I read an article tonight in the Washington Post magazine entitled INFERTILITY: The Man’s Private Heartache. It was very insightful on how men grieve the shock and seclusion of being infertile. One part of the article that I found very interesting was where the author, Ellen McCarthy, quoted some men’s posts in online message boards about the subject. Men feel inadequate and depressed that they can’t give their wives children. They struggle with finding the point of marriage since this part that should be considered easy is so hard. Another man said he wanted his wife to leave him and find another whom could she could love and father her child. Still another questioned if there was enough left to keep his wife with him if a baby was impossible.
I remember a dear friend of mine telling me how hurt her husband was when she miscarried. He, still, five plus years later, is still effected by it. She would be the first one to tell you that he was more effected by it then she was.
I enjoy reading about the inner feelings of husbands. It reminds me that my husband is human and he feels. It’s hard to remember that on a daily basis because 1. I am wrapped up in my own emotions 2. Young children are very vocal with their emotions and my ear is now trained on emotions that make sounds (ouch, no Mommy, I don’t want to, etc) instead of the non-verbal clues of sulking shoulders or a rigid posture.
If I have not recommended it before, let me now do so and recommend you read Women Power by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. So insightful.
(Hmm. I think reading that WP article has just opened the door to reading male blogs on serious subjects! (quick suck in of air) (cue music) dun dun dunnnn.)
The article prompted me to ask my husband some very pointed questions about how he felt about our ectopic. He answered honestly. I could hear the pain in his voice. I tried to encourage him. I say try because my desire, intent, motive, speech, tone, everything was for the purpose of encouraging him. I just doubt that it was effective. Men carry tremendous loads. I would say no more or less than a women BUT, and it’s a big but, we carry different weights and we carry our weights differently. Some days our burdens are heavier than others (ex. you are home with a sick child and up with same sick child at night while hubs is having a very normal non-eventful day at the office. Or you are having a great time of play and socialization with your friends and their children while hubs is having a hard season at the office). As much as I try to speak to the pain he carries from this, I am not convinced that my words help. At least, I don’t see the fruits right away. I speak nonetheless! I will be my husbands cheerleader and encourager. I have his back!
Let us not forget that our men feel; that he grieves the loss of a child with us although he may not present like us. He hurts and needs to be comforted too. Sometimes (or very often) his comfort and means of growing through it is doing for his wife. Give him a task. Not just any task. A task that you need or want that is attainable and personal to you. One where he can immediately see and reap the rewards of being able to do, accomplish, succeed for you. If you are like me, this may be hard. In my hurry to get back to my normal self, I eliminate all means of needing or accepting help because that is not my normal life. This, in turn, makes it hard for my man, who is already feeling low, to rise above because not only may he be thinking that he caused the problem, but then I go ahead and make it impossible for him to help resolve the problem (So much for having his back right?)
Let us not forget. As much as we go through with our husbands when they are having a difficult time, they also go through with us. If we miscarry, he miscarries. No. It’s not physical but it is emotional. If we have an ectopic pregnancy and have to go through the weeks of recovery, so does he. You are not the only one who is grieving.