Men are a proud bunch that don’t like showing weakness. Male infertility may be the biggest weakness there is. Men are filled with bravado and a tough outer shell that is supposed to be impenetrable. As I mature and get wiser, I realise that the wall that we put up is bullshit. Men care too much about how other people perceive us. Society and our peers say that “men should be strong and robust”. Men not opening up about their weaknesses causes depression and can lead to suicide.
When I found out that that I suffered from male infertility, I told my family and a tiny group of friends. Being a tough man, I found it hard to talk to people about it. I was ashamed of my condition and perceived weakness. I want to help pave the way for men to speak of these issues that can eat us up inside. Here are the stages that I went through when dealing with infertility
The first stage of the male infertility journey is the discovery of a fertility issue. If you are under 35 and trying to have children for over a year, then you may have fertility issues. My wife and I fell were trying for over a year, and still, there were no buns in the oven. We decided to see a male fertility specialist. After a not so hot sperm sample, we decided to visit a fertility clinic. Thankfully my wife’s reproduction system was healthy. I, on the other hand, had serious issues with the motility and mobility of my sperm. We were told that we could not have children naturally and would have to go through ICSI. My initial reaction to the bad news was a state of shock. I couldn’t believe what was happening and it took a couple of days to sink.
A week of depression and sadness followed, and I found it tough to cope with the hammer blow that my wife and I were dealt. I gave up smoking and got the flu simultaneously. I Feeling physically and emotionally drained, I was in a very dark place. My apartment became my jail for a week. I talked to nobody about my infertility and bottled up my emotions. Bottling up my emotions sent me further into a downward spiral. I didn’t realise how much I wanted kids until I was told that I was infertile. The fact that I could not give my wife the family that she always wanted was hard on me. It was the saddest period in my life.
After feeling sorry for myself for a while, I realized that sadness would not get me anywhere. I cannot move forward if I am dwelling on the past. Still too embarrassed to talk about my infertility, I decided to take it on myself to accept my faith. I did not choose reproductive ill health. It chose me. That was the beginning of my love affair with positive psychology books and using the mind to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges. Accepting my infertility instead of asking why I was a much more efficient way of dealing with the problem.
After accepting that I could not have children naturally, I decided that I needed to change. Change and development became a big part of my journey from infertility through three IVF treatments and onto having twins. Infertility was the wake-up call that my life needed. My life turned upside down, and in some ways, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Having such a life-changing ailment made me feel inadequate, so I started to overcompensate by starting on a journey of self-improvement.
I changed jobs, improved my diet and worked hard on my fitness. I took up meditation, started reading for at least an hour every day and worked hard on my relationship. All the areas of my life that were lacking become the focus of change and improvement. Through our three IVF treatments, I was constantly changing and tweaking my life to make sure that we would have children. This openness to change in times of adversity helped me deal with infertility and bring Max and Mathilda into the world.
Having been through the mill of male infertility and coming out the other side a better man I feel that I can deal with any challenge that life deals me. If you are going through IVF and struggling with the day to day challenge of the treatment, then you have to be willing to change. That was one of the biggest lessons that I learned when going through IVF treatment. Accept you infertility, try your best to make the treatment work and never give hope. Are you having infertility issues? I would love to hear how you are coping with this difficult situation. Please sign up for my email for my fertility tips.