Between the celebrating and the infertility reminders, Father's Day can be, well, weird, in our house. Just like Mother's Day, this magical Sunday in June is a bipolar mix of reasons to be happy and reasons to go cry for a bit in the bathroom. Make no mistake, Father's Day in our home will be full of celebrating my husband, Derrick. Jackson, our 4-year-old, is already picking out things that he wants to buy Daddy, although Jackson also thinks that they will be making me breakfast in bed à la Mother's Day. Hey, I'll take it.
But among the celebrations, reminders of our struggle with infertility will emerge. Because we will meet with our reproductive endocrinologist in July to start discussing our first in vitro fertilization protocol, this Father's Day will seem especially different. We'll be wondering if we're on the verge of growing our family or if we'll remain a family of three. As I plan to celebrate my husband and Jackson's daddy, I am reminded that he is right in the trenches with me during this whole infertility nonsense. In fact, Parenting.com just ran a great article written by a husband who has been through infertility and lived to tell the tale. Husbands on the infertility journey must have distinct traits in order to survive it and to pull wives like me through it. As I see it, here are a few traits that we should celebrate this Father's Day, whether you've had successful treatment or not.
A sense of humor
When your injectable medications are messing with your hormones so much that you cry at the drop of a hat and then scream at whoever dropped that hat, you have to laugh about it. Husbands in the infertility journey not only can laugh about it, but they can often get us to laugh about it too.
Husbands on the infertility journey need to be careful about starting a discussion about next treatment steps too close to a failed cycle because it could lead us into the depths of despair. Our partners know the right time to make us laugh about our latest emotional breakdown in Target's baby aisle while shopping for baby gifts. It's a tricky place to be for these guys, always on guard for our emotional twists and turns, but they hang in there, and we are better for it.
A 'Mr. Fix-It' personality
Admittedly, my husband's desire to fix everything drives me absolutely bonkers. However, sometimes it is good to have his "if this doesn't work, we'll try something else" perspective when a cycle fails and I can't see past the negative pregnancy test.
The ability to share
Husbands walking with infertility have to share loads of TMI (too much information). From his wife's—ahem—anatomy to his sperm count and motility, a partner realizes that everything is an open book when it comes to infertility. I'm especially lucky with this aspect as I am (obviously) open about our struggles. Derrick is in it with me and has never complained about my transparency with our journey. He sees how many people have been positively impacted by our willingness to speak out and is more than happy to share these parts of our life.
A listening ear and a bottle of wine
Partners who are in the thick of infertility treatments and protocols often learn, quite quickly, how to be good listeners. They learn how to shush their internal male sense to fix situations and just listen. They learn when to pour a glass of wine, turn on the latest episode of "So You Think You Can Dance" (maybe this is just me) and just be quiet. We wives have plenty to say and plenty of feelings to process, but we'll do it when we are ready. Sometimes, we just want to forget about the journey for a few hours.
I know that your partner probably has plenty of other qualities that are leading you through this journey. I also know that this infertility stuff is certainly not what you had planned for your life when the two of you committed to each other. But here you are—here we all are—together. This Father's Day, let me be the first to say thank you to all the men who are holding our hands on this very lonely road. You guys are awesome, and we're grateful.