Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Infertility, Men, and Communication May 19, 2011

Kathleen sent this article to me this week. It’s a kind of “Top tips” for men going through infertility. I really appreciated the writer’s ability to find humor in this topic, and I admire that he was able to step back from his own experience (he and his wife now have three children) and offer some advice to other men who find themselves in this situation.

As we’ve discussed before, there seem to be so few resources aimed at men. While it’s often we women who go through the worst of the testing and unpleasant procedures, it’s easy to forget that the men involved are working through their own confusion, conflicting emotions, and sadness.

Here’s a man who tried to do the right thing. He gave his wife flowers after every failed procedure. What a nice guy! Except that, from his wife’s point-of-view, the flowers were just a reminder of the failure she felt.

His discussion about the importance of communication is dead on, and I think that it remains true even if you’ve decided to stop treatments, or if you’ve otherwise decided that children are not in your future. We humans can be fickle creatures and our big life decisions are seldom clear-cut. We waver, we reconsider, and we’re affected by events in our environment. Talking about this is critical.

I know I’m often guilty of keeping my thoughts to myself so as not to upset my husband (although he does read this blog from time-to-time, so it’s hard to have too many secrets!) But experience has shown me that being honest about what’s going on means fewer surprises for him and fewer, “I had no idea…” conversations.

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3 Responses to “Infertility, Men, and Communication”

  1. Elena Says:

    very good, many men should read that!
    And still something to criticize: It would be AMAZING to have this kind of resource for cases where it’s the other way round… and he’s the infertile one.

  2. Julie Says:

    He kind of redeemed himself at the end, but at the beginning of the article when he says “your wife is going through infertility”, I kind of balked at that. It should always be a team effort, since it affects both of the people in the couple, regardless of who’s body has the issue. Of course, I am reading this, and like Elena, wanting the male perspective when HE is the one with the issues. We had MFI to deal with, and I don’t see very much about how to support and how to get my husband to communicate about that. All I’ve ever seen is how the husband reacts and can support the wife when she has been diagnosed as “the problem.” I sort of read into other women’s blogs and comments, and try to turn that toward my husband. Like some women wonder if their husband would be happier leaving them for a fertile woman, so I wonder if my husband has the same thought about me leaving him for a fertile man. I think it’s ridiculous, and I’ve told him this a few times. I married him for him, children would have just been a nice addition, but they weren’t the reason I married him.

    • Elena Says:

      well, i’ll just never know if he left me because he thought it would be me to leave him first and go in search of a fertile man… when all i wanted was a “team effort”. he did NOT communicate and being single at age 39, i’m about as far away from having a baby as is possible for a normally fertile woman.


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