I think it is without saying, when a woman goes through infertility there are more emotions than imaginable. They hold most of the weight on their shoulders and first thought always goes to “what is wrong with me?”, “why me?”, “How did this happen? I am healthy, active, and have never had any issues before!” All of these are two-sided, as the husband is wondering the same thing. As a husband who sat there watching his wife pull her hair out trying to answer those questions, I was asking myself “why us?”, “what can I do?”, “what do I do to ease her pain?”.
When my wife and I accepted the reality that we were having trouble getting pregnant, all of those questions ran through our heads. That’s when we went in and had her checked out.
My point of view was ‘let’s just keep practicing!” or “It will happen next month” or at least that’s what I thought when we first started seeing an infertility doctor for my wife. Well, the tables turned and that quickly turned to ‘how the heck am I a problem? I know my boys are working just fine!” Without even realizing it, I was scheduled for a “Sampling” myself… aw heck no! I am not doing this. My wife looked at me crying, full well knowing the goal was to have a kid. Ok, I’ll bite if it will help my wife and I have a baby.
I show up with my wife and they send me back.. this isn’t so bad.. they sent me to a room full of porn mags and 90’s porn videos. My mom would have beat me silly with that kind of a stash as a boy….. this had to be the most awkward appointment of my life.. are they going to laugh if I come back out in 5 minutes or 20 minutes, what is a good length of time here? Is this music hooked up to surround sound in the whole office? If you could have heard what thoughts were going through my head, you would have been on the floor laughing your butt off!
Now that the deed was done, they give you all sorts of numbers and charts to show you what your ‘sample’ produced… confusion all around. Needless to say, women are not the only ones who need to know what infertility is about. Males are as much of this process as females. I never would have thought about the logistics of what it takes for sperm to penetrate an egg. My mind was blown!
Ok enough of my journey, and how hilarious it sounds now, looking back at it. I really want you to know what it means from my perspective to go through infertility with my wife. This was the hardest 3 and half years of my life, and it was all in the first 4 years of our marriage. I can’t tell you how many times my wife and I were at each other’s throats, or ready to throw in the towel. It is daunting and brain-racking and worst of all, it is punishing on your marriage. So, I am going to give all husbands out there a few key points of advice that I got out of our infertility journey.
- You are in this as much as your wife, own it with her, don’t let her take all the burden. Do everything in your power, to ease her pain because, in the end, she is the one who will carry your child!
- If you see she is struggling mentally, step in, and talk to her, get her to open up and explain what is going on in her head. There is nothing worse than getting plates thrown at you or being yelled at and you having no earthly idea why. That will ultimately lead down a dark path to divorce unless you figure out what the heck is really going on.
- Show up for her! EVERY SINGLE FREAKING APPOINTMENT! She should not have to go alone, whatsoever. You are a team and it takes you and her together to make a baby.. don’t act like it’s not true, so SHOW UP!
- Be ready, know your stuff, and show her you are serious about having this baby. She will notice if you are completely blind to what is going on. So ask questions at the appointment, learn the anatomy of her baby-making parts, and understand what is actually happening. The more prepared you are for this stage, the more prepared you will be when that little baby decides it wants to finally make its appearance! Your wife will also notice you are vested in her and your family, which doubles back in a good way for you my friend!
I want to leave you with my last thoughts about infertility. This is real, it is not a joke, and you have no idea how many other couples are actually going through the same thing. Be the best version of yourself for your wife, show her you are all in, and don’t be afraid to show your emotions. Whether you and your spouse are still struggling, you have been blessed with that baby you wanted, or if you chose a different route after a long battle, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
Mr. Toledo Mom