Honoring Father’s Day for the Infertile
JUNE 14, 2013 – 4 COMMENTS
Well, Father’s Day will be here in just a few more days and although I am not yet a father (in spite of 6 years of trying), I think us man-folk spend our lives ‘pre-child’ in father training. I guess that makes all of the issues we face battling infertility kind of like some terrible, grueling father boot camp. So, let’s put a slightly different spin on things this Father’s Day by considering the qualities that you would use to define a good father and see if it takes those same qualities to be at this crazy infertility/family building game for the duration that some of us have. Here are a few of the qualities that I have identified as necessary to be a good father: being patient, stoic, and resourceful. DISCLAIMER: I started typing this and saw that it was getting to long, so I limited it to 3. The 4th would be compassion.
A dad has to be patient. How else will you deal with the ever-changing personality, demeanor, and motivations of a growing child? Definitely, if you are a hot-tempered person, it will be difficult to deal with a son that transitions from wearing what you tell him, to wearing baggy pants and everything black, to wearing t-shirts and flip-flops (talking about myself if anyone was curious). Looking back at what I would wear, my dad must have been very patient to even walk with me in public. With fertility, it is the exact same, patience is a MUST! You cannot go through an extensive IVF stimulation, retriveal, transfer, and pregnancy test cycle without some extreme measure of patience. I am talking melt steel with your eyes, Superman-style, kinda patience. Now do all of that and have the result be negative, hopefully you have some patience hidden away in the garage or tool box to call in order to get back on that crazy infertility train.
Are you stoic? I think a good dad must be able to be rapidly inserted in nearly any situation and be able to respond calmly and rationally. What if you just found out your son was lying to you about going to school and was actually skipping 2-3 classes a day (Yep, me again)? Would you respond with anger, throwing stuff, and cursing? Not my dad. We talked. He wanted to get to the bottom of where this rebellion was coming from and how the thought in my head could be changed to remove the mysticism and positivity that my new-found rebellion allegedly offered. For us hopeful-to-be dads, there is no way around a stoic disposition. How else would we be able to console our wife/girlfriend who is wrapped in a thorn-riddled emotional vine on the couch after finding out our latest round was not successful unless we are stoic? Do we want to cry…(Men don’t cry, they leak water) sure. Do we want to destroy our house because we don’t know how to properly express our anger and frustration… obviously. What do we do? We sit on the couch, unsure of what to say, unsure of what to do, and unsure of where to even put our hands. But we do it without letting any of our feelings show because we think that being stoic is the best way to help her through what she is feeling.
Resourceful. If your dad was resourceful, he would do things like fashion a home-made trolling motor mount on the family canoe so that he could spend some time with you on the reservoirs fishing and having father/kid time doing something you both enjoyed. (Example from me again, get the trend yet?) For my fellow gents in the fertility trenches, I have to brag, we are a resourceful bunch. We have to be. How can you wrap your head around the idea of inflicting pain on your significant lady-person every night and make it bearable for her without being resourceful. You can’t. So, you incentivize it, “Alright sweet lady-person, for every sub-Q shot, you will earn a $1 for maternity clothes. For every intramuscular shot, $2.” Will you go broke…nope you are already there. Will it help her cope…hopefully. You buy stupid-silly bandaids and make a big deal out of them so that when she is getting ready for the next shot, you can both say good bye to the Muppets Animal bandaid that kept her company the night before. We do everything we can to help take some of the burden away, to distract her, to convince both yourself and her that ultimately it is all worth it. Yep, we are resourceful.
So dad, thank you for being such a patient, stoic, and resourceful person as I grew and still today. I hope that my child or children will think the same of me.
One final thing, there are those guys out there that have had only a brief time with their child as a result of child loss or miscarriage. Although I cannot directly relate to your feelings, know that your ability to be a father is not limited to living children. I believe that the memories that you carry in your heart and mind and that feeling in the back of your throat is not only your love for your child, but also your child honoring the father you were while they were with you.
Happy Father’s Day to all men out there that either have a family or have dreams of having a family!