Saturday, November 28, 2015

Wanting to be a Dad: A Husband's Perspective on "The Wait"

The following is a guest entry from Brian Adams.  
When my sister asked me to write this I was really excited. I really enjoy writing and thought this would be something that would be fun and therapeutic as it would allow me to get thoughts down that I haven’t really talked about. However, it was not so easy. I started and stopped multiple times. I procrastinated and put it off because, in all honesty, I didn’t want to go through the emotional exercise I knew this would be. Talking about infertility and the lack of success my wife and I have had in getting pregnant is not something I looked forward to doing. It’s a difficult topic to talk about because I feel it makes other people uncomfortable whenever we bring it up. Anyways, I hope this can be an encouragement to a few people in knowing they are not alone and there are other people going through what they are going through. Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this.

My wife LOVES kids, especially babies. Whenever she sees a baby she can’t help but swoon over the little one and ask the parents if she can hold him or her. When we were dating/engaged I knew she wanted kids and that all she wanted to do was be a mom. It was soon after we got married (the next day, actually) I realized that she wanted kids NOW. She didn’t want to wait a few months or years because, to her, she was ready to be a mom and wanted to start a family ASAP. I was a little more hesitant at first because our money and job situation weren’t concrete. After about a year of being married, we both decided we were ready. We were scared but so excited to have kids. We thought, like most people, it would happen soon. So we started to save money and plan out names for our kids. I can’t tell you how pumped we were to have start a family.

That was over 2 years ago and we still have not gotten pregnant.

The first few months when she would take a pregnancy test and it would be negative, I did my best to encourage her and try to comfort her as this was normal and it can take a while to get pregnant. As the months went on and on and we still weren’t pregnant, