Friday, April 29, 2011

Busting an Infertility Myth: “I’m less of a man because I can’t get my wife pregnant.”

From the RESOLVE website:

This is probably the by product of the expression “what’s the matter, you shootin’ blanks” so many guys hear as part of the standard locker room insult fests uttered when a guy of child bearing maturity has not conceived and makes the unfortunate decision to confide in guys that seem to get their wives pregnant by looking at them.

This is really a myth of perspective. You just haven’t gotten your wife pregnant yet, in the way that you hoped it would happen. The most virile man with multi-million sperm count won’t necessarily have a better chance of conceiving if there are complex fertility hurdles to overcome.

You can become more of a man to your wife during the fertility process by learning the lingo and the acronyms for the next procedure so you don’t don that deer in the headlight look when you are in the next consult with your fertility doctor. You can provide an emotional defense system to counter the inevitable insensitive “you just need to relax” or “why don’t you just adopt” comments. You can be the exit strategist at a family gathering, giving the “time to go” sign when things get to an emotional breaking point.

My side: Because our issue is MFI, this particular myth really hits home with me. I know my husband feels like it's all his fault, and I have to be completely honest - I have considered past boyfriends and wondered what their sperm was like. But the truth is I love my husband more than anything, and I would rather be childless with him than a mother with someone else. Unfortunately, that doesn't stop his stepfather from uttering the "shooting blanks" comments, or his mom grilling him on "whose fault it is." Fortunately, his close friends are far more understanding.

He started to learn the ART lingo a little, but has always thought we would get pregnant without intervention. Three years and forty cycles later, neither of us is sure. The hardest part is that he, like most men, doesn't want to talk about it, even though I know he thinks about it. The saddest part is we used to talk about all the things we were going to do when we had kids, and now we have stopped. I'm just not that confident about it anymore, and I don't think he is either.

I guess I need to remind him that he is the man I married, for better or worse, and even though things seem worse now, they will get better, and I wouldn't give him up for 1000 babies.

Infertility 101
More on National Infertility Awareness Week®

1 comment:

  1. We had MFI too (in addition to other issues) and I know my ex struggled with this. I know he endured a lot of teasing, as well as well meaning comments that hurt. It's hard to watch them go through it, and it's hard, because while I wanted to defend him, I worried that would make things worse.

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