When we talk about fertility issues and the emotional challenges, we often neglect to discuss men and what they are experiencing.
The reality is men and women process emotions differently, but men do struggle as well. How the struggle is communicated and how it shows up is different, but it’s important to take notice.
Men can harbor feelings of inadequacy, performance anxiety, and an overall sense of not knowing the right thing to say or do to support their partner. Why does this matter?
Creating a Deeper Bond
When men are given the tools and support they can play a critical role in easing the burden that often sits entirely on their significant other. Men can emotionally engage at a deeper level to create a level of trust and safety that releases some of the frustration and loneliness women experience on this journey. This deeper bond has a profound effect on quality of life and the reproductive journey.
This is easier said than done when a man’s role often becomes one segregated to Director of Sperm Production and Distribution and the advocate for “it’s going to be okay.”
With this as the backdrop, here are my top five suggestions for future dads.
- Emotional Investment: Your emotional and physical role are equally important. When you share and communicate your feelings and express your pain, you can create a stronger connection and understanding with your partner. Dedicate time every week to doing nothing more than just sharing your thoughts in a judgment-free space as a couple.
- Feel vs Fix: Even though it’s our nature to want to solve the problem and find the fix, allow space for a good old-fashioned venting session. It’s healthy for you and your partner. The alternative is suppressing your feelings, which leads to greater levels of resentment and isolation.
- People not Parts: As you try to solve your fertility struggle, you may feel like there are “parts” that need fixing. Life often becomes robotic and you lose the sense of who you are as individuals and as a couple. Remember we are physical and emotional beings. Set boundaries and protect things that bring you joy, connection, and meaning.
- Trying vs Living: Often life is put “on hold” as you seek solutions to fertility struggles. Happiness and moving forward with goals becomes a distant thought. Many people feel as if they give up living because they are living to try. This time of trying to conceive matters just as much as the time when you will be parents. Moving forward in life can co-exist with building your family. Come together as a couple and prioritize things that keep you excited about life now and this special time you have together. Living and trying can co-exist.
- Own Your Journey: Comparison is a natural process especially when you feel like you are slipping behind. The thoughts and corresponding feelings when you compare, lead to anger, jealousy, and resentment. The fact is this is your journey… no one else’s. Take time as a couple to find the uniqueness of your journey and the little gifts you are gaining through this experience—celebrate them! Relationships grow and evolve during hard times. Use this time to create a stronger foundation for your future family.
Thank you for contributing such insightful advice, Marc. Intended parents, if you’re interested in learning more about Organic Conceptions and their incredible work, check them out here.