This is probably the most difficult thing to realize in this whole process: we do not have control over the outcome. No matter what we do.
We may try to come-up with some ways to have the perception we are controlling the outcome, but we are merely controlling the process…
Quick example: I am an organized guy who needs any sort of visual aid to help me understand things. Therefore, at every time we were given a list of medications that needed to be taken, I immediately thought about a very colorful Excel spreadsheet, with all dates, meds and dosages to help guide our drug intake. Then, a few hours later, when we were back from the doctor’s office, the spreadsheet was done! Beautiful! Professional! And I felt proud of it and in control as no medication would be left untaken!! This was for sure great as it reduced the stress level and ensured the treatment was done properly, but the medication intake success hardly guaranteed a pregnancy.
Another example: no coffee! For some, this could be easy but for my wife and me, it is extremely difficult. As she struggled with only a decaf every morning, I did follow suit in support of her pain. We then both battle the side effects of coffee deprivation (really, this exists and is hard as you feel weak, with headaches and tired all day long). At the end of three or four days we were finally coffee-free and feeling like we had achieved something! Great! We have got control over one more thing that would enhance our chances of success, but again would hardly guarantee a pregnancy.
Those are simple things, from a couple’s perspective, than can be addressed and for sure make a difference on the process. But the real bearing of the weight of losing control, unfortunately, is my wife’s… She was the one injecting the medication. She was the one taking the hormones. She was the one getting poked for blood every so often. She was the one doing the ultrasounds. She was the one feeling her body change without really knowing what was happening (were we getting pregnant or these were simply side effects from all the meds?). She was the one, ultimately, having her body changed and having to relinquish control over it. And I felt powerless over that… She was feeling the lost of control over her own body while I was feeling the lost of control over my ability to properly be her husband. A husband, in my culture and in my personal view, is someone who provides and cares for his family. Is someone who protects them against all harm. Is someone who gives direction and, of course, control when someone is in need. And the feeling of not being able to do just that was terrible, as if I was losing control over my life and my marriage…
So how I have come to learn to deal with the lack of control? Well, first I had to make an effort to understand that I am no less of a husband nor I love her less for not having all the answers and not having the ultimate control over the outcome of our many treatments. Second, I learn that sharing that I too was scared and that I too was in pain was OK. Finally, I begun to understand that being there, supporting her and being her safety net was perhaps more important than the control itself.
Are these easy thoughts to come to terms with? NO, DEFINITELY NOT! I have to work on them every day and make a real effort to get rid of my personal stigma of feeling that I need to be the all powerful men to be worthy of her love. Some days are better, some days are worse. But I have grown immensely as a person and we have definitely grown tremendously as a couple during this process.