You might be the one injecting yourself left, right and centre, but these guys are the ones who put up with us; who offer us their unwavering support and more often than not pick us up when we aren’t feeling like the superhero we feel we need to be. This doesn’t have to be a husband, wife, or partner, just someone who is going through this journey with you. And I hope you do have someone, it’s really important to have strong emotional support during this fun game of fertility roulette!
I actually think that sometimes it is more difficult for the partner than it is for you. Bear with me… but you are in control of your schedule, your injections (for the most part). You are the “patient”, and the focus of every appointment and phone call, and it can be a very singular role. It’s hard not to become a little self -obsessed by your own gripes, bruises, headaches and nausea! BUT, and I think this is really important, the “other half” should never be forgotten.
They can’t take the injection for you, but they wish they could.
They don’t understand truly how you feel, but they wish they did.
They want everything to work as much as you do, but there is nothing they can do to make that a guarantee, but they wish they could.
I think that sense of helplessness can be quite overwhelming at times. I mean I feel it, so it makes even more sense that they should too.
If we are honest, and it’s hard to admit, it’s really hard to feel like this isn’t just happening to you “the patient”, because that is exactly who it is happening to. It’s easy for people to say “yeah here for whatever you need”, “anything I can do”, and the reality is there is nothing physically that anyone can do for you, they can’t take that injection (ie the pain), or have that tenth scan. However, what they can do and what is even more important, is just be there for you, understand that you feel like crap, or equally ride the wave of a really good day of hormone induced hilarity.
I can only speak from my experience, which is obviously with my husband, and I can honestly say I couldn’t do this without him! I mean, obviously I couldn’t biologically, but you know what I mean. I’m a lucky lucky lady, in that Dwighty is a general all round legend in most situations, and this has proved no different. I know it kills him when I cry after a particularly shitty injection, but he will always just hold me and tell me how brave I am. He puts up with me saying how tired I am (even when he’s the one who has been at work all day!), or moaning about how bloated and fat I feel, by just listening to me rant and reassuring me that it’s all normal… or just making me a cup of tea (decaf obvs!). And don’t get me wrong, I love being looked after, but I have to remember that he is going through this too.
Dwighty really wants to be a dad, and the fact is that he will make the most incredible dad, and I want that to start as soon as possible. But as the male in this process, the feeling of helpessness in certain parts of the process, I can only imagine. Aside from making sure your “boys” are in tip- top condition (and this is super important believe me, it’s not all the woman’s body that contributes to this process working!), what else can you do? Dwighty went along with my health kick recipes, my ban on “refined sugar”, protein with every meal, a fascinating array of quinoa variations and broccoli rice, alongside my militant approach to alcohol (although the odd IPA or shandy did creep in but hey we are all human!). But, he did it because he knew that ultimately it was the best thing for both of us, physically and mentally, and also because doing it together was really important. You are in this together, and any elements that can make you feel closer to each other as part of the process is, in my opinion, really important.
I also think god bless them… do you know how embarrassing it is to provide “a specimen” and then come out of a fairly uninspiring room (!), to a waiting room full of people, who all clearly know what you’ve just done?… I mean, come on that’s excruciating! A slight dip of the head and take your seat. I’m under anathaestic when I’m having my “bits” collected, blissfully unaware, but there is something so cold about that little pot and that brown paper bag! …Although you do have to laugh about it!
The one thing I think/ know that Dwighty wishes, is that he could just “fix” this. He is amazing at “fixing” things, whatever that might be; my inadequacy at general household technical maintenance, or him helping friends through tough times. Dwighty always knows exactly the right thing to say and do, but this isn’t something he can fix on his own. And I think that’s hard for anyone, but come on, especially for blokes. But we are in it together and it is a partnership, and has only made me love him more (sorry I know I know, but it’s true). This doesn’t always happen and can often really drive couples apart, which is so sad, but I can see why it’s possible. It’s brutal, unforgiving and more often than not a bit soul destroying.
It’s exhausting being the “strong one”, trust me I’ve been “that friend” for most of my life! And if you are really good at it, it is easy to forget that there are still a myriad of emotions and thoughts running through their heads that they don’t want to vocalise, because they don’t want to put any more pressure on you (that you already feel).
Just don’t forget to ask “how are you?”. It’s a really simple question but one that isn’t asked enough sometimes.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, that by no stretch of the imagination is this a walk in the park, but it is also not just about you (the woman, the patient), if you have someone else in your life that is on this journey too.
Be aware, be kind and talk!
…Oh, also obviously buy ridiculous things, cry without reason (you know what I mean) and demand you are the centre of the universe always… but just remember they should be able to do that too!
2 thoughts on “The other halves…”
I’m sure you don’t remember me, but I was in the same year as John at school (we did play hockey together a few times!).
I came across your blog and just wanted to say how courageous it is to put everything out there! It is also incredibly interesting to hear about the whole process-something that I’m sure people don’t really appreciate when they hear about fertility issues.
I really wish you and John the very best with the whole process-it sounds brutal at times, but hopefully will be worth the struggle in the end.
Sending my best wishes and all the luck in the world!
I’m almost certain that I have replied to you before, but was doing some admin on the blog and this still says “pending” so just wanted to make sure! Thanks so much for your lovely message!! xxx