareness makes a man out of you. It makes you aware of others feelings. It forces you to listen and to come to grips with what you do not know. It teaches you patience and to understand the facts of your infertility but to fight them with every tool and practice medically assisted conception has to offer. Yes my younger self may have been a jerk but with the power of an amazing woman as a partner, a good fertility clinic, and love he became a better person and eventually a father. I hate to admit it but infertility taught me what should not be taken for granted.

What would you say to your younger self about your infertility?

Infertility: It’s Harder For the Man!!!

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WARNING

THIS BLOG ENTRY IS WRITTEN TONGUE AND CHEEK. SOME PORTIONS ARE WRITTEN IN A SARCASTIC MANNER THAT IS NOT MEANT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY BUT RATHER TO ILLUSTRATE SOME OF THE MUNDANE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE PERSONAL AND MEDICAL EXPERIENCES SOME COUPLES ENDURE WITH THE MEDICALLY ASSISTED CONCEPTION METHODS OFTEN PRACTICED TODAY. IF YOU FIND NO SENSE OF HUMOR AT ALL IN THE INFERTILITY JOURNEY YOU MAY WANT TO STOP READING HOWEVER IF YOU HAVE FOUND WAYS TO LAUGH FROM TIME TO TIME AT THIS HORRIBLE EXPERIENCE READ ON……..

It has been nearly nine years since my wife and I began a very emotional journey to have a child. I do not know what I expected of the experience before it began. I simply do not believe I gave it a thought. I think I pretty well went into it blindly thinking we would follow the doctors directions and in no time at all would be parents. I also thought my wife and I only had to cut off the birth control to have a baby naturally. I am not a caveman but when it came to the statistics, commonality, and knowledge of infertility my butt had not even seen the invention of the wheel yet. Our experience began at the Jones Institute in Norfolk, Virginia. We never had the success we yearned for there but they are a wonderful institution. I can remember our first meeting with a doctor there. I was sitting next to my wife as the doctor used word after word that meant nothing to my ears and brain. I am not a dumb man (I like to believe this anyway) but big medical words are pig Latin gibberish to me. My wife, however, is a pharmacist and could dumb down the conversation for me. By using monosyllabic words and shadow puppets she made cave-brain understand what was thought to be wrong and how we were planning to treat it. I decided early on that I wanted to be completely involved in every aspect of the journey so I attended my wife’s first gynecological visit.

When we arrived for the appointment I was confronted with the make egos worst nightmare, a good-looking, young, nice make doctor. Whether it was true or not this guy was “Mcdreamy” in my memory and his looks were only the beginning of my egos assault. The doctor was explaining what he could about the tests that my wife had taken and what he knew about her history and afterwards he began to conduct a physical evaluation. I had not really thought too much about the fact that I was going to be in the room while Mcdreamy was going to “explore” my wife. I got a little antsy as her feet went into the stirrups and he went in for an evaluation. What was I thinking by coming to this visit?!?!? As soon as I got all “guy goofy” I began to get into it….not in a dirty way. The doctor was explaining to me everything he was doing and suddenly I was fascinated with how crazy amazing the female reproductive system is. The idea that a woman’s body can take the seminal fluid a man produces and turn it into a child blows my mind. Of course I knew the capabilities of a female reproductive system before that day but I had never really been confronted with accepting how incredible the concept is. A woman can make a child in nine months and most men have “house projects” that are five years in the making. I had gone somewhere a man rarely goes, the lady doctor room but I was a better man for it.

Another place where men suffer great humiliation is when they are expected to admit they know how to do something that they would never talk about and that would be masturbation. My first experiences with this strange aspect of assisted conception was educational but before I tell that story I need to tell another one. When we started out at the Jones I was working with a guy who was unique to say the least. He looked like a heavy weight version of Herman Munster. He was a great guy but he was different. His son worked at the Jones and he would tell me stories about the room I was going to go into to produce my “sample”. The description was a complete horror show to this germaphobe. Now I turn the story back to my first medically self-loving experience. I get to the Jones and when I approach the medical personnel that is going to guide me through the procedure and it is the spitting image of my Herman Munster friend it is in fact his son. It is very strange being given directions on such a simple act. It did not go like this but it sort of felt like this.

