Infertility is one of the most gut-wrenching and emotionally draining experiences known to man (and woman) kind — and finding ways to deal while learning to still live a satisfying existence can be a difficult task.
Many different things can cause infertility, but no matter the cause, it leaves everyone asking the same question.
What did I do wrong?
Some feel there is an unspoken order to life and certain events are supposed to unfold in a fairly consistent manner. After elementary school and jr. high, we all move on to our high school years with an eye toward the future and begin to plot out what is important and what is expected.
The youngster may begin to envision a life trajectory that looks something like this:
- Graduate high school
- Choose a college
- Choose a career path
- Search for a spouse
- Graduate college
- Marry your sweetheart
- Find a job
- Have kids and live happily ever after
Life can go off course at any point along the way, but one of the hardest trials to deal with is checking off each and every one of those items on your list one at a time, and then just waiting and waiting for that last one. Whether it's an awkward exchange with old ladies at church or a Sunday dinner at grandma's house, trying to explain why you haven't had children yet to anyone and everyone who is suddenly an expert on the topic, gets old pretty quick.
After eight years of trying to conceive, my wife and I are resigned to the fact that it will likely take extraordinary (and expensive) measures to have a child of our own naturally. Adoption has always been an option but has yet to feel like the right thing to do (and trust me, there is no shortage of people asking us if we have thought about it).
How to communicate
One of the biggest stumbling blocks between couples can be finding ways to communicate feelings and expectations. Whether it’s justified or not, men are stereotyped as being poor communicators and sometimes it really is for good reason.
Say it out loud
We may not say it out loud (and probably won’t); we may not seek help emotionally (honestly, the odds of that happening are slim to none); and we, for sure, never want to admit that we might have a physical problem. But we feel it all. If you are honest and open, communication not only becomes easier but more fun as well.
One day at a doctor's appointment for my wife, I got to talking with a friend of mine, Steve Ruiz who is a physician's assistant, about his own struggles with infertility. It was the first time I had a conversation with anyone other than my wife about some of the funny things we have encountered over the years. It might sound cliché but sometimes laughter truly is the best medicine.
Learn to laugh.
Guys, it's tough to admit you are wrong or don't have all the answers, but once you let down your guard and show your wife you are hurting too, a bond is formed and and finding ways to laugh becomes exponentially easier.
Finding a way to laugh (at yourself most of the time) and having a sense of humor has been the key to maintaining strength in my marriage. Guys tend to keep to themselves when it comes to topics like this, but the power and importance of opening up and communicating with your loved ones cannot be overstated.
Learn to enjoy her texts and phone calls all day.
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