Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The boys need loving too

A lot of the focus of infertility goes on the women. That's expected too, since it's the women who go through the medicines / shots / hormones / retrievals / transfers / waiting / obsessing / grieving etc. It seems like all the men need to do in the whole process is "be there" for their women, maybe help with the injections sometimes, and on retrieval day, go give a sample of semen for fertilization. Sounds easy!

Over the last few years, I have asked DH several times how he deals, or how he feels. Sometimes I am upset when it seems like he is not "involved" and sometimes I am amazed at how clued in he is, and how he seems to be experiencing things the exact same way I do. Sometimes he says he feels "guilty" for "putting me through all this" 

To remind everyone - DH has a case of reciprocal balanced chromosome translocation. So it's not male factor infertility, and it's nothing that can be fixed. It's not a vein that can be operated on , or a vasectomy that was done, or sperm count or quality or morphology or anything. I can't tell him to stay out of the hot tub or drink less because his actions are affecting his semen. It's his chromosomes. There's nothing that can be done about it.

I go through the IVF's and the emotions and losses, and I cry and I talk, and I express, and people reach out to me and support me. I have my friends on the message boards, I have my friends here, in blogger land, and I have my real life friends who've been wonderful. 

Men don't do that. Men don't cry and talk and reach out and seek support. Men want to appear strong and brave. But men need the love too. This morning DH and I were talking, and it came out that he's very very vulnerable. He feels like there's nobody he can turn to to lean on. I'm there, but he worries about burdening me more while I'm hurting. I try and help him because I know he feels "responsible" with the chromosome issue. 

All our friends have reached out to me, some have asked how he's doing, but the focus has been me. I feel bad right now. I wish I could divert that focus on him for a bit. He needs his share too. I wish there were people who would automatically realize and reach out to him. But again - they're men too, and most of them will not emote and react in the way we women do. It seems like sometimes men don't know the right things to say, and don't realize that just a simple call or a simple conversation could mean a lot to the other person. 

Any ideas on how I can help DH? 


Jackie. said...

I think that you are doing the best thing by asking how he is doing here and there throughout this crazy process. I am wondering if every now and then if you could be the one to bring home flowers (or whatever sweet thing DH does for you on those harder days)- now, I'm not saying that I have actually done this, but this conversation may inspire me too! One thing I have done (too infrequently) is mail my DH a card expressing my gratitude for his strength, patience, tenderness, the list goes on and on. I know how much handwritten notes mean to me, and sometimes, it's the small things that count after all.

I'd love to invite you to my new blog. If you are interested, would you mind emailing me your address? jmarievincent@gmail.com

Darya said...

I think that all you can really do is let him know you care and you understand this is something that is awful for both of you. Do the nice things for him that HE appreciates. I think for a guy it is important to know that you still love him, you don't blame him, and that he is not less of a man because of this. Maybe you could talk to a close friend of his and let him know your DH may need a boys night.

Melanie said...

It does seem like the hubbys get the shaft on comfort when we get negatives or something bad happens. I know they hurt too even though they don't want to share, talk, or even admit it. It's good you ask how he's doing.. that shows you care.

I'm glad I could make you laugh with my story. DH is crazy.. but I love him.