“Mr. T when you go into the room there will be supplies to help you with your pervy little task. (I hate when they use the word little) There will be nudie books ( I am not touching those, how many times are the used a day) and even a video (like I really want Herman Munster to hear that through the door) if that is your preferred method of reaching the desired result. There is also a convenient stand for you to place your supplies so you can get two hands fully into the action even though it is doubtful you will need two hands. Even though your sick little ass already knows what you are doing in there this is still a medical function so you need to follow a couple of rules. You need to wash your hands before the event and damn sure wash them afterwards because I don’t want your little swimmers anywhere except inside my bullet proof specimen cup. Speaking of the cup, do yourself a favor and have it open before you start your sprint to embarrassment. Get all of your stuff in the cup and not on the floors or walls. I will be out here waiting for you just outside the door with a stop watch and killing the next couple minutes on my cell phone talking to my friends about you. When this is done do not look me in the eyes. I will processing your stuff to get the dumb, broken ones out since your are not capable of a healthy batch of specimen. Now have at it…..”

These are the words this guy heard but that is just the beginning of your emasculation. You will return to your wife and say nothing about what you just did in the private room unless you are me and I shared every twisted detail with my wife. While we wait for Herman to do his part I can share other funny and odd things that occur around this event. The event I am describing was my first medical attempt but there would be several more. We did not stay at the Jones and when we went to New Hope I decided I would try to do it at home and bring the evidence to them. The problem with this method is you are given a time frame to get things to the doctor. It is a lunch hour you will not forget. Once you finish you get in your car  in a “thirty minutes or the pizza is free style” you rush to your doctor where you will sit on the waiting room with a brown bag of embarrassment. When I finally gave the bag to the lady at the desk I swear she smirked at me and told me you really have more time than we give you but we want to make sure we get it quickly. Can you imagine getting in a car wreck and being knocked unconscience only for the cops to find that in your car? The very last time I had to go through the procedure I was sitting with my mother in law when my name was called. While I was walking away from her I turned around and told her I wanted to take her in before the event. I love her but now she has to live with that thought.  The nurse actually told me before I went into the room “lets knock this out”….she was cute and I was wondering if there was a new method I was not aware of. When I went in that room they had a boom box to drown out your racket. What CD was in the player you may ask? It was “Eye of the Tiger” of course (true story). I always wanted to be a screamer in that room to give them something to talk about but I never picked up the nerve. I return us back to the first time and the waiting room. When the specimen is processed you get escorted to a room with your wife. A doctor comes in with a strange apparatus that has a small tube hanging off the end of it. They put your specimen in the apparatus and then Doctor McDreamy goes in to “place” the specimen where your dysfunctional self cannot. He is hitting her baby spot right in front of you. Of course what he is really doing is place the specimen in the place it needs to be to give you a chance at parenthood. I do love Doctor McDreamy’s efforts. Once the doctor leaves you and your wife have to hang out in the room while things settle. What do you talk about after this kind of evening? Survivor? It’s hard being a man!!!!!

Everything I wrote is true and my experience but let me make something crystal clear for you. The woman has is twenty times harder than the average man when it comes to medically assisted conception. The mans ego may take a hit and he will be challenged as he watches the specter of infertility kick your ass while he is helpless to defend you. I will take the masturbation experience over multiple people poking you with a speculum and judging your fertility over the course of several years. Many women view their fertility as a core tenet of their womanhood and feel less of a woman when it is a struggle to get pregnant. That last statement kills me. My wife is my hero. We were lucky and after many years had a baby. Women make life move forward. Women make life worth living. Women bring balance to life and my wife is the very air I breath. Any man who thinks he has it hard to do the things I illustrate above (okay thankfully there were no drawings) is not worth his salt. I hope you all reach your dream and believe me it is not impossible. I cannot tell you how many false starts we had and how many disappointments we suffered. For all of our pain, prior to a successful IVF cycle, there are couples that had it a million times worse. Stay strong, love each other, and keep the flames of hope alive. Having a sense of humor from time to time helps.

