the strong one

Myth: “I can’t let her see how upset I am that this cycle didn’t work.”

This myth is listed under Male Infertility, but I think it applies to each person dealing with infertility. Men often feel the need to be strong, to be the one who will not crumble under disappointment.

I remember going through treatment and being crushed with every failure, devastated by each miscarriage, so disappointed each time another obstacle was placed in the way of parenthood. I fell apart often, being very emotional, in private. My ex never let me see that pain. He kept up the positive attitude, sharing the hope he had with me when I felt like I had none left. He never broke down, never lost his temper, never cried.

At some point, I doubted his desire to be a parent. I figured there was no way he wanted it as much as I did since he never seemed upset when it didn’t happen. I knew in my heart that he was upset, but I couldn’t understand why he didn’t show it to me.

I think bonding over those losses, those failures, would have helped us on our path. We often felt disconnected because I was grieving and I thought he was not.

Men are allowed to be weak. I can understand not crying in front of your buddies, or not sharing with your coworkers, I get not wanting to lose the proverbial man card. But, when your woman is crying on the bathroom floor because another cycle has ended in a period, not a baby, you are allowed to cry with her.

It might help her more than you being stoic and strong.


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7 thoughts on “the strong one

  1. I didn’t believe my husband really cared until the 2nd IUI failed. I broke down and showed him the picture book and little stuffed animal I’d gotten that was going to be the surprise “you’re going to be a daddy” present – purchased back when I stupidly thought pregnancy was easily achievable – and paging through the pretty pictures of a daddy penguin taking care of his young caused him to finally break down and cry. It took years to break through that wall he put up, and until he did, I felt like he really didn’t care if we had children or not – that was a horrible and lonely feeling.

    Expressing emotion is not weakness. Avoiding deeper feelings and not communicating with your partner is truly sad.


  2. “At some point, I doubted his desire to be a parent. I figured there was no way he wanted it as much as I did since he never seemed upset when it didn’t happen.”

    I’m certain I’d feel/think the same thing. I know not everyone is as emotional as I am, but never seeing upset or disappointment would have me seriously doubting whether he really wanted kids (which would be unfair of me for not giving him a chance and all the rest).

    Thank you for sharing all of this and clearing up these common misconceptions.


  3. Some of it is our fault too though. By hiding how devastated WE truly feel, they might just be showing the same brave face they see us putting on. Or if we tell them something, and they come back with an empty platitude, and we just accept it, then they think it’s all okay. After 3 BFNs this IVF cycle, I’m on the phone with my husband, and he tells me that it’s all okay. Before, I would have said “Yeah.” and moved on to other stuff. But this time I said, “No. It’s not okay.” Which helped him to realize that my feelings are strong, and they are valid. It’s usually NOT as personal for them though. Their job is done in the little room down the hall. They aren’t the ones second guessing every twinge, cramp, spot, etc. And they aren’t the ones weeping over a pee-stick first thing in the morning.
    I’m lucky in that my husband isn’t afraid to cry. But right now I can’t be his rock. I just can’t. But this post reminded me that I need to go to him and talk to him, instead of pull away emotionally, like I find myself doing.


  4. Well said and beautifully written. It’s so true and I believed that with my husband too but I also caught that tear a few times. Men just show their emotions in a different way.


  5. My husband has supported me throughout our infertility journey. He’s been bright and cheerful when I’ve been down (many times).

    We finally got pregnant in Feb 11 with my sister’s donor egg but miscarried. Since then, it has been a different story: he cried for the first time in front of me. My poor husband. He was crushed and said he didn’t truly appreciate his attachment to the possibility of a baby until our pregnancy was lost. We were both so devastated but our grief united us even more – I am so glad he showed me this.


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