How men feel during infertility
My wife and I had a 10-year journey of infertility involving both male and female infertility. First, my wife has fertility problems and when they were finally all resolved we found out I was infertile. We’ve seen infertility from most angles! However, we went on to conceive our son against all odds. And while we experienced infertility together, we also reacted and responded to it in different ways. From my point of view, here’s how men feel during infertility.
5 things a man feels during infertility
Your man may feel responsible for being the ‘strong one’ in the relationship. For being there for you when you need it. For not showing any emotion because he doesn’t want to burden you. He wants to make this journey as easy for you as possible.
I was not aware that by doing this I was making it worse. My wife felt alone on the journey because I wasn’t sharing my emotions. I didn’t recognize that that’s how women want to connect – emotionally. She wanted to feel us being in it together. To understand how I felt too and for her feelings to be understood by me. That doesn’t mean we have to feel the same thing it means understanding how each other feel about the situation.
Your man may be confused as to how to best support you in all this. When he sees you upset he wants to make it better. When he tries it often ends up making it worse! This is a masculine and feminine thing. Often men do not know how to deal with feminine energy, feminine emotion. They don’t like to see their woman feeling upset or in pain and they want to fix it, they want to change it.
Women just want to be seen, felt, heard. They don’t want their man to change it, they want them to understand it. They want their man to hold a space for that emotion without any judgment or evaluation of it. For them to feel okay for feeling it. They don’t want their man to fix their problem – they can fix their own problems – they just want to feel understood in the problem. So many men do not understand this. I didn’t until we were in the midst of our fertility journey. Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t always get it right! By far more where the error of my ways when I try and fix how my wife is feeling.
As impossible as this seems your man may actually not be feeling much at all. Now technically that isn’t true but that is their experience. Men often have a very distant relationship with emotions for various reasons. Culturally men are brought up in a society that says big boys don’t cry. Men are bombarded with messages that being a man means not being emotional. That being emotional is a weakness. Consciously they know that’s not true. But unconsciously that is the message they have been getting from a very young age.
There may be other reasons why men have a distance relationship with emotions. Perhaps there was stuff that happened in their childhood that hasn’t been processed or acknowledged it’s easy just to bury it as a protection mechanism. However, this can often result in burying all emotions. This was certainly my experience.
In times of stress men going to their ‘nothing’ place in their head. In times of stress, women want to talk about how they feel about it. Nothing infuriates a woman more than seeing a man doing ‘nothing’ (e.g. channel surfing, playing computer games). Nothing infuriates a man more than a woman wanting to talk about something ‘over and over’ when they don’t see it as actually helping solve the problem. Neither is right or wrong. Just different.
If your man has fertility problems himself he may be judging himself to be less of a man in some way. He may subconsciously think that part of his core manliness is missing, that compared to other men he is less of a man because he cannot father children. He may be consciously aware of it, it may be an under-current he hasn’t acknowledged or doesn’t want to acknowledge. He may feel inadequate as a husband if he judges it to be his fault that you cannot have children.
I could see my wife was just born to parent. She was a natural. And there was me (after her own eight-year fertility journey) being the reason she couldn’t be a parent, the things she wanted most in life.
If the fertility problem lies with him he may be fearful that ultimately you may leave him. That one day your desire to have children will be stronger than the relationship. This sounds quite extreme and you can never imagine it happening but fear is the misuse of imagination. It runs away with itself and loses a sense of perspective and reality. It’s plausible in the man’s mind. It doesn’t mean they think there is anything wrong with the relationship now or that you don’t love them, it just part of them is racing ahead to some time in the future and you have a change of heart, that your desire to have children is too strong to ignore and stronger than the relationship may be in the future.
Russell Davis is a fertility Coach and Cognitive Hypnotherapist, writer and speaker and helps people remove psychological blocks to getting pregnant. Russell’s personal experience echoes his belief that too many couples go through fertility treatment unnecessarily and that the success rate of treatment is unnecessarily low. Whether natural or assisted conception, Russell has helped hundreds of couples all over the world move from despair to hope to success. Russell founded The Fertile Mind fertility mind-body programs and coaching based on him and his wife’s 10-year double infertility journey which resulted in the natural conception of their son. Find out more about Russell and his work at www.thefertilemind.net.