"What counts isn't necessarily the size of the dog in the fight,
it's the size of the fight in the dog"
it's the size of the fight in the dog"
My husband and I were at a crossroads in the beginning when it came to deciding when we would start trying for a baby. I was in a lonely place at the time, still struggling to come to grasps with my mum's passing and felt that having a baby might fix my broken heart and bring back a sense of family. He wasn't ready. We argued back and forth for awhile, and I eventually accepted a bribe to get a kitten in order to wait another year so he could buy a boat (fishing is his passion and he knew if we got pregnant before he brought a boat he would never own one) He also wanted to enjoy one last year just the two of us before having kids. Little did we know . . .
Of course, the first year came and went and then the next with all the tests, operations and fertility drugs that came with it. He has been absolutely amazing the whole way through with his unwavering support, but I must admit that like alot of woman, there were times I thought he didn't really 'care' that it wasn't happening for us. I felt isolated in how I was feeling and couldn't understand why he was still so blase about it and seemed happy enough with all the waiting. Was he happy he got two extra years and counting of 'freedom'? It wasn't until he suddenly started suffering from anxiety attacks that we realised just how much this was actually affecting him.
An anxiety disorder is usually triggered by a certain event, and for the life of us we couldn't figure out what it was. Obviously the infertility factored, but that wasn't what started it. Later in counselling it was pinpointed back to the last appointment we had had with our fertility specialist where we were told to keep an extra close eye on my recurring uterine polyp situation because of my family history of cancer. Uh huh! 'Cancer' was all my husband heard and that triggered what turned into months of anxiety attacks and all that goes with it - constant shakiness, insomnia, weight loss, heart palpitations. It was a nightmare. He was miserable and because he wasn't sleeping it was that much harder. I remember having a small arguement with a workmate one day at work, and bursting into irrational tears because I was sooooo exhausted, emotionally AND physically. He was scared that he was never going to have a good nights sleep again, and took himself off to the hospital at 4am one night to get some sleeping tablets just so he could sleep. We always think our men are bulletproof, but all those years of supporting me through grief with my mum, and the stress of infertility, the word 'cancer' and what he percieved as a threat of losing me, broke him. Funnily enough, it didn't even register with me and I just nodded in agreement with my specialist and said I would keep an eye out for symptoms. It was an awful time, but in hindsight it was also a valuable lesson learnt. He is fine now. He got free counselling sessions, attended a 6 week course on dealing with anxiety and started a mild anxiety medication. He learnt that part of his problem was the lack of control. It was totally out of our hands. Everyone always says if you work hard enough you can make anything happen, but infertility is one thing you can't control. He was also worried that he wasn't going to be a good dad, and even though he wanted it as badly as I did, he was scared.
I really admire my husband for having the strength to stand up right in the beginning and say 'Something is wrong' rather than just brushing it under the table and pretending everything was ok while he fought a private battle. I also greatly admire his openness to what he went through, and the fact that he is not ashamed of it and has helped so many other men who opened up to him after he shared his story. When our baby does decide to make an appearance in our lives I think my husband is going to be an even better dad now that he has worked through his fears. In fact, I think he is going to be an AMAZING daddy and I can't wait until that day.