Not long ago, I went out with some friends after work.
This is part of a guys-only group we have, where our ladies aren’t around and we get to just gather with the guys and talk about anything and everything in life that we might want.
With the beer flowing and good conversation happening, one friend shared a story about the stress he and his wife were experiencing. All relating to the heartaches of infertility and all that comes with that.
He wasn’t even talking to me, I just happened to be sitting next to him and was finishing up a conversation with someone else. I heard him say “infertility” and “sample,” and my mind suddenly put all its focus on that other conversation. While it was mostly between them, this chat wasn’t a closed off 1-on-1 conversation and really others could join in if they wanted to. That wasn’t the best moment, so I waited patiently and offered some nods and looks of sympathy without saying a word.
Then, came the moment.
“I understand. We’re going through that, too.”
I’d only recently met this friend a month or two before and had never before met his wife, but suddenly we had a bond. He is not in anyway connected to the diabetes universe, but that story he shared connected us in ways that we just hadn’t expected.
At that point, we ordered another round of beers and delved into another layer of conversation with “someone else who gets it,” another guy that neither of us expected to find that evening out after work.
We shared a number of things, including how we feel when so many of our friends and people on Facebook are sharing their happy baby announcements. Of course, we’re happy for them. But our hearts also hurt, and we know how tough it will be for our wives who are feeling this too. Tears are many, but sometimes we have to temper our own sadness and heartache for the benefit of others who deserve every smile in the world at that time.
Sharing Our Infertility Stories
As mentioned before, this is on me. We have pretty much been told that my diabetes-damaged body is to blame.
This has been an issue I’ve been struggling with on my own, for the most part. Sure, I have my wife and doctors to talk to. There have been a small handful of other close friends, all women, who’ve also heard this. But really, I have been on my own — particularly when it comes to the diabetes component of this story.
For the first half of 2015, we went through four IUIs. That’s a darn expensive process in itself (compared to all-natural).The first was hopeful and we were told all looked great, but just didn’t materialize. The second wasn’t a good enough sample. The third and fourth evolved into fearful, disappointment-expecting experiences that were overly stressful. And even felt like it was becoming routine.
We decided to take a step back and assess options.
The second half of 2015 and these first months of 2016 have been a time of de-stressing for us. We have worked hard to not dwell, to enjoy each other’s company and just focus on everything else beyond baby-making.
It’s still been on the mind, of course. How could it not be?!?!
Now, I have this other local friend who’s experiencing this. I’ve not yet shared this with my wife, and there’s no particular reason for that. Just trying to not dwell on this as much as possible, and don’t want to bring her mind back to that heartache and disappointment that we had so much exposure to last year.
Maybe, it’s a way of trying to shield her. Or myself. Who knows.
At least now, I know of someone to talk to about this struggle.
This bar chat comes to mind as Kerri Sparling at http://www.sixuntilme.com shared her own story of “Silent Infertility” — something she’d kept offline until the happy announcement that she is pregnant with her 2nd child.
That is very happy news, and many in the diabetes blogging community have voiced support in comments and well-wishes. They’ve even shared their own stories of struggling with infertility, past and present.
All of that hit me hard.
Reading that blog post, I couldn’t stop myself from crying. That was particularly odd moment, as I happened to be sitting in a Starbucks reading this for the first time and had to deflect some raised eyebrows and looks of concern.
None of the comments were men, as far as I could tell from the names displayed. That tugs at my heart.
Because clearly, men struggle with this issue too and often we just can’t find anyone to talk to about it.
I am still torn up, guilty that it’s “my fault,” and I am trying to remain optimistic about the future. I am relying on my faith to help me through all of this.
Thankfully, there’s another guy to share this story with — even if he doesn’t have a faulty pancreas to blame.