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How to Support an Infertile Man on Father’s Day

By Tracey Minella

June 17th, 2017 at 9:06 am

 

image: tminella


Infertile “dads-in-waiting” are no different when it comes to being infertile on Father’s Day than infertile wannabe moms are on Mother’s Day.

They want a baby.

A daddy’s little girl around whose little finger to be proverbially wrapped. A “mini-me” son to hang out with.

But society doesn’t seem to see his pain… because he is quiet. Maybe even to his wife or partner.

Women are more likely to chat with their sisters or closest girlfriends about their infertility—they cry on each other’s shoulders and talk about treatment—but men just don’t really do that. They don’t open up like that. Women talk. But guys’ group conversations tend to gravitate towards sports or politics—not how they injected their wife with a two-inch needle last night or held her as she cried over another negative pregnancy test.

Many men think they have to be the strong one– because if she sees him crumble, she may unravel herself. How unfair is that? Yet that’s how it is for so many guys and it’s completely understandable, and yes, a bit sexist, how they are willing to take all the pain on their shoulders if it’d shelter her.

Imagine that pressure to be strong and not cry? Imagine the totally unfounded but very real guilt he may feel if the diagnosis is male factor infertility? Or the stress he’s under if they can’t afford infertility treatment because his insurance or his salary doesn’t cover it? Or how he’s keeping the secret and hoping the guys don’t find out and rag on him about specimen collection or awkwardly joke about how they can help get her pregnant.

And don’t think for a minute he’s not aware of the children of other men at the gathering. Especially on Father’s Day. Kids playing catch with their dads. Dads showing pictures from the dance recital.

If his relationship with his own father is a good one, it may help to spend some one-on-one together on Father’s Day focusing on his role as the son. Maybe reflect on what kind of father he plans to be when the time comes for him—what he loved about his dad’s parenting style and what he might do differently.

Most importantly, let him do what he wants. See or be with who he wants and be sure to run interference for him with difficult people when you can. If he wants to be around the nieces or nephews, indulge his wish even if you feel differently. Or be alone together—or let him do his own thing–if that’s what he needs for that day.

And don’t ask him about starting a family. Just don’t. Ever. Especially on Father’s Day.

There is no substitution for a baby on Father’s Day, but you can give him hope for one next year. And if you think he’d benefit from talking it out with a caring infertility specialist, Long Island IVF offers group and individual counseling. Some couples have found a special connection to others who understand what they are going through and have even remained friends after their infertility journeys have resolved.

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What are your plans for Father’s Day?

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