When I was younger I had always dreamed about having children, but at a time when I was prepared. I had dreams and ambitions in my career that I wanted to meet first. I’ve always had dreams, but never really knew how to get to them. My wife calls me the “what if man”. She calls me this because I play the what if game a lot, like all the time. I like to think about a future in my head that is perfect.
This includes me running a business, living in a rural home, raising kids with my beautiful wife. So far, none of those are true. I don’t own a business, putting my business degree to waste (I’m an engineer). I live in a fairly small town outside of Atlanta, but it is still in a subdivision. And most importantly, at the time of this post, I do not have any children. I am however blessed, we raise our teenage niece, who’s mother and father aren’t really in the picture. She has been with us for about 9 years now and she is in essence, my daughter.
When you first start trying to have kids, it is incredibly exciting! I had names running through my head, clothes I wanted to buy them picked out, and was ready for the challenge. The first year of trying went by, but I wasn’t sweating it yet. We thought for sure that it would happen. I brushed it off as it wasn’t the right time yet. I could see my wife starting to get down first, so I kept telling her that it would happen when it happened. Any husband going through this knows that this reassurance doesn’t really help.
As the years continued to pass I began to feel what my wife was feeling. I was losing hope. So we went to the doctor to get evaluated. Everything came up clear, we should have no problems having children. This gave us some hope, but as months passed, still nothing. Then all of your friends and family start having kids. I’ll tell you it is really hard to be happy for them. I know that sounds bad, but it is. Why does everyone else get this gift and not us? It really sucks, infertility is a bitch. The worst is when your younger siblings have kids. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of my nieces and nephews, and try to spend a lot of time with them.
Each person you see or hear about having a baby is just another blow to you. After a couple of more years we decided to take the next step and see the infertility doctor. We started out extremely hopeful, especially after the evaluations. They determined that we should be able to have children as well. So we started with IUIs. These are not cheap, and most US health insurance companies do not cover these. After 4 of these still nothing. We couldn’t afford IVF, but still tried anyway. We were lucky enough to receive a grant to cover part of the IVF cost. It was a stretch, but we came up with the money to cover the rest. I felt that this time would be it. It was coming up on my birthday and Christmas.
After the transfer, we got a positive pregnancy test from the doctor. And after two weeks, we learned it was a no go. The pain you feel from this is hard to explain. It is extremely hard to stay positive. You really almost want to just give up. It’s hard to tell how to act around your spouse. I mean, I was pissed myself so how is she feeling? How am I supposed to cheer someone up when I am in the dumps. How do you keep constant turmoil from infertility from tearing apart your marriage? It is hard, infertility sucks.
I am not sure on the statistics from this but I believe the stress from all of this causes more arguments in the relationship. For anyone who has ever taken a DISC assessment, I am a strong D. That means that I am a get from point A to B as quick as possible type of person. All of these set backs makes me very frustrated, and I feel that I took that frustration out on others. I would be short with people at work, not want to communicate with family members, and worst of all not communicate with my wife. I don’t show a lot of emotion, but it is there. I try to cover it up with keeping busy. I feel that if I can just accomplish something, I could rid myself of these feelings of sadness and sorrow. The problem with this was that, I would not take the time to take care of my marriage. All of this would have to change if I “REALLY” wanted a family. I have no one to blame but myself for staying in the dumps.
The stress is what really does you in. Knowing that each day you still have a life to live. The stress can and does cause marital problems. It is good to have a really good friend or family member to confide in besides your spouse. My reasoning behind this is because both of you will be overwhelmed with stress. You can’t really say the things that will make the other feel good if you yourself are feeling the same or worse. My wife and I have had plenty of pointless arguments due to this. I am lucky though to have my best friend to confide in. He is one of the most caring guys in the world, I strive to be more like him. We have known each other for over 17 years and work together even today. If I ever need anything he is there.
Another way I have been trying to deal with the dooming feeling that I constantly have is through Religion. I personally am a Christian, but haven’t been very close to God in a long time. My parents didn’t raise us in a church, so I only went occasionally as a kid. When I was a little older I started to go more frequently, but it never really stuck. Now that I am in my 30s I see the importance of faith. I do feel much better after prayer and worship, I feel as if a load has been lifted from me. At the time of writing this, my wife and I are still going through the process of IVF. It is still stressful. But keeping positive and getting your feelings out to someone helps greatly. So if you are reading and this are having a tough go at it, just remember that this is not the end, but the beginning. Also feel free to talk to me on twitter @theinfertilehusband I would love to talk and help each other out.