Before I dive into this let me first say that I am a believer that these mothers/fathers day Hallmark holidays are BS. I’ve never needed one day to appreciate my parents and what they’ve done for me. I am thankful every day for them believing in my ability to lead a normal life despite having learning disability. My hope growing up was that one day I would be able to pass along what they taught me to someone else but unfortunately life doesn’t always go as you believe it will.
This Father’s Day will be the first Father’s Day since my infertile diagnosis six months ago. I will watch Facebook updates from my friends and family members who are father’s be celebrated while I reflect on my reality. Although I have made progress in working through an intense range of emotions, they have still been the most difficult six months of my life. The range of emotions that I’ve felt is something I never thought was possible. Knowing that I will never be able to conceive a child, hold my wife’s hand as she gives birth to our child, never knowing whether our child will have my wife’s beautiful blue eyes, never knowing whether our child would have the appetite that I do are things that I cannot put into words. I now know that these are thoughts I will have for the rest of my life. These are feelings that only people who have gone through will truly understand. There are so many things in my life (educational/job accomplishments and material goods) that I would give up in exchange for the ability to conceive a child with my wife.
Unfortunately there is nothing that can be done to change what reality is. My path to fatherhood and fatherhood itself will be much different (if it happens) than I ever imagined it would be. I know accept the fact that my genetics will never be passed down to another human being. But maybe I will have the opportunity to pass along some of my better qualities such as my heart, work ethic, ability to overcome adversity, love of Bruce Springsteen’s music and enthusiasm (sometimes obsession) for the Mets, Giants and Rangers. I am not a religious person but I believe everything in life happens for a reason. Is the reason that I am infertile because my best qualities that should be passed down have more to do with who I am rather than where I came from?
I have no idea what the future holds for my wife and I. Will future father’s days will just be a reminder of what I can’t have or a reminder of what I was able to have? It’s hard to say. That determination has to a certain extent been taken out of my hands. The uncertainty of it all is very scary to me but at the same time the hope is what keeps me going.
This is just my perspective. I understand that not all infertile men or men who are a part of a couple dealing with infertility feel the same way I do. But I do think that we are effected by it even though we might not be as vocal about it. As father’s are celebrated this year, as a society we need to understand that there are men out there who aren’t privleged enough to become dads.