Unbearable: Infertility Doesn’t Just Affect Women

Having a child is usually a happy time in a woman’s life. Unfortunately, as we wait longer to have children, infertility and trouble conceiving can become a part of the family making process. Unbearable addresses these difficulties.

Infertility affects every aspect of your life. We’ve talked about the stress on your friendships, on your finances and on your entire life. To be honest, I’ve avoided talking about one very important aspect of your life that difficulty conceiving changes. It’s your marriage. Of course it’s your marriage. Because while I sit here writing about my struggles and my feelings and my concerns, my husband has them too. In fact, he has struggles all his own.

My husband and I work really hard at communicating well. We have a wonderful relationship. But there are times when I feel more comfortable typing out my feelings about infertility for thousands of people to read than I do discussing them at home. Here, on a website where I get to pose questions and discuss problems, no decisions have to be made. Online, even with commenters, I get to share my opinion and not consider anyone else’s feelings. I appreciate it when others add to the discussion, but they don’t always have an impact on my personal choices.

All of that changes when I have to sit down and talk with my husband. His opinions matter just as much as mine do. And like all of our most personal decisions, it’s difficult to compromise on such an emotionally-charged issue. It’s hard to rationally explain what you want to do when there’s little logic involved in your decision. Realistically, should we spend thousands of dollars to have another child (who will then cost thousands more dollars once they’re born), when we already have a beautiful little girl that we adore? Possibly not. That fact doesn’t diminish my desire to get pregnant again. But I won’t be the only one getting pregnant. My husband will too. So we both have to have enough desire to justify what might be an illogical choice.

To begin the fertility clinic process, couples need to have a very serious and in depth conversation about what they are hoping to achieve, how far they’re willing to go and where they will draw the line. These are difficult decisions to make. But a couple must be in agreement before they start this process. Like any stressful situation, failing to agree before acting can cause major resentment within a marriage. As much as I want a child, I want to have that child with my husband. If I let infertility ruin my relationship, it won’t matter whether I get pregnant or not.

Often, people assume that the female desperately wants a child and her husband is just tagging along for the ride. Doctors and nurses sometimes don’t even address the man, speaking solely to the woman. Friends and family rarely ask the husband how the fertility process is going. In general, society tends to look at infertility as strictly a woman’s issue. Yes, many women conceive through IVF with a sperm donor and don’t have a partner’s opinions to consider. Those amazingly strong women all have their own stories to tell. But there are also thousands of men who wake up early with their nauseous, exhausted, hormone-pumped partners, who practice for hours plunging a needle into random citrus before trying to give their wives injections and who sit anxiously through doctor’s appointments and tests only to be disappointed with negative results. Men share this struggle. Their opinions and thoughts are just as relevent. Their fears and concerns are just as warranted.

In our household, I’m luck y that infertility has been a team battle. No matter how hard it is to consider someone else’s thoughts, when I’ve spent so much effort trying to discern my own, its something that I have to do. Thankfully, my husband is just as committed.

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