I know once some people see that this is being written by a woman, they will automatically wonder how I could possibly know how men handle infertility. While I’ll admit I don’t get it all, I do know a lot of men who have experienced it firsthand, and I have learned a thing or two as I’ve watched them battle infertility.
My husband is also a main reason I wanted to cover this. He’s a tough guy. He’s in the military and was recently out of the country. He fully enjoys hunting. He’s an Ironman (70.3 . . . twice). He’s a runner/lifter/etc. He’s quick-witted and quick to defend his family. If it weren’t so cheesy, I’d say he’s a man’s man. Watching his reactions to infertility gave me a lot of insight.
Here’s a short list of things the men I know did to help handle infertility:
1-Buy something frivolous. My husband bought a motorcycle. And you know, that motorcycle ended up being one of the best things we did before we adopted. It allowed us to do something that we could really only do before kids. It took our minds off of the fact that we weren’t parents, even if it was only for an hour or so at a time.
2-Find something to fix. A lot of the men I know are what I call “fixers.” They see or hear about a problem and they want to help fix the problem. With infertility, that ability to fix things is taken away. The sense of control they once had is long gone. My husband chose an old Jeep to work on.
3-Go to a shooting range. Nothing says “let’s let off some steam” like shooting a target for a while. Tyson enjoyed shooting (still does), and one of his closest friends who deals with infertility also enjoys it to let off steam.
4-Learn a new skill or pick up a new hobby. My husband picked up biking. He wasn’t ever very into it before, but as stress levels rose, his drive to work out did too. It also allowed him time to think and clear his head.
5-Map it out. The biggest thing that I remember my husband doing is making a plan. Now, that plan obviously changed, and there were multiple plans in case of changes, but for him, being able to think through the process of what was going on and what control he had helped a lot.
On top of those 5 things, there were a couple of things I did to try to be supportive.
1-Give him time. He didn’t always want to talk about it and his feelings. I learned to give him space until he was ready.
2-Focus on us, not us with a child. I had gotten so wrapped up in becoming a mom, I often forgot that he still needed his wife. He needed to be reminded that his role as husband was priority to me. Not his hopeful father-to-be role. He needed to be accepted as a man, not just as a man dealing with infertility.