I wrote a book about our experiences called “The Longest Love Letter”. I discovered that writing is an excellent way to clear your head and share your experience. By sharing your experience I think it makes a community that feels isolated from time to time feel smaller and closer. If you get the chance google blogs on infertility and you will find out how not alone you are. “Where The Bleep Is Our Stork” is a great place to start. The author ,Theresa ,is heroically open and bold in her entries. She will make you laugh and cry but most of it will seem so very familiar. Infertility is not the end of a dream, my friends, it is simply a roadblock that you can clear. Like most things worth having sometimes you have to fight for them. I truly love you all and wish you the best. Please feel free to ask me and my wife questions if you like. My wife is brilliant and not only has she walked in most of your steps she is a pharmacist and can give advice on meds.  I posted links below for you to use as needed.

Where The Bleep Is Our Stork

http://wherethebleepisourstork.blogspot.com

Andy Thornhill Facebook (warning for those sensitive to the matter my page has many pictures of my daughter, my wife can be contacted through me here by private message)

https://www.facebook.com/andy.thornhill.5

“The Longest Love Letter” can be found as an E-Book on Barnes and Noble and Kindle

Infertility: Is It Time To Quit?

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     We have all been there. We reached the point during our journey down Infertility Road when we started to look for the exit ramp. We wanted off the ride. We could do no more. For me  it was around December 2007. My wife had done all she could. She had done more than she needed to do. She had proven the point that she was tough and had a resolve that was impossible to break. We had been through the usual run of misery. We had been through several failed cycles. We had been down Miscarriage Lane. My wife is a pharmacist and had a miscarriage at work. She could not leave work until another pharmacist could get to her pharmacy and she had to sit on the floor devastated and in tears knowing that there was nothing she could do as we lost another child, another opportunity at parenthood.  That night I left her in her bed because she wanted to be left alone. I went to work and was roaming around like a zombie. On the long drive home a good friend talked me down. I coached Little League Baseball at the time. It seemed odd to coach when I had no children and was fighting to have one. We had practice the day of that loss and it was too late to cancel the practice so I went to the field and met with each parent to call practice off. One of the parents knew something was wrong and she did what she could to console me.  Many nights I gave my wife shots through bruised skin. I was constantly asked how things were going and had to repeat stories often. Relive hard thoughts and memories. I had dried my wife’s tears and suppressed my own. I hated couples that hd kids that seemed to take it for granted. I hated myself but most of all I pained for my wife. She was the hero of the journey. She was the one that was constantly confronted with obstacles and never feared as she broke through them. In December of 2007 after that last loss she was done and I was all too ready to support the decision. It was not that I no longer wanted a child it was that I was tired of watching this invisible bitch kick my wife’s ass as I sat by helpless to protect her.

Her choice to throw the towel in did not last long. After only a few weeks she called me from an airport and said she had called our fertility doctor and was doing one last IVF. I did not want to do. I had lost hope and was in protect my wife mode but she did not need my protection. She was far stronger than I had given her credit for. We went through the cycle. At every single step were statistically out numbered. Everything that could go wrong short of a total loss had occurred. A couple of weeks after the IVF transfer my wife showed signs of a miscarriage. The doctor told us to go home and come back the next day. The next day at the doctor’s office my wife and I could not look at each other. I could not handle seeing her hopes crushed and she likely could not look at me thinking she had let me down (she was wrong). The doctor pointed at the screen and showed us a blinking light, our baby’s heartbeat. Our baby was fine. My wife would go on bed rest for nearly eight months but our daughter would be born and to think I wanted to quit.

My wife is a fighter and will ignore being told something is impossible. Sometimes fate blinks and a miracle slips though. I tell you this story not to make you feel bad at our success story but to illustrate that anything is possible. As long as you can emotionally deal with it and financially handle it never say no. Do not be like me. If you are the man you may be like me and not realize how strong your wife is. Women are ten times stronger than the “I pick things up and put them down man” (you may need to You Tube that reference). I hope you find your rainbow and more importantly I hope your love for your partner gets stronger during the journey. Do not look at the difficulty look at the never say quit attitude your partner has and marvel at it. I hope the below video link gives reminds you of how amazing you are. The video is on my personal blog. You are more than welcome to read other blogs on that page but I warn you that many are about my daughter and I do not want to hurt or offend anyone with those videos. I hope you will go to the link because that video is specifically for you and anyone who is on their journey. Sunshine Dreams and Hopes does not support video but my Tao of Pig Pen does. I love you all. 

 http://abbeyscathouse.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/infertility-is-it-time-to-quit/

Infertility: You Just Don’t Count

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I have told the story several times over how a friend told me that maybe God did not want my wife and us to have a baby when infertility dug its ugly claws in our unsuspecting backs. I hate when someone says you can’t do that because to me they are saying you just don’t count or worse yet you are not worthy. Never, ever tell me that.

