Male Emotions During Infertility
If you are a man struggling with infertility, you may be experiencing some of these emotions:
Men struggling with infertility often suffer from feelings of sexual inadequacy. Our culture tends to make associations between masculinity and virility. If you and your partner are having trouble conceiving, you may feel that your masculinity has been threatened and that you are not a "real" man. You may begin to worry that you are an inadequate lover or that you are "doing something wrong." You may also begin to question the role that you have taken on in your family and in society.
As you struggle through infertility treatments, you may begin to feel guilty that you are unable to get your partner pregnant. Many men see it as their "duty" to give their partner a family. This often stems from the fact that society still sees men as having to be the dominant provider in the family. If you are unable to provide your partner with a child, you may begin to feel very guilty, especially if your partner doesn't seem to have any fertility issues of her own.
Lack of Control
Some men may also feel as if they have been thrown out of control by their fertility issues. Society too often expects men to be organized, strong, and in control at all times. The fact that you can’t control your fertility may be very upsetting for you.
Many men who are unable to have children feel a great sense of failure due to the fact that they won’t be able to perpetuate their family. Men are often expected to help "carry on the family line" by having biological children. If you are unable to have children, you may feel that you have failed your family or partner.
How Men Cope with Infertility
Because of the lack of support resources for men struggling with infertility, men are often forced to cope with infertility in their own way. Unlike women, who may feel more comfortable talking with counselors, friends, or family members about fertility struggles, you may feel uncomfortable seeking outside support, especially from those you know.
As a result, you may find the need to silence your emotions by keeping them bottled up inside. Many men cope with the emotions caused by infertility in unhealthy ways, including:
- Overcompensating: You may find yourself trying to cope with infertility by overcompensating in other areas of your life, including work, community commitments, or athletics.
- Silence: You may find it easier to completely avoid your feelings regarding infertility or treatments.
- Anger and Blame: Bottling up emotions often leads to outbursts of anger or blame.
Where to Find Emotional Support
If you are struggling with infertility, it is important that you find healthy and positive ways to cope with your emotions. There are resources available that can help you to express the feelings that you are experiencing.
- Ask your reproductive endocrinologist for the name of a support group for men struggling with infertility.
- Speak with your partner about your emotions – she may be going through the same thing.
- Investigate all that you can about male infertility. If you feel uncomfortable going to a bookstore or library, do your research online.