Doubt: The Infertile Couples Nightmare
There is an unfortunate truth in this world that I have experienced. Women are far more likely than men to suffer from confidence issues. After I married my wife I would randomly read her magazines. One of her regular rags was Mode Magazine. It is no longer in print but it spoke to “real size women”. The first thing I learned was that the accepted standard for the low-end of “plus size” is embarrassing. The low-end plus size women would be a women such as the talented singer Adele pictured below. I do realize she has had public battles with size image. But some people have a preconceived notion of who she is from the shape of her frame. The concept that a woman is somehow damaged goods, less desirable, or lesser a person due to their size is just ignorant thinking.
I need to get back to the subject matter addressed in Mode. That magazine sought to make the average American woman understand her worth and beauty are internal not external. Magazines, commercials, movies, and even cartoons all work overtime to perpetuate an image of women that simply is inappropriate and sad. Do we want our daughters to become Victoria Secret Bombshells first and smart and confident people second? In some cases it seems as if they are not smart and confident it is even better. This is an unfortunate reality that scares the hell out of me as a father to a lovely red-headed angel. Women often start off their formative years battling the inane.
When my wife and I began our fertility treatments she was already like some women thinking she did not measure up. Now she was committing emotional suicide because she felt less a woman because she had not yet successfully birthed a child. The process of everything that goes with fertility treatments is tasking enough but when you add to it societies position on women it can become extraordinarily painful. As a man how do you combat this? How do you help your wife understand that fertility issues are bad luck and not a reflection on her?
There is not a skeleton key that once turned solves the confidence issue. What works for me may not work for others so take this opinion with a grain of salt. Take what you want and leave the rest. It is very important , as man, to remove the ego during these tough times. You cannot fix the fertility problem like you would plunge a broken toilet or punch a man in the face for saying something horrible to the love of your life. You have to dig deep and understand that maybe all you need to do sometimes is be quiet or let her rest her head on your lap. Ask questions often and listen to what she says. It is important to hear what she is saying and what she is feeling because when you are at your fertility appointments she may forget things because so many thoughts are on her mind. The more you know the more likely she may be to not think that you are uncaring or unattached to the fertility process. You have to be involved. This is we issue and not a she issue.
You married your wife for many reasons. You married her because she was attractive, smart,or your missing other half, or any number of other things. Remind her of this. It is highly unlikely you would have married a horrible person. Remember love is labor but it is the best kind of labor because it enriches your life. If a couple can get through the fertility rollercoaster (with or without a child) then nothing will ever tear you apart. It is important to remind your wife you love her and that she makes your life worth living. My wife gave me life the day she married me. She made my life a better place and when we had the first miscarriage nothing changed, when we gave up on fertility treatments nothing changed, when we tried for a baby one last time and every odd was against us I saw what made me love her and not once what she perceived as a shortcoming.
Most women do not want you to be Superman just a man. Doubt is just a feeling. It is an emotion or fear. It can only hurt you if you let it and trust me sometimes no matter what you do you will have days where it gets the best of you but sometimes you can beat it. Be open with one another and do not keep your fear to yourself. You may be fearful of the same things your wife is and her knowledge of that can relieve a great deal of pressure. You are never alone. All it takes is reading a news stream on any Facebook Fertility Support page to realize others know your pain. Love each other and make sure you both understand that not matter the result you will have each other. I love you all and best of luck.