Who has the right to tell you what you can or cannot do when it comes to reproductive freedom? Today at work a former fellow employee came in with the most beautiful four-month old baby girl you can imagine. She had amazing eyes, big puffy cheeks, and a smile that could make a dead man stare. Being a proud father of a four-year old girl we can smell our own and you could see the pride beaming off of his face. He was a proud, happy Daddy. A proud happy GAY Daddy. He did not face infertility issues that I am aware of but of course he and his husband needed a surrogate to become parents. He was lucky enough have a friend deliver him a baby through IVF. Is a Gay Daddy any less a Daddy than me? Hell no he is every bit as good a Daddy as any straight man. If we listen to some states and anti gay marriage/ gay family groups these regular people are not worthy and they are immoral? Says who? How can we be smart enough to land on the moon, put tens of thousands of songs on a phone, find incredible cures for disease but still think we can tell a person they are not worthy of love or children because Ed loves Ted? It is mind-boggling that anyone would feel this way and think because they feel this way it should be law. Love is love my friends. Love is beautiful and the most potent part of a marriage. Love makes a family and it could care less of what your sex is. Anyone opposed to gay people having children need to find a new hobby.

You and your husband want to have a baby through assisted conception but your family and friends say maybe it just is not in the cards and you should let go of this dream. Your friends change the subject or roll their eyes when you bring up in your infertility journey and woes. They say they just do not want to see you disappointed and wish you would move on. People that have not dealt with infertility simply do not understand your plight most of the time. It is easier to change the subject than to listen to something they cannot relate to. They love you but want to ignore the elephant in the room. Passively they are telling you to give up. They may not say you are not worthy but they certainly don’t feel comfortable hearing it. What do you do? Find a community on-line or through your doctor that has people who do understand the concerns. Often they do not know what to say if pressed they may tell you they are worried about the toll it takes on you. They really are worried about the toll but the subject is out of their wheelhouse and the band-aid is “move on”.  It is akin to saying ,’It’s God’s will”. Do not hate your friend but instead find your support audience.

So one of my first questions was who has the right to tell you that you what you can do when it comes to reproductive choices and my answer is no one. We are all God’s children and are privileged to have dominion over our lives as long as we do not hurt others. Who you love is your choice. If your body will not coöperate in having a baby but a doctor can help you that is your choice. One of the best things in life is having choices. You are already dealing with enough headaches with infertility so try to not let others lack of understanding bring you down. Money is one of the few aspects that can truly stop you. You count my friend. The things you are willing to deal with to become a Mommy or Daddy is living proof of how worthy you are. Any person that says who you can love or challenges your worth as a potential parent is simply insecure and or ignorant. Please hang in there and I wish you all the luck in the world.

Infertility: Don’t ignore your feelings men…..

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Men don’t ignore your feelings. Infertility for a male is just as personal as it is to a women but the difference is that men are more often likely to not face their feelings or their fears. In everyday life men can struggle with their ego. Not all but many men are very defensive if they think any aspect of their manhood is being challenged.  When men become defensive they can be difficult and in some cases confrontational. Stereotypes are sometimes stereotypes because they are well-earned. Every woman who reads this blog knows at least one bullhead stereotypical not in my emotional backyard man. There is nothing wrong with this man but if you are that man the sooner you take steps to open up and explore infertility issues and its options the happier and emotionally healthier you will be. When my wife and I began our journey I felt so much better and at ease when I realized that infertility has no prejudice. Any man can have a fertility issue whether they are young, old, big, or small. In most cases you cannot prevent your infertility problem anymore that you can predict and stop an earthquake. Diet and health habits may contribute to fertility issues but it is just as possible that you were born with it just like that unsightly mole on your face. Men you may think to yourself that people may be able to see that mole but they won’t see my fertility issue. I can keep that a secret you may tell yourself. This is simply not true. Your girlfriend or wife can see it. She knows when something is wrong and that builds tension. It creates huge problems from nothing and can sometimes dissolve a marriage.

