I’ve been thinking about the issue of men and infertility for quite some time (well, one man in particular, anyway). Especially this week. There have been so many great posts about women and infertility this week, thanks to NIAW, but not a whole lot about men. Which is a shame, really.
They are half the equation, after all.
My family seems to be super fertile. I am one of seven children, and each of my siblings has at least one child, and some of their children have children of their own. It never occurred to me that I would be any different.
But I am.
In my difference, however, I have found a community of (mostly) women who have similar experiences and feelings of doubt, anxiety, and hope. I talk with people in real life about our situation and am met with sympathetic smiles and the occasional hug. Hubby, on the other hand, talks about what we’re going through with me, our doctors, and possibly his dad (who, of course, knows about his condition since he was diagnosed at 16). No one else.
He has always been very up-front about the facts of our situation (with those few people), but not necessarily with his feelings about it. After reading the above article, I asked Hubby if he would be at all interested in talking to other men about infertility. His answer: no. As if I had asked if he’d be interested in having each of his teeth extracted, one by one, without anesthesia.
Because, as stereotypical as it sounds, men don’t like to talk about these things. And whether it’s their “fault” or not, they have a tendency to want to fix things. Infertility is something they’re not able to fix without a whole team of medical professionals and a whole lot of cash.
I’ve never gotten the impression from Hubby that his diagnosis makes him feel like any less of a man. But I know there are men out there for whom a diagnosis of infertility, male factor or not, is quite a blow to the ego. Just like it is for us. Because making babies is supposed to be something we just do. It’s supposed to be easy.
And when it’s not, it’s devastating.
Not that they would let us see that. They’re supposed to be the strong ones, stoic in the face of adversity. But please, please, don’t ignore the fact that your man may be hurting just as much as you are right now.
And just remember, no matter who you are, infertility is a disease. It’s not your fault.