There’s pressure on men too.
When it comes to growing a family, we as women take on a majority of the responsibility. After all, we grow life inside of us and birth our children. We take the vitamins, we modify our diet and exercise regimen, and go to dozens and dozens of appointments. Sure we have support from friends, family, and our spouses, but let’s be honest here—it’s mostly on our shoulders.
The same holds true for infertility.
When a family is making the efforts to grow and expand their home, we as women instantly feel the immense pressure on our shoulders. Writing down ovulation days and using sticks, coming off our current birth control method, and timing pregnancy with precision. Many women take progesterone injections and much more invasive courses of action to become pregnant.
When a couple is trying and pregnancy hasn’t happened, we feel defeated. We feel our bodies are inadequate. So we worry more and take on the role of full-time obstetrics patient to get the ball rolling.
But, men struggle too. And I don’t think it’s talked about enough.
Men are prideful, and a bit more reserved with this subject. And that’s perfectly OK. However, child-rearing and conceiving is a two-person ordeal.
So why is it when a guy tells his friends close, personal stories about not having children, the immediate thought is that it’s on us, the women? I’m OK with this, but let’s pause here for a second. Is it because men don’t want to consider that they are unable? Do they look over the possibility that it could be them because there is so much support behind helping women battle infertility?
Blame shouldn’t be attributed to the number of children in a home or lack thereof.
“Oh, she can’t get pregnant,” should never roll out of someone’s mouth. It’s inappropriate as it’s not a fault, it’s a condition. Scientifically, however, doctors will tell a couple the underlying reason for infertility falls on one spouse more than the other. And that’s where the tables turn—where women either feel heartbroken or their partner does.
I never thought much about it until it was our turn to try to conceive a child.
Here’s what we often hear as women, “Are YOU pregnant?” I heard it day in and day out. However, my husband informed me one day that his brain is wired to hear something completely different. He interprets the pressing question as “Did YOU get HER pregnant yet?” As though he’s the masculine man, doing what his body is supposed to.
Men are part of creating a life too. We need to shed light on the truth concerning men—that sometimes things are off in their bodies and for a multitude of reasons are unable to conceive or will have difficulty conceiving.
One-third of couples with infertility are due to the male’s reproductive issues. And 50 percent of those show no reasonable cause. One third!
Oftentimes, women are subjected to countless tests before the partner is tested, so it takes time for a man to realize he is the underlying factor in infertility.
I remember when my husband took a sperm test, and for a split second, I selfishly thought I hope it’s not my body’s problem alone. But then his results came back low. As a man, that’s really hard to come to terms with. The thought of not being able to not only have a child of your own but the truth in the matter that you can’t give your loving wife something her heart yearns for.
If you’ve experienced problems conceiving as a woman, you’ve felt that immeasurable weight of worry, men feel it too. The sadness, the loneliness, the low self-esteem, the tears—men experience it. Not only that, but there’s pressure on men to perform, for their bodies to do what they are meant to do. When that doesn’t happen, men suffer too. Men feel ashamed when their wife has to take the heated question and answer it, knowing their spouse is respectfully keeping their issues quiet.
It’s time to acknowledge the growing statistic of male infertility.
To share compassion with not just the wives but the husbands too. Sure there are treatments and procedures out there to aid in a couple’s infertility. But men don’t only need doctors. There needs to be more support for the male population suffering in silence, feeling guilty and embarrassed for their reproductive imbalances. There needs to be more discussion. There needs to be more understanding because men struggle, too.