Remember the old saying, men are from Mars and women are from Venus? In many ways, men and women are emotionally wired a bit differently. When dealing with infertility, it is important to understand the different coping mechanisms men and women use as they navigate the highs and lows of an infertility diagnosis and treatment.
Being given a diagnosis of infertility is an extremely significant stressor in your life. From an early age, both men and women develop ideas around family and parenting that gets derailed when infertility is uncovered. There are many reasons for infertility and testing to determine what is going on affects men and women differently. Male infertility is more common that is typically known so when a man is diagnosed with infertility, it is important to understand the depth of his emotional response.
If you have a low sperm count it may feel like your manhood is in question and that can be a struggle for even the most confident man. Take note to work through all of the causes with a doctor and then follow the suggestions you are given. Touch base often with a therapist during this time – we can help you process the feelings that arise from finding out that your body is not doing what it is supposed to do.
Intimacy becomes scheduled and controlled and the sexual relationship you have with your partner is is now something that doctors want and need to know about. Doctors may have to put your sex life on a schedule for optimal times for conception. Erection problems are not uncommon when a man is told that the reason for infertility lies with him.
Managing your partners emotions during times when she feels like a pin cushion and she herself is extremely anxious can be very stressful for men. She is watching her friends and relatives start their families and she just wants to have a baby already! She may try to be strong and she may crumble in tears and you may not know what to do to help her. If infertility drugs are involved then you will most likely see your partner experience a wide range of emotions that she cannot control.
There is no way to just “solve” this problem and this may make you feel helpless. Some men love to fix a problem but this is not a scenario where solutions are immediately available. Learning to let go and trust nature and doctors may be difficult. We can work closely together to help you process the emotions you may be feeling such as fear, shame, depression and anxiety.
How to make it through? Regular communication is the key to your success in managing this emotional situation. Acknowledge that you want to connect with one another as a couple and give yourselves some space to not talk about making a baby. Couples therapy can be a great resource for you so together you can learn to build a strong relationship during this incredibly stressful time.