Hi! I’m Steven, Katie’s Husband. Katie has been sharing a lot about her fertility journey and our path to having our daughter, and she’s asked me to share some of my perspectives as someone who was there every step of the way. I’d like to start by saying how absolutely amazing it was to see how strong and resilient Katie was, and continues to be, through this entire process. When we got together in our 20s, fertility was the furthest thing from my mind. When we found out that there could be issues, we accelerated our efforts to have a child because we wanted to have the greatest possible chance of growing our family. It took a few years, but it finally happened.
What is it like being the male half of a straight couple dealing with fertility issues? It’s an interesting question, because fertility is so often described as a “woman’s problem.” And in many cases, the entire focus of the fertility journey is on the woman who is trying to get pregnant. This is how it should be, by the way, but there were definitely things going on in my mind, and in my life in general, that I’d like to share.
- The first is that in many cases men are expected to take on the role as “fixer.” We’re somewhat conditioned to try to jump in and help and solve the issue – but when it comes to fertility, we can’t. It’s frustrating not being able to do very much to help your partner.
- Another thing to keep in mind is that fertility issues take an extreme emotional toll on your wife or partner. During this time, you need to have awareness of what is going on and ask more questions than normal. We might not be able to fix things, but we can sure become better listeners.
- Every cycle that doesn’t result in a pregnancy is a crushing blow for a woman who is trying to have a child. But it is also incredibly difficult for partners because it is such an emotional letdown. I spent a lot of time trying not to show it because in that moment the number one job is to be strong for your partner.
- The last thing I’ll say is trust the process. This might be incredibly difficult because the situation is so out of our control. But at a certain point, you just need to have confidence that the doctors know what they’re doing and that they have your best interest at heart. It’s easy to see that after the fact, but in the darkest days of the fertility journey it’s common to feel all alone. Our team of doctors was amazing, but even so it was really difficult for me to simply follow their advice or take what they said at face value.
Before Katie and I went on this journey, I had never met anyone who had dealt with fertility issues. I was in my mid 20s, and most of my friends were not thinking about kids yet. But over the last few years I’ve met an amazing community of men who’ve been exactly where I was, and where I am today. Katie and I are really open about our journey and through sharing our struggles with trying to conceive, we create a space for others to feel comfortable sharing their fertility struggles with us. It’s really important to build that kind of community so that you have people who actually understand what you are going through and what you are talking about, and can share their own experiences and advice.