You may want to consider that the first fertility visit you make to discuss your reproductive health is a solo trip. Make sure your spouse or girlfriend is aware you are going but a solo visit to the doctor may be helpful. If you are one on one with a doctor you may ask more questions. If you feel more comfortable with a male doctor it is not sexist to make that first visit to a male doctor. If a man does not want to discuss his fertility fears with his wife he may open up to a male physician. Wanting a male doctor is no different from the woman who prefers a female gynecologist. Don’t just choose the first male doctor at random if you go this route. Make sure you have done some research on the doctor before going.  When you go to the doctor lay it all out on the table. The conversation may not be comfortable. If you are asked to give a seminal sample it can be awkward. As a boy when you discovered yourself if was fun and casual and your secret but to do it in a medical environment is different. Most Facilities give you a choice of doing it (manually producing a seminal sample) at home and bringing it in to the clinic or providing you with a room at the clinic to produce a sample. There are pros and cons. If you do it at home you are against a clock to get the sample to the doctor. I took this route once. It was strange to be sitting at my desk at work and realizing it is time to go home and produce a sample in a cup. When I was taking the sample to the doctor all I could think of is what if I get in a wreck and the medics look inside my little brown lunch bag. What would they think? When I went in the doctor’s office I felt like everyone was staring at my brown bag. I have a sense of humor that laughed all that off but if I think of these things so may the next man. If you produce a sample at a doctor’s office you need to be able to relax. You may hear the sounds of the office while in your private room. Many facilities give “Inspiration” in the form of videos and magazines. Be ready to see these things. I will never forget an attractive young nurse walking me back to my private room and saying, “Let’s knock this out”.  To this day I kick myself for not responding to that innocent remark. It is all harmless and it is all normal. If you think you feel awkward at this point in the game I strongly suggest going to one of your wife’s appointments. When you see firsthand what women submit themself to in a regular visit you will realize what you have to do early in the fertility journey is blue comedy at best, that is why I make light of the male aspect up to this point. Ask your doctor every question you can think of. Ask him if it is common if you have a problem. Commonality can make you feel less like you are on the Island of Misfit Toys. It is not a bad idea to take notes. Once you get home, from the doctors visit, share your information with your female companion. The more you share the easier it will be to move forward. The more you share the closer you become and a close-knit couple can kick the living hell out of infertility because they are fully informed and as comfortable with the process as they can be.

Once you have had your visit and have come to terms with the good or bad news you get you have to make sure to not ignore your companion’s feelings. If by chance the partner with the medical reason that is most contributing to infertility is the woman you have to remember this. A woman may feel like less of a woman if she cannot conceive and carry a child. Some women will view this as making them less of a person, less of a woman. At one point in time in my journey my wife said she would not blame me if I decided to divorce her for a model that she perceived as not being broken. I found this laughable and appalling but she meant it. Can you imagine that kind of low? How would you feel if your wife’s esteem sunk to a level where they felt the need to say that? I tell you this because once you decide to not ignore your feelings toward your personal male fears toward infertility you need to prepare yourself to help your wife be strong. If you have a medical issue that is contributing to conception issues you need to put on the brave face and heart so she does not have more worries. This does not mean that you clam up but quite the opposite. Doing your best to be optimistic can be infectious and can make it a little easier to get her to be an optimist that the journey will have an amazing ending. Men do not forget your feelings or her feelings. This is the most challenging times most couples face and it is your time to step up and be the man she fell in love with. Being strong does not mean being quite and sucking it up like a man. Being strong is pressing through your fears and ego to get all the knowledge you can to give your companion and you the best opportunity to become parents. Best of luck and don’t forget ladies and gentlemen you are amazing just to take the challenge.

Please check these links for information on infertility.

http://www.resolve.org/infertility-overview/what-is-infertility/

http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/about.html

About the blogger:

My name is Andy Thornhill and I have also written an Ebook on my family’s journey called “The Longest Love Letter”. It is available for the Kindle and Nook. Please feel free to contact me through this blog page or on Infertility News You Can Use on Facebook.