Infertility is a disease that affects both males and females. A majority of the blogs I read are written by women (ok all of them are) and that means that we mostly get the woman's side of infertility. Men suffer too but they don't get to share their story as often and generally I believe their struggle is different than women's.
Today I am so pleased to have my husband here on the blog! I have to admit this is his first "appearance" and I am so happy that he was willing to share his side of the story with you all! You can read my story here and here and more on infertility here
We did a little Q&A:
What thoughts and feelings did you have during our first year and a half of trying to get pregnant with no success?
Initially when we started struggling to get pregnant I tried to stay extremely positive to maintain strength in the hope of getting pregnant and trying to be that emotional rock for my wife. As the number of unsuccessful months continued to grow my positivity started to wean and was replaced with constant doubt as we were very strategic on counting ovulation dates and cycles. Dealing with the struggle and constant failure took its toll as months turned into a year without any success and I knew it was time to get professional help. Thanks to Ashley’s determination and drive I gave all my support to finding a successful solution.
When you first learned about our infertility what were your thoughts?
After hearing that infertility was the major cause in our constant failure of trying to get pregnant, I was devastated. When you fail as an individual you feel inadequate, and I felt like in many ways I was letting down the person I loved most, my wife. In the age of instant gratification you want a quit fix to all problems (minor or major), and I expected this to be true with infertility and over the coming months and years I would be proven very wrong.
What was the most shocking information you learned?
That many ridiculous medical procedures are covered by almost all insurance companies but infertility is not. This resulted in a shocking amount of medical bills in constant hope of getting pregnant with zero medical coverage.
What was the hardest part leading up to our first miscarriage?
The hardest part was the constant failure and feeling of being an inadequate partner that could not provide the one thing your spouse wanted, and that was a family.
What strategies did you use to cope with our first loss?
After the loss of our first child I tried to remain busy filling my mind with whatever side tracking mental distraction that would keep me from dealing with this hardship. I would also go running or work out on the farm to keep my mind from wandering into the world of infertility.
How invested were you in our next few round of infertility after our miscarriage and when we went the IUI route?
When we started the next round of infertility treatment I was still burdened by the loss of our first child. My positivity had been drained and my mind set was to be as supportive as possible to my wife but deep down I had constant doubt this was just another means of failure. When moving on to IUI treatment you feel with modern medicine and technological advancement that it is going to be an instant success, but it was not. It was very difficult seeing my partner going through constant physical treatment and knowing you can do very little to determine the outcome. In my mind I made small sacrifices like stopping the consumption of soda and alcohol during IUI, which in comparison to what my wife had to endure is like those sitting at home watching war overseas versus being on the frontlines.
What has been the most challenging part of our infertility for you?
The most challenging part of our infertility journey is having to watch my partner endure constant failure and pain without any means of solving the problem. It is instinctual as a human being to be a problem solver, and when you cannot it shakes your self-worth. I tried even in the darkest days and most trying circumstances to remain that rock for my wife and listen when she just wants to be heard and engage when searching for understanding.
After fighting for 6 years what advice would you give to yourself at the beginning of our infertility?
The advice I would give myself 6 years ago is to remain truly positive inside and out with complete understanding that circumstances are out of your hands and to remain patient. Also, to not let it take over your life in every way and continue to focus on building an amazing relationship with your wife.
What advice do you have for other husbands about infertility?
My biggest advice is simply one word, listen. It is instinctual as a human being and a man to try and fix every problem and by listening to your partner and yourself can allow a deeper of level of understanding and togetherness with your significant other.
What advice do you have to share with other wives about infertility?
Guys including myself will internalize many of the struggles we are going through during this process and being invested by listening to his inner thoughts can be very helpful.
What is one thing that has kept you going during our infertility struggles?
The love for my wife, the growth of our family, and our daughter Ellie who has made me realize even through hardship and struggle you will be rewarded with something truly great.
I think it is so beneficial to hear from the men in our lives and to take to heart their feelings and thoughts on this topic. Because they are fighting this disease alongside us we need to work together. Often times our men are our rocks and we forget the toll that this journey takes on them.
Thank you so much Thomas for sharing your heart today. I am so blessed that I get to fight this battle with you. Together we can beat this disease of infertility.
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