This is a guest post from Greg Wolfe, author of How to Make Love to a Plastic Cup: A Guy’s Guide to the World of Fertility. Greg grew up in the San Fernando Valley and worked with the Groundlings and Acme Theater improv groups in Los Angeles while earning his master’s degree in education. Currently residing in Valencia, California, Greg and his wife Julie went through five IVF cycles before joyfully welcoming their son, Connor, into the world in March, 2009. Connor owes them big-time.
When people find out I’m infertile (I mean, it’s not like I’m proud of it or anything, yelling it from the rooftops, but occasionally, after a few drinks and I’m feeling comfortable…. Anyway, the main question they ask is “How do you feel about it?” The answer? Oh, I feel it’s truly a blessing. Please! IT SUCKS! Obviously. Especially if you’re a man.
See, I know from experience that one of the few things we men feel we are biologically pre-programmed to do besides kill spiders and move heavy furniture is to become daddies, and when that doesn’t go according to plan, well, we tend to take it personally. VERY personally.
At the risk of sounding stereotypically guy-ish, when we see something broken, our instinct is to want to fix it. When it turns out the fixing is out of our control, we tend to feel like failures… whether it’s warranted or not. And whether we actually SHOW IT or not.
Even in today’s world where vampires are sparkly emo-boys, men get calf implants and Matt Damon passes for an action hero, we men are still expected to act like men, as in “suck it up, don’t complain, no one wants to see you cry.” But when something like infertility comes along, we feel BAD.
Bad for ourselves and our situation, and REALLY bad for our wives, who have to endure the pain of weeks of injections and hormone treatments because of OUR problem! We’re sure they hate us, when really they’re just acting like women who, well, have gone through weeks of injections and hormone treatments.
We feel like we have no one to talk to: we can’t talk to our guy friends: “Hey, Bob, so my sperm is crappy.” “Yeah, that’s too bad. Hey, pass the buffalo sauce.” And we can’t talk to our wives, since in mens minds, we’re supposed to be the emotional rock in our relationship, there to comfort our women. I never said we were smart, just men.
So what do you do? You talk. Men, talk with your wives. Tell them how you’re really feeling. How your ego is crushed, and how you feel bad. She won’t laugh. I promise. And women, talk to your husbands. Tell them you know just how they feel. Use a lot of sports references like “team” and “rebuilding year.” They’ll love that – and maybe think all those hormones you took gave you some creepy psychic ability.
The main thing is never to stay down, never to let infertility beat you. If you want to have children badly enough, know that you will. It may not happen the way you planned, but it will happen.
- Author website: www.plasticcupbook.com