Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Where Do Your Men Go? April 5, 2011

Filed under: Childless Not By Choice,Family and Friends,Infertility and Loss — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am
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In my own efforts to come to terms with a life without children and talk about the issues that affect us women, I sometimes forget that there’s a whole other group of people dealing with this issue: men.

IrisD brought up the conversation recently on the forums, so I asked my husband for his thoughts. He has grown children, so doesn’t have quite the same issues I do, but our subsequent infertility definitely affected him. He agreed that men feel many of the same pressures women do to produce offspring and fit in with society’s expectations. Many men feel tremendous pressure from their families (sometimes more than women) to continue the family name. And men often feel alienated from friends and co-workers, whose weekends are spent coaching Little League and taking family camping trips.

So, where do these men go? Where do your men go? Who do they talk to? Would they benefit from a site like Life Without Baby, where they could safely go to talk out issues of infertility and childlessness with like-minded men?

I have no idea what, if anything, I would/could/should do with this information, but I am wondering if there’s a need out there and if there’s a way to fill it. I’d really appreciate your thoughts.

And here’s someone else wondering a similar thing, with some interesting comments from men.

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8 Responses to “Where Do Your Men Go?”

  1. Kate B Says:

    When my husband and I were going through fertility treatments and losses, he went to the kitchen table at the firehouse. We were not the only couple in his firehouse and in other neighboring firehouses (at the time he was at a firehouse in Harlem) who had problems. A number of couples were using IVF – including some who had children without problems prior to 9/11. As an aside, that was something that has always made us wonder if exposure to toxins at the WTC site caused fertility issues. The fire department really is a second family and our second family really helped my husband through it all. Now that he’s in another firehouse, there are several other couples that are childless. The guys understand the issues of being childless and don’t let the ones with families take advantage – like by saying “you should work the weekend for me because you have no kids”. That kind of thing happened once and – well – let’s just say it hasn’t happened since.

    • lmanterfield Says:

      Kate, this is so great that he has that support system. I always think of firefighters as big tough guys, so I love the image of them sitting around the firehouse table, talking about this.

      Your 9/11 theory is really interesting. I wouldn’t be at all surprised.

  2. Mali Says:

    Before my husband and I tried to conceive, he was under a lot of pressure from his brothers, saying things like “go on, prove you’re a man.” My sister-in-law lectured them all once, asking them how they’d feel if we had been trying to conceive and had been unsuccessful. They stopped then. She was a few years early with her lecture, but it certainly helped when we were trying to conceive and not having any success.

    When we had our losses, my husband didn’t really have anyone but me to talk to. And he waited till it was obvious that I was healing, before he started opening up. (That was tough.) But he would never have talked to a counsellor, or visited a website/forum. He coped by not thinking about it, as far as I can tell. He famously (famous because I quote it all the time) said “if I don’t want to think about something, I don’t think about it.” At the time, I wished so much I could be like that!

    I also visited an ectopic pregnancy website with various forums, which gave me huge support. In the almost nine years since I started visiting it, I think I could count the number of men who have visited. They even created a Men Only Forum, which was active for about a year with about three men, but has had no activity now for years. Men occasionally visit the overall site, but usually to ask about how they can support their partners.

    I just don’t think men process things the same way we do?

    • lmanterfield Says:

      Sounds a lot like my hubby. He just doesn’t want to think about and eventually it will pass. Maybe it will, but it seems to take so much longer that way. I have definitely healed faster by talking and writing about it than he has by not.

  3. jennifer Says:

    My husband was always fine either way if we did or didn’t have kids. I think what was harder for him was seeing me deal with our 3 consecutive miscarriages. He could deal with the miscarriages just fine, it was the hell I went through that he always wished he could take away. Ironically, he really doesn’t feel pressure from his friends. The majority of his friends that do have kids always tell him how lucky he is and that he has the freedom to really live life. Our house also seems to be the “safe haven” for all of his married friends with kids. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have come home from work to find him and a couple of his friends just hanging out and having some drinks but many a time in deep conversation about how hard it is to be married and have kids. I also have quite a few male friends that are married with kids (who don’t know why we are truly childfree) that think our childfree lifestlye is amazing. Each one has confided to me at some point that the kids/marriage deal is much harder than they ever thought it would be and they wish they could have what we have.

    • lmanterfield Says:

      Wow. This is really interesting that you and your home have become a kind of peaceful haven for people with kids, and a place where they feel they can be honest about it not all being a bed of roses. Are you ok with that?

  4. Jennifer Says:

    I am ok with my house. The safe haven..3 of his closest friends know about our 3 Ivfs/miscarriages and I have had deep conversation with all 3 and they have nothing but respect for all we have been through..they all say that being married. With kids is incredibly difficult..they are always so interested in what we’re doing and able to do because we don’t have kids..I think they wind up at our house to escape..one of them has even told me he resents his wife for being a stay at home mom, he admires me for having a career and being able to have intellectual conversation..

  5. Angela Says:

    I’m waay late to this post but just started reading this site. I wanted to respond in case you’re still thinking about this topic…I just had a conversation with my husband about WHY don’t you seem to have all the emotional problems and issues with this that I do? He said that he just figured that it would happen if it was supposed to, and if it didn’t happen, it wasn’t supposed to. So since it wasn’t happening, it wasn’t mean to be and there was no point in worrying or thinking about it. Just simple logic, no emotional baggage to lug around. Men’s brains are just wired that way, they don’t tend to put emotional attachments to issues like we do, and just think simply and logically. Pretty aggravating for me though!


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