“Buddy, it’s not like someone died! Get over this! Call me when you want to get together.”
He’s right. It’s not like someone died. It’s worse. After death, the iterative process of healing begins. With infertility, the emotional rawness can last for years. No wonder why you’re not interested in any holiday parties.
Men Are People Too
One of the consequences of the widespread myth that most infertility is female in origin is that the other half, the male partner, is ignored, both medically and emotionally.
Are men affected by infertility? You bet. Witness our recently published research about how profoundly infertility affects a man’s quality of life. Think of infertility as a disease just like cancer and its effect on daily life will become more apparent.
Where to Turn?
Who’s a guy to talk to when he’s in the dumps about not being able to have something that he always thought and always assumed he’d have? Your friends? (see above); Your parents? (“You think you got problems, son? What about me?”); Your work colleagues? (“Are you sick or something?”); Your spouse? (“I really have to be strong for her”). Not many good options out there for most men.
So for the holidays, consider reading my “Guide to Surviving he Holiday Season.” It will remind you that you are not actually a machine but a living, breathing organism that responds to, and is affected by, those around you.
And, if you have been hit particularly hard by the “Infertility Crud” this season, consider the following in some quiet evening: join the online forum TheTurekClinicSupport.com. Although only a few months old, this venue for men has come alive with incredible stories, intense feelings, surrealistic hopes and poignant ponderings about life, love, fatherhood and manhood. It has become place of healing.
While reading the Forum recently, I was struck by the following:
- Although they may not be able to say it or show it, men feel in impressively deep and profound ways.
- With the help of others, men can heal and probably heal faster and than if left alone.
- Getting control of the runaway beast that is infertility begins with facing it squarely and seeing it for what it is: a disease, like any other, of no fault of your own.
- The cure here is not necessarily the baby, but gaining control of the issue. Men affected by infertility are no longer trying to land the plane, but instead are trying to reverse the downward spiral inflicted upon them.
- When doors close, windows open. There is always a path ahead.
So, go ahead and say no to the holiday parties this year. Instead, find the strength that lies within and around you. In the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”