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How Infertility Affects HIM

Sarah Preston Gorenstein

I won’t go so far as to say infertility is harder on my husband than it is on me, but it’s easy to forget that this affects both of us. I might be the one complaining about the drugs and shots, and generally feeling like complete shit most of the time—but he’s the one who has to deal with me complaining and feeling like shit. And I’ll be the first to admit: That’s not a job I’d be thrilled with either.

The days and nights I’m out of commission and getting to know my bed a little better, he gets the brunt of the work around the house, and has to figure out how to keep our three-year-old (who isn’t napping anymore) entertained all day. I’ve had more medicated cycles than I’d like to count since last May (the one in 2011), and that’s meant more “sick” days than I’d like to remember. While feeling crappy is the name of the infertility game, at times I think it’s even worse to be the one who’s feeling well but having to put up with the person who's feeling crappy. You’re helpless and have no choice but to persevere if it’s something you both want. Infertility isn’t for the weak, my friends, whether it's you or your spouse.

Then there’s the post-transfer bed rest, which I usually spend at my parent’s house, to make sure I’m allowing myself ample time to rest. We figured out early on in this process that me being home on bed rest was much more difficult for my husband and son. If I’m home, Preston only wants to play with me. If I’m not home, he’s happy hanging with dad. I hate leaving him for days at a time but we've tried it both ways, and it's much easier when I stay out of the house during this crucial period. Plus, I absolutely hate my son seeing me lying in bed. If I had a nickel for every time we’ve had to tell him “Mommy isn’t feeling well” or “Mommy’s back hurts”…unfortunately it wouldn't make a difference because I'd still be going through this.

As most three-year-olds do, he’s started repeating these excuses back to me. “I don’t want to brush my teeth, my back hurts.”

But I suppose that’s better than him saying, “I don’t want to go to school today, I’m too bloated and hormonal.”

It’s not just the difficulties of my husband having to pick up the slack when I’m not feeling well, it’s the difficulties of having to deal with me. I’m a handful when I’m in the middle of an FET cycle—it’s draining physically, yes, but the emotional side of it has gotten worse over time. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to deal with me and I am me.

Thankfully my husband holds up really well in these situations, so he hardly complains. He’s always there to keep the mood light and keep Preston as happy and oblivious as possible.

What helps us both get through it? This is something we both want—equally. Through all of this, even the many let-downs we've had, I’ve never had to twist his arm to keep on trying—it's always a given. I can only imagine how difficult all of this would be if both people weren’t totally on board for it. I couldn’t imagine suffering through this without total and complete buy-in from him. I can see how infertility can either make your marriage stronger, or tear it apart—thankfully, it’s brought us closer.

So, this is a shout-out to the husbands, dads and partners supporting their women going through infertility. It’s awful for us—unimaginably hard on so many levels—but I doubt it’s much easier for you guys.

Does your husband ever talk about how infertility affects him? Love to hear how he deals with it. Share below. 

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