15 May, 2012

What about the men?

I got a few comments on my Huff Post piece saying “what about the men?”  They ran rather sarcastically along the lines of “men don’t count, only women’s feelings count, everyone forgets the man” etc etc.  And I guess, if you’re coming into either my blog or read that article, you might think that.  I mean, I rarely talk about my husband on-line.  I don’t do it on A Separate Life, I don’t do it on Facebook, and I don’t do it here.  Even when he is mentioned, he’s “my husband” or simply “him/he.”

The thing is, it was my choice to go on-line to talk about my life, not his.  He struggles to even read my blogs.  He’s only on Facebook so he can see photos of relatives, he doesn’t even know what a status update is, and he can’t imagine anything worse than writing for fun!  He’s been selectively private about our infertility.  (He hasn’t discussed it with his family, but he has discussed it with a friend of his who has gone through infertility.)  And of course, his experience with infertility has been different to mine.  He’s watched me go through extremes during our marriage – initially very pro-contraception, right through to the cycle charting, the IVF injecting, and the thoughts of adoption or using donor eggs.  He’s watched me go through physical risk and emotional turmoil, at the same time coping with his own emotions of loss.  That’s his experience of infertility, and whilst I think I understand it somewhat, I know I don’t understand it 100%.   

His experience of infertility, and indeed his experience of living with no kids, is his experience, not mine.  I respect that.  I know that it is his story, not mine.  And I know that his story is not my story to write.  


  1. HUH???? I'm surprised to read those sarcastic questions. After all, there are many more female IF writers than male. And speaking of blogs, blogs are like diaries of our thoughts/experiences, so how can we share things from our hubby's POV if he doesn't specifically want us to share those with an audience? I think those questions are rather absurd...

  2. Some people just choose to be obnoxious in their comments. When writing or talking about not having children, some people just so stupidly say, "Well, there are lots of children in the world. You can always adopt." They don't have a clue what goes into adoption (i think they think it is like "Anne of Green Gables" where you put in your order for a "Six year old girl" or a "Ten year old boy"). I wish people could understand how much goes into the whole, "We don't have children" issue - and i don't have the time or energy to explain how we came to this place. I certainly don't want to have to justify it - not even to the people i love and care for.

    On the issue with guys - guys don't express themselves in the same way. Many of them won't even admit that there is a problem. We have chosen not to go to church on MD for many years now, but we only gave up FD about 3 years ago, after my hubby complained. I had never known it bothered him. I asked if he was doing okay last year. He said he'd accepted it, and was putting his energy into other things. But then THIS YEAR on Easter, after the pastor preached on "Anything is possible" he said to me, "Well, maybe a baby is still possible." (It is not.) This tells me he's still hurting, but won't really talk about it. Getting him to write an article or talk about those feelings to other guys? That's about impossible, too.

  3. Yes, what about the men? How do you get them to open up about these sorts of life events? Even if you gave your own interpretation, it wouldn't really reflect his feelings. I guess that shows how hard it is for anyone to talk about it - man or woman.

  4. I don't write a lot about my dh on my blog either... for one thing, he reads it ; ) & while he is very supportive, he doesn't like me getting too specific, particularly when it comes to himself.

    On a different "what about the men?" note -- too often, people treat infertility as a women's problem, conveniently ignoring the fact that infertility involves a copule, and that men can be infertile too. I know of several couples, IRL & online, where the woman went through all sorts of tests while the husband dragged his feet on having a sperm analysis done, & was not comfortable with ARTs, or going beyond a certain point, or, after exhausting ART options, not comfortable with adoption.

    There are many couples living childless because the husband already had children from a previous marriage. Some don't want more children; some promised children & then changed their minds; some had vasectomies, had them reversed but unsuccessfully.

    And there are many women who have been castigated for "waiting too long" to get married & have children... while the men refuse to commit. Or the men say they don't want kids, the woman leaves him, and a few years later, he's married to someone else (usually younger) & -- surprise! -- has a couple of kids.

    I don't mean to turn this into a male-bashing thing -- but I did want to point out that the male side of the equation often gets ovgerlooked, and it can be more complex than most people think.

  5. When I told my sister that I was going to be published in the Huff Post for NIAW, she asked if they were going to be publishing any men. I didn't know, and do not believe they did. But, I thought it was a valid comment as men are not heard from on this subject very much. I would love to hear more men talk on the subject, but much like you said, it has to be because they want to.

    I agree you can't speak for your husband, esp. if he isn't that comfortable w/your blog. Infertility, no matter what your gender, is a very personal topic that each person has to approach in their own way.

  6. We are friends with another infertile couple. In their case, the problem is with the husband's "plumbing." He finds little to no support out there, from men or women, and has told me many times he feels utterly alone. So for me, those sarcastic questions touch on his experience, not necessarily my Esso's.