My grandmother always used to say if she could make it past June she could make it through the year. The older I get the more I understand statements like this. Her reference was more to financial bills but in the world of fertility, if you can make it past Mother’s Day in May and Father’s Day in June, then you can make it!
Over the years, I have seen thousands couples come through our doors; each one so different, each one so similar. By the time most couples come to us they are very much accustomed to the word, “No”. All the techniques and the best advice in the world from friends, family and online reading have unfortunately not given them their desired result.
I have seen some couples sit next to each other and hold hands giggling nervously. I have seen some not want to even be in the same room with each other. I have seen cells phones become lifelines just so no eye contact has to be made. But what I see behind all of this are people. Just people. People who are taking the bravest step in the most private areas of their lives to take that word “no” and make it into a possibility.
We know that there are some very stark differences in men vs women. Not just physical, but emotional and psychological as well. So how is this chasm bridged when it comes to IVF?
I posed this to a man who came to our Centre with his wife a few years ago. We will call this person E. I have given his advice to so many couples since our conversation. It was the afternoon after their embryo transfer and I said to E – what was it that brought them back to our Centre to try again?
“I put on my oxygen mask first,” he said.
He saw the look on my face and laughed and he explained that men get the concept that in order to be of any use they need to first take care of themselves. I stared at him with a steely gaze as his explanation did not sit right with me.
But he was not intimidated. “I know when I need to tap out and I know it is in the balance of taking care of myself and taking care of her that will allow us to survive.”
Boom! He was right. The space that is created between taking care of ourselves and being there for someone else can either crush or create dreams.
After hearing this message all these years ago I have seen the formulae play out over and over. I have seen men know that to be strong it means you have to vulnerable. When your partner cries, you can meet her in that place and be disappointed as well and show how much you want this baby as well. You can let her put her head on your shoulders and you can together share the burden of this experience as a couple.
The lessons learnt from this conversation and my experience in IVF, makes these tips easier to share with you ahead of Father’s Day
– Commit to your partner. The fertility road is an unknown one and different for each couple. When you start out on this journey your road maybe a straight path to success but for others it may also take some twists and turns along the way. Make that committed promise to each other that you as a couple come first.
– Ladies, just because he doesn’t cry doesn’t mean he isn’t right there with you. Communicate your commitment. Some days that is just a touch of the hand, a look, knowing when to go take a break and have a laugh. In these times you will discover the deepest parts of yourself and your partner. Part of your success will be discovering amazing things about yourself and as a couple you never knew.
– Let your guard down with your partner. Your strength as a couple comes not from keeping it all together but in letting go and rebuilding strong.
– Men ask your partner what she is FEELING. Ladies ask your partner what he is THINKING. We communicate differently but this one powerful tool will open the door to dialogue.
– Offer trust, offer authenticity, offer a possibility of having the family you have always wanted. In this possibility your dreams will be established and grow. In this place you will learn of courage and you will learn of hope.
As your IVF unit, our role is to take your love, your hope and with science bring it together to give you success. A recipe is only as good as its ingredients. This weekend commit to bringing the first two in the best form possible and we will help take care of the rest.
You made it to June. You WILL make it.