When I think back to when I began to open up as an infertile man I tried to remember the moment when it all changed. It took me a while but I came back to when I admitted to my wife that I was worried that something could be wrong after 18 months of trying to have a child. It was on the way home after our first Reproductive Endocrinologist appointment.
In the two weeks prior to that appointment my wife expressed fears that something could be wrong. Trying to play the role of being a big strong man, I consoled her and told her that it could just be bad timing or stress that was the reason she hasn’t gotten pregnant. Though in the back of my mind I thought there might have been something wrong.
On that car ride home I continued to console her while she was complaining about the tests she would have to go through while I just had to give a sperm sample. She then asked me if I was scared and that if I was I should stop hiding it because me trying to be the big tough man wasn’t helping her. She has known me long enough plus being an attorney she knows when to spot BS. It was then that I told her I was scared something was wrong. It made her feel better and better supported knowing I was scared too and that she wasn’t crazy. But I told her the problem might not be her, it might be with me. That night and the following day we told both sets of parents that we had been trying to have children and now were getting tested to see if something was wrong.
Five days later I gave my first sperm sample. Three hours after giving that sample our world changed forever when I got a call from the doctor saying that my sample produced zero sperm. That was a rough day and night for us and having a supportive amazingly loving wife helped me get through it. It would have been worse though had that been the first day I didn’t open up to my wife. In the following weeks after a second sperm analysis produced the same result and blood tests explained my diagnosis, I went into a funk that I have still not and may never recover from.
A few weeks later, I was at a very low point when along with the help of my wife convinced myself that I needed to see a therapist. I didn’t know what to expect. The therapy center specialized in those going through infertility and adoption so I felt confident they knew what they were doing. The first appointment went well and was the first time in the previous month that I felt normal. While it has been a roller coaster ride the last nine months (ironic that its been that long) I can honestly say that opening up to my wife and seeking therapy were the best decisions I made to address the emotional pain I am and have been going through.
If I could give other guys going through IF advice it would be to find an outlet to open up to. I’m not suggesting that every guy should come out and be as open as I have. Everyone is different and there is no right or wrong way to open up. But I think it’s important to open up and have some type of outlet be it telling their partner, friend, family member or therapist. Trying to be the big tough guy bottling it up is only going to make it worse. Part of being a big tough guy is having the ability to admit flaws. At the end of the day, it will make you a better person and a stronger man.