If you’re a man with infertility, Father’s Day can be difficult. Here’s how to keep perspective on the good things in life.
When popular movies, shows, and other media depict people pining to have a baby, and sad about the fact that they don’t have one, let’s face it — it’s most often a woman. But the reality is that men face many of the same desires and emotions when it comes to having children — and they experience a similar sadness when infertility robs them of that opportunity.
For both men and women, these feelings can be particularly acute on holidays when having children is often celebrated. Christmas and Easter are often difficult, but Father’s Day can be particularly challenging for infertile men who want to be fathers.
Luckily, there are a number of steps that men can take to lessen the pain of a child-centric holiday like Father’s Day. Plus, many of these steps have the added benefit of helping your significant other cope with the sadness, as well. Each person is different, so the involvement in Father’s Day activities can range from a slight change of plans to ignoring the holiday entirely, depending on how painful it is for you.
If you’re concerned that the day might be particularly difficult for you to handle emotionally, RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association, recommends planning your activities in advance of the day. Some men find solace in focusing on celebrating their own fathers or grandfathers that day, even in the absence of children of their own. But if children will be present and you know this will be difficult, you can always arrange to see your parents or grandparents on another day of the week. That’s the beauty of family.
If the pain of your infertility is particularly difficult, recent or raw, it might be best to avoid challenging situations altogether on Father’s Day. You can steer clear of restaurants or other public places, for example. Instead, have a day of solace that just focuses on you and your significant other. Go on a hike or see a movie, just the two of you. Often your life partner shares your emotions and desires about children, so focusing the day on just you two can help to strengthen your bonds, even in the face of your unfulfilled desires.
When it comes to issues like infertility, men often have a nasty habit of keeping their feelings and emotions on the topic bottled up inside, while women are more likely to talk about it. As a man, you can use this opportunity to open up and share your feelings with the woman you love. And women can use the day to encourage men to open up and talk about what is bothering them.
RESOLVE adds that such strong emotions about your childlessness may indicate that you need some outside help. Many individuals and couples struggle with the challenges of infertility, and there’s no need for you to have to go it alone. Joining a support group can often be a good idea to share your emotions and meet challenges in a group of caring, like-minded individuals. You can find a support group in your area by visiting calendar of events.
by Jennifer Bright Reich