Does Infertility Mean Never Having to Buy a Father's Day Card? Let's Hope Not
The only day that matches Mother’s Day when it comes to infertility and pain, is Father’s Day. They are kind of two peas in a pod, aren’t they?
Lovely, paired reminders of what we don’t have again this year. Maybe you were hopeful that this would be the year that would make your daddy dreams come true. Where you could be the one showing off your little one, where you could be parading the baby of your dreams around on your shoulders or held lovingly in your arms.
Getting Through Father's Day With Infertility
What’s happening instead is a mighty poor substitute. Instead of the baby in their arms, they are taking care of us. And we generally, are not grateful, because we’re too sad. Too angry. Too frustrated. Too disappointed. Too full of fear.
Happy images of fathers and children can pierce our hearts at this time of year when we are still without ours. And they are everywhere as Father’s Day approaches.
Our husbands often have previews of how it is to be a father before there are children in the house or in their arms as they try their hardest to take care of us.
At the risk of making sweeping generalizations, our husbands/partners/boyfriends often want to fix things. Whether it’s a mechanical problem or an emotional one, they tend to want to fix it.
Our focus, as women, tends to be on the baby. Their focus tends to be on us.
And so it turns into them wanting to fix things for us. Not necessarily fix us. But definitely, they want to fix the infertility for us. Make those babies appear. Their focus is generally more on us as we focus more on the fertility treatments.
Yes, they want their families to expand to include children, but often, very, very often, they are more concerned with us. With our staying sane through the process. With us staying as hopeful and as happy as possible.
How many times have I heard about how positive and upbeat the men are in this process? Some women find it disconcerting how positive their male counterparts seem to be. Doesn’t it even seem that the more upset, disappointed, frustrated and downright heartbroken we are, the more frantically positive they become?
As we move to the extreme, so do they. There is that intuitive moving towards balance that is a really healthy response. The problem can be that it feels awfully lonely hanging out there on one side of the seesaw all by yourself. And while we may not really want our partners to be sitting on the seesaw, hanging out in the lowest of low moods, neither do we really want to be there by ourselves. Not so much a case of misery loves company as it is an extra burden to have to feel isolated and alone in addition to having infertility problems.
Emerging from Isolation
How about we take the hand that is being offered by our loved one? Take that boost up. With a deep breath, consider they could be right. It could all work out in the end. A healthy, successful pregnancy with a baby could be the dream ending you are wishing and hoping for.
After all, just like you are alone on the bottom of the seesaw, so is your partner hanging out all by himself/herself up there in the air.
Both partners want to feel like they are in this together. Both partners want to know that they aren’t alone; that they have each other’s backs. And while this isn’t necessarily fixable by one or the other of you, neither do you have to be alone.
Whether you are on the bottom or top of the seesaw, consider the balance offered in the middle. Where you both can see the ground, firmly below you and the sky clear above you.
Maybe that's the best possible way to spend Father's Day this year. In balance, looking into one another's eyes.
And hope that next year is the one that we will spend showing off our babies.
For now, we are enough, together.
About Lisa Rosenthal
Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.
Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.
Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.
Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.