Happy Father’s Day? You Tell Me.

by Davina Fankhauser
President - Fertility Within Reach

Father’s Day is one of my favorite holidays of the year, but it definitely hasn’t always been! In fact, for MANY years (7 to be exact) it was secretly my least favorite holiday of all, and caused me much pain, desperation, jealousy and sadness. I know many Dads out there who take this holiday completely for granted, and do not truly appreciate what a tremendous privilege and honor it is to have their prideful title! For those of us who struggle to conceive a child of our own, Father’s Day can be equally as difficult for us to get through as it is for our wives to get through Mother’s Day! We want to be Dads so badly, and when we see other men with their children it hurts! …It hurts down deep to our core! Don’t get me wrong, I was always grateful to spend Father’s Day with my Dad and my Father-in-Law each year, but my true, private feelings of sadness & despair hid far beneath my smiles and Happy Father’s Day wishes to them! I longed to have a child of my own who would continue that cycle of celebration for me!

 

As a husband, I always wanted to be supportive and strong for my wife and everything she was going through, so I rarely ever let others know how our infertility struggles were really affecting me. I felt that it would appear that I was less of a man or weak if I showed my true feelings, but I couldn’t have been more wrong! I now know how important it is for us men to seek out support during this difficult time, and wish I would have done so sooner. After all, the desire for a child can run just as deep in a man as it does in a woman.

 

The majority of us men are “fixers” not talkers, and being vulnerable, honest and open about our true feelings is rarely an easy thing for us to do! I wish I could give you a magical “fix” when it comes to your infertility issues, and one to make it easier for you to get through this difficult time of year, but I can’t. However, I can tell you that your feelings are real, valid, and they do matter! It’s imperative that you allow yourself to feel and express them. Being able to openly talk to my wife, close family and friends about how I was feeling really did help me feel better about myself and my situation. If you are not yet comfortable enough confiding in someone close to you about this subject, then I highly recommend that you talk with another man who has also experienced infertility. It always helps to know that your feelings are truly understood by the person you’re confiding in. You may be feeling completely isolated and alone, but you’re not. …There are so many of us out here who can honestly relate to and understand exactly what you’re going through, so seek us out!

 

As much as I believe it’s important for you to express and validate your feelings about your infertility and desire to become a father, I also believe it’s extremely important to remain positive and never lose hope! Even though you won’t be receiving a homemade card with crayon stick figures of you with your child and big hearts all over it on this Father’s Day, remain hopeful and positive that you WILL get one from your child on a Father’s Day in the future!

 

My dream of becoming a Dad may not have come true in the exact way or timeframe I had thought it would, but it DID come true, and I was finally able to celebrate my first Father’s Day in 2005. I’ve been in your shoes. I’ve walked up this steep side of the infertility mountain that you are climbing now, and I’m confident that you can make it down the other side just as I have!  It may not be easy, but it IS possible! Hang in there, stay positive, and reach out for support whenever you need it!

 

Rob Walden

robwalden@hotmail.com

                                                                PROUD DADDY w/Jake @ 2 days & 7 years old.

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Davina Fankhauser

President - Fertility Within Reach