You may be confused by the title of this blog entry.
At first, the question in your head may be “really? We need support?” and the answer is that, like wearing a jock strap, indeed we do need a little support.
Though men will be the last to admit it, as we are with just about anything else in our lives, we need help in coping with our struggles in doing “what nature intended”, in just about every facet.
The tribulations that come with infertility certainly strike males hard, and admittedly differently than they do women. When our partner goes through emotional turmoil, we put aside all of our feelings and support them, but do we take proper concern of where we sit? For the mostpart, no, we do not.
There is an acute demonstration that we are in need of a support network. We need to be able to talk (at times outside of our relationships with our significant others) with those who can provide us with the listening ear, supportive voice and the basic comfort as we embark on the long journey that is the road to having our children.
I know this from experience.
In 2015 my wife gave birth to our baby daughter. Holding my new girl, Kaia, was incredible. It was a moment I longed for, particularly while we suffered through six years of infertility. Ultimately, Kaia was the product of IVF and came to be after many procedures, trials and tests (including a not-so-wonderful story of lights going out at the worst possible time, but more on this in the future). Along the way we joined the Infertility Awareness Association of Canada (now known as Fertility Matters Canada) and attended their infertility support groups locally.
Not surprisingly, I was one of the few males who attended on a regular basis. That was fine for me, since I’ve always had an easier time talking with women (well, except in high school), but it definitely is not the same for guys. It was immensely hard to talk with my male friends about what was going on for us and it took a long time for me to be able to share it, both directly in discussing infertility and the offshoot issues I was experiencing with my mental health.
The funny thing is the more I talked the better I felt. I definitely would not have been able to navigate the trip we took halfway across Canada to have our IVF procedure properly without opening up.
But to go back to what I said a couple paragraphs up, while the support group with lack of males was an okay setting for me, for most guys it is not. There are so many stigmas attached to men talking about what is going on that it makes it impossible to truly be able open up properly. The idea of “rub some dirt on it and get back in there”, as archaic as it is, resonates so loudly that we close ourselves off, become robotic and just go about our days without any true sense of self or the help we need.
Discovering websites and forums like dontcookyourballs.com opens those opportunities, and it would have been beneficial to me the first time around, and certainly, as the infertility road never truly closes, the community being built here will be of asset as I continue on this journey with my family.
I hope that by sharing my story I can help inspire you to share yours. The one thing I’ve learned since I started to talk publicly about my journey is that you never know who you will touch. A website like this one exists because there is the need for it – a male-focused community where we can talk among our brothers, share our experiences and help each other get past our fears and issues.