March 16, 2020
Dear Husband: How to Help Your Wife Deal with Infertility by Deanna Jackson
An illustration of a husband and wife with their hands gracefully placed upon a wedding bouquet of red and white rosesSource: The Burgundy Zine
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6.1 Million women between the ages of 15 to 44 have difficulty getting or staying pregnant. I am one of them.
My husband and I have been trying to conceive for 10 years. I say that loosely because I haven’t been on fertility treatments for the entire 10 years, but we’ve used no form of contraception. Through the years, I’ve never seen a “positive” or “double blue line” result, as showed on the pregnancy tests taken.
I read books on infertility and how women and their husbands can cope with the disease. Most of them authored by medical professionals, which I’m not discrediting, but I think it’s nice to hear from Plain Jane down the road who is fighting or has fought through infertility daily.
Although my husband knew I may have complications getting pregnant, neither of us knew the severity of my condition, and I wish there had been more support for my husband. With all the feelings and procedures, it was hard for me to see it at first, but the men in our lives go through the same emotions we do.
Sure, they aren’t pumping their bodies full of hormones and taking so many pills you lose count, but that doesn’t mean infertility just affects you.
This article really is for men. Whether she’s starting fertility treatments or both of you are preparing for the next step in your journey to parenthood, it’ll give you a few ideas on how to make the process easier.
You won’t be a miracle worker, but with a few small tips and gestures, you can be your wife’s hero.
Go to (Almost) Every Doctor’s Appointment
I say almost because I don’t mean every blood draw. There are a lot, and that’s excessive. During my fertility treatments, my doctor had me come in a few times a week for ultrasounds. I didn’t ask my husband to go with me to those appointments, and I should’ve.
I realize now that whether or not it was to celebrate the medications working; I needed his support after those appointments. If possible, figure out both of your schedules and come to an agreement of times that work for both of you to attend.
Don’t Force Her to Go to Your Cousin’s Baby Shower
It could be anyone’s baby shower really, but don’t force your wife to attend. I’ve been to a few over the 10 years we’ve been trying to conceive, but I chose if I wanted to or not.
Sometimes I could suck it up, put a smile on, and walk in with confidence. Sometimes I couldn’t. Let your spouse choose and help them relay the message to the mom to be.
The hardest part is declining the invite and having to say why. Support and help her out if she doesn’t feel up for it.
I don’t condone lying, but in this case, I feel like it can be forgiven if she’s “sick” that day. Also, if they know your situation and get mad when she doesn’t attend, do you really need them in your lives, anyway?
Remind Your Wife She’s Not Alone
The best thing a husband can do is remind their wives they’re not alone in this journey. Women who deal with infertility have good and bad days. It’s that simple.
Sometimes we see a cute baby and it makes us sad, or we see pregnancy announcements and we are happy for the expecting mother. There’s no right or wrong way to feel about either scenario, so remind your wife of that.
Offer to Help Your Wife with Her Medications
When my husband and I were trying to conceive through a Fertility Doctor, I had to take a lot of medications. It quickly turned into medications and shots. There were days I felt so overwhelmed by the amounts and times each one had to be taken that I wanted to give up.
Buy your wife a pill organizer and a planner. It’s simple, but effective. I’ll also add here that if she has started fertility shots, offer to give them to her. I’m not scared of needles and could’ve done it myself, but there was something comforting about my husband giving them to me.
Don’t Be Afraid to Talk About It
Whether it’s the man or women in the relationship who’s infertile, both people are going through it. It affected my husband when his closest friend’s wife got pregnant, and he was hesitant to talk to me about it. He kept a lot bottled up to spare my feelings.
I appreciated that, but it wasn’t necessary. Make sure your wife is up to chat and discuss how it made you feel. I’ll be the first to admit if you don’t talk about it, it can ruin your marriage.
Women dealing with infertility are more open about it than most men think. Proceed with caution, but don’t NOT bring it up.
If you’re struggling with how to do this, go see a marriage counselor. Most people think if you go to counseling, your marriage has failed. WRONG. Communication is key when dealing with infertility, and sometimes it’s nice to have someone on the outside help you through those tough conversations.
I hope these few ideas will help make the everyday battle of dealing with infertility a little easier. If you (husband) are infertile, hand this over to your wife. No matter what, always remember to fight and survive. You’ve got this!
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