It is a fact: I can’t feel anything. Not a single physical distress. Nothing. Nada… It is true. It is pure genetics. It is a fact of nature. When it comes to a couple’s infertility, the woman deals with all the body changes and feels all physical reactions to the treatments. Not me. Her. And that sucks…
Don’t get me wrong; I am not into any kinky stuff where I would enjoy physical pain or like to wear questionable outfits for a dude. But the fact that only she suffers from the material impact of the infertility treatment makes me feel frustrated from time to time. After all, my wife and I share an undeniable strong bond, created out of love and companionship over this long journey of ours, but one that limits the men to only experience the emotional half of the story.
I try to put myself in her shoes. I try to think how I would feel if it was my body changing with the mountains of hormones. I try to think of my reaction to every unfamiliar pain. I try to imagine my anxiety of not knowing if a spasm was just a normal reaction to the drugs or if it was something worse…I know I am supportive. I try to be understanding. I am compassionate. But no matter what I do, there is nothing I can do that would make me feel exactly how she does, and that puts a limit on my understanding. A limit that can build up to an involuntary barrier between the couple, one that grows from each side out of pure frustration. Frustration for the unknown. Frustration for not being able to truly share everything related to the treatment. Frustration for not being able to truly understand how each one feels.
Thankfully, those barriers are not made of solid rock. Instead, they are built as the walls of a sandcastle, coming down easily at the first united resistance. At the risk of sounding a bit corny, I would say that tears of love and compassion could effortlessly wash them off.
As of many of my reactions to the emotional roller coaster of our infertility journey, the frustrating feeling of sharing only half the pain is not logical nor rational. It is instead the ultimate cry for understanding when clarity begins to fade. It is a reaction to dwell with the uncomfortable feeling of not being in control, not being able to truly understand the entire process, and being tired of walking in unknown territory. But that is our life and, most importantly, that is our choice.
Yes. If there is one thing we have control over this entire process is that we have chosen to be on this path. And that realization made all the difference… Instead of becoming frustrated for not being able to fit on my wife’s shoes (again, just a metaphor. Not kinky stuff…) I have accepted that this journey is ours by choice and not by fate, making me more capable of dealing with her and my feelings about it. Is this easy? No, not at all. Doable? You bet. After all, I began to trust that the sand walls built on our infertility path could be made increasingly fragile if we believe in our choice and in our love to see them completely gone.