Tag Archives: Personhood

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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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.

Infertility: Abortion, Morality, and Personhood Laws

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The great state of Nebraska is moving forward with a Personhood Bill. Personhood Acts are mostly created to give rights to human beings at the earliest time possible, oftentimes this is considered to be conception. It is generally considered and anti-abortion bill. I do not want to argue for or against in any way shape or form abortion. I think that is a battle where people do not hear opposing views because they are too entrenched in their own opinion to hear ANY opposing opinion. Ascension Health defines Personhood below:

“A socially constructed moral category that denotes the inclusion criteria and salient characteristics that distinguish human beings from other forms of life, thus specifying the individuals to whom we owe particular moral obligations, i.e., those obligations we have to others due to their status as persons. In general, there are two ways of defining personhood. Philosophically, personhood is generally defined by some list of essential properties by which we recognize a human being as a person. Though these lists vary, they often include such characteristics as consciousness, the ability to reason, self-movement, self-awareness and a capacity to communicate. The second way of defining personhood is more theologically oriented and entails some relational interpretation of what it means to be a person. In this sense, personhood is often conceived of in terms of one’s ability to have relationships with other human beings and the special relationship human beings have with God.”

It is important to have a commonly accepted definition of Personhood because these laws could have a profound affect on infertile couples ability to move forward with medically assisted conception. If Doctors feel threatened with being arrested for trying to create life because of Personhood laws then many couples will be left without any options in the dream to have children. Since 1979 there have been a couple million children born, including my own, with the assistance of fertility treatments.

I am not a lawyer but from being a police officer for many years I do know that one of the keys components of a law against a person is the word “intent”. I have argued intent in court many times and it can be a slippery slope proving it. If you turn around too quickly and accidentally push your neighbor to the ground it is not assault but if in a heated moment with that same neighbor you willfully shove them to the ground you have displayed intent and therefore assaulted them. Personhood Acts will refer to any medical treatment where there is intent to cause harm to a living being. Keep in mind the law may say the moment of conception. So is it possible that in the course of an IVF treatment if a life, as defined by the law, is lost that there could be a liability for the doctor? It is an unfortunate fact that it is common to lose embryos in the process of medically assisted conception and if those embryos are defined as “life with Personhood rights” will the doctor need to defend his or her intent? Lawsuits are kryptonite to medical practices. If the medical field is forced to defend the practice of assisted conception then the likelihood is that the practice will be as extinct as a Triceratops. These laws may tell us that the word intent protects Medical Procedures for the purpose to create life but I am certain someone would soon challenge the practices on a moral basis.

I can understand the moral issues behind abortion due to the fact that it revolves around the sanctity of life. Again I will not state my opinion but since abortion stirs such strong feelings with faith-based moralist I am concerned that in a political battle politicians will use fear based tactics to move their base to pass a Ballot that could have horrible collateral damage to the infertile community. I plea with everyone to fully understand Personhood Bills and Ballots so that good people do not lose the chance to be be parents.

If you have fertility issues or know someone who does I strongly suggest you stay abreast of what your states stance is on Personhood and speak out if the need comes. Resolve.ORG has a page that better explains the concerns of Personhood Laws. The link is listed below. As always I wish you the best on your journey and because I remember how my wife and I felt I will always support the community that I am still part of.

http://www.resolve.org/about/personhood-legislation.html

Infertility Grass Roots and News

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Several years ago my wife was on bed rest for eight months after a bleed occurred shortly after an IVF cycle. My wife’s family lived seven hours away and I worked as many as twelve hours a day. She had a laptop but did nothing on any social network. She did not have an I Pad or a Nook only a book and TV. She did not have any friends who had been through the infertility process. I turned our bedroom into a pseudo hotel room with a fridge and snacks galore. She was by herself a lot. I can only imagine where her mind wandered sometimes.

After our daughter was born my wife discovered Facebook. I wrote a book called “The Longest Love Letter”. It tells our story with infertility. I used Facebook to help get the story out to the public. I discovered several support pages including my favorites Resolve, Attain Fertility, and 999 Reasons To Laugh At Infertility. I have always wanted to pay back to the community our experiences. I started a new blog that is dedicated to Assisted Conception called Sunshine Dreams and Hope.

Recently I have read about so many things that affect the Assisted Conception Community. I thought it would be wonderful if there were one place these things could be shared and found. It is very important that it is a true community page where bloggers and news come together to give people a place to discover they are not alone. I want people to post things on the page wall that can benefit others. I want people to get another perspective here too. It is not for any profit. My wife would have felt better if she had a place she could go to from time to time to get information. I hope everyone will go to there discover things, add things, and feel better. It should not be considered a site that has “The Answers” because only your physician can give you that but if you read an article or blog that discusses something you never considered you may want to ask your doctor about it.

Recent stories and developments in the Assisted Conception world are Walk of Hope and The Personhood Laws. If you visit Resolve.org there is a link to Walk of Hope. Below is Resolve’s description of the event.

“RESOLVE’s 2012 Walk of Hope is a 1-mile walk that recognizes the many ways in which families are built, supports local support and programs for the 7.3 million women and men living with infertility and raises public understanding of how the disease of infertility impacts families nationwide.

The Walk of Hope is being held in several locations across the country. Funds raised from the Walk support local RESOLVE programming which includes support groups and educational events, public awareness initiatives, and advocacy efforts to ensure family building options are available to all!

The name “Walk of Hope” embodies the emotion that most people living with infertility feel. They are hopeful their dreams of family come true. Some hope to simply find a peaceful resolution to their infertility journey. A Walk of Hope is an event that represents the infertility journey—a series of small steps, each one filled with hope and a reminder that no one should walk on this journey alone.”

The Walk of Hope will take place in Scottsdale, Arizona on March 24, 2012. Atlanta Georgia on April 28, 2012 and in Washington DC on a date to be announced this Spring. We hope to attend the DC walk. Resolve gives you the ability to create a safe page to collect donations from your friends for your team. I have used this type of page when doing the Polar Plunge and they are very easy to use.  This is a great chance to share a wonderful experience with equally wonderful people.

Another ongoing story is the “Personhood” law some states have tried to pass. Recently it made it through the House in Virginia. This law is an abortion law that inadvertently or purposely lumps IVF in with it. Personhood laws aim to declare life to begin at the earliest point of conception, basically giving the earliest form of an embryo Human Rights. There is  a provision that states that lawful assisted conception is protected but if an embryo has Human Rights any act that endangered it would possibly be unlawful. Lumping IVF and Abortion together is dangerous. Most people are afraid to debate abortion, including myself, and they may not notice or be afraid to argue Personhood because they do not want to look down the barrel of a very strong Pro Life Contingency. The facts are that IVF is about life and abortion is not so keep them separate and do not take away the ability for families to be realized with a child through IVF and other legal, regulated, and safe practices.

These stories and stories similar to it can be be found on my new Facebook page “Infertility News You Can Use”. I hope you will visit that page and like it and add to it. Let’s make this a grass-roots movement that helps everyone.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Infertility-News-You-Can-Use/168649429917070?ref=tn_tnmn