Men are so sidelined in the infertility world.  Or at least in mine.  We expect them to part with the money easily, put up with the drugs and the moods and the doctor visits, to stand and deliver when their seminal contribution is needed, and to ride all the rides along with us.  My husband does all these things with uncommon grace and unfailing support. 

Every now and then – not often enough – I see him as a man with his own pain.  Not just the guy who shares and is supposed to help with mine.  Since the reproductive issues we have are mostly, if not all, mine, sometimes I wish he’d made a more fertile choice.  I don’t mean it and I’m learning not to say it anymore.  I just hate to see him suffer because he chose me.

Back in the day, my husband and a group of his friends did some serious work on their "male" issues.  They were single and falling into every crack there is; inability to commit to women, not feeling / expressing, not knowing how to put themselves together into the men they longed to be.  They didn’t have role models or mentors; they had dead dads and gone dads and bad dads and they got very little encouragement.  The Dad Substitutes who should have stepped up, like pastors and friends, were just as messed up as they were.  But these guys read books and put together their own "warrior weekends" and talked through stuff that men don’t often have the courage to talk through.  They got off their butts and pursued women, took risks, and most of them are married now to women they never thought they’d fall for.  They are ordinary men who have become extraordinary husbands.  They still get together every week to hold each other accountable. In several cases they have stood against generational curses of alcoholism, depression, infidelity, child abuse and other miseries; they made sure it stops here.

What’s all that for, if not to be a father?  It breaks my heart.  Being a father invites men to greatness and my husband is waiting for his with humility and patience.  There isn’t a substitute for us.  There isn’t an obvious place to put all that we would give to kids.  The dream deferred makes both our hearts sick and I have a million words, and ways to say them, about it all.  My husband just soldiers on.  He works and he takes care of me and I know a little piece of him dies with every year that passes. 

I’m sad and tired of it for him.  Especially since I have so much detail to occupy me.  I take the drugs and gain the weight and even though I can’t do much, at least I’m experiencing a lot.  He just stares at the blank smooth wall of nothing with no knowing when it will end. 

So many of my anguished prayers are about me.  Everybody knows about my emptiness and grief.  But today I am so, so sad for my husband and his Father’s Day.  So long delayed.  So deserved.