Hello, this is Erman. Krista asked me to share what I have learned about supporting your wife through infertility. I am not perfect at this. Sometimes I don’t know what to do. A lot of times I do the wrong thing. But I am trying and I’m happy to give you what I think are the top three ways husbands can support their wives though infertility treatment.
Infertility is so difficult. It is extremely painful–especially for the woman. I know I don’t understand everything Krista is feeling. I can’t. But I see her pain and it breaks my heart. It often makes me cry. I know she lays awake at night struggling with the emotions, while I am sleeping. In the beginning, when I asked her what I could do to help her, she told me that she was falling apart. She needed me to be the strong one right now.
Women carry the burden of infertility treatments. Even when it is male-factor infertility, it’s the woman who has to have all the painful procedures, take all the medications, and do all the shots. All we men have to do is jack off in a cup and call it a day. I don’t know why this is the way that it is, but it is unfair.
My wife is on an infertility roller coaster. Sometimes she is happy and sweet and frisky and fun. It’s like were never told she can’t conceive a baby. But sometimes the hormones make her mad and mean. This is okay. She gets to be mad and mean. Other times the hormones make her sad and she cries a lot. This is okay too. She gets to cry. I know she doesn’t mean the things she says when she’s mad or sad. I also know she doesn’t need me to fix anything. It’s so important to remember that this will all pass. Right now, she is dealing with so much–emotionally, physically, and spiritually. The best thing I can do is just always be there, even if I’m going to be yelled at, and take the heat. She needs somewhere to put it. And I married her for better or worse.
Krista and I have always had a very healthy physical relationship. Sex was frequent and fun. But the physical side of our marriage changed when we learned she was infertile. While sex is always fun for me, it now carries the reminder for her, that it will never bring a baby. Plus, she has doctors’ hands on her and in her all the time now. Her woman parts get poked at every appointment. If she doesn’t want one more person touching her, that is okay. I wasn’t very good at remembering this in the beginning and I’m still not great at it (men “paw” a lot, Krista tells me). But her body has new boundaries and I can respect that.
What she wants now more than sex is a back rub or a foot rub, soft stroking, long hugs, a kiss on the cheek, and holding hands. Our physical touch now is all about her and what she needs, not what I need or want. I know someday we’ll get back to a place where the sex is frequent and fun for both of us, but for now, she is the focus.
Also, I also try to speak lots of kind words to her. Krista always tells me how ugly she feels right now. She says her skin isn’t as bright and I know the hormones have given her pimples. She feels bloated a lot and uncomfortable during her periods. I love my wife so much. She is the most beautiful woman to me. I hate to hear her say these things. I know she also feels bad that it’s her “fault” (even though there is no fault in infertility) that we can’t have a child the normal way. So I just remind her that she is beautiful and perfect. I tell her that we can do this together. Words matter a lot to my wife so I try to use them to support her.
When we got married, Krista told me she never wanted to hear me say that I “helped” at home. We are a team and we both live here. Both of us are in charge and both of us must contribute to the housekeeping. Unfortunately, I have always been messy. Even though I try, Krista still does most of the cleaning and cooking. She is a very clean and organized person and mess stresses her out. Now that she is dealing with all the infertility treatment, I feel it is extremely important to step up and do more in our home. I usually get home from work before her so I take that time to make sure the sink is empty, the beds are made, and rooms are tidy. It makes her so happy to walk in at the end of the day and see a clean home. It’s one less thing she has to worry about.
Whatever it is that makes your wife happy, do it! Do it often! Do the home chores she hates most. Cook for her. Go grocery shopping. Give her space and time to nap. Take on more than you have in the past. Like I said before, this time of infertility treatment will pass and life will go back to normal. But for now, look for ways to make her life easier. I can’t take away Krista’s pain, but I can do little things to make her happy and take away some of her stress.
I hope you have found these tips for supporting your wife through infertility helpful. At the end of the day, our wives are the most important people in our lives. I love my lovely wife Krista regardless of what–whether we have a child or not. I’m sure you feel the same way about your wife too. I think we all need to work harder to be partners they can lean on. If you ever need a man to talk to, I am happy to be a friend to you. We are so sorry you are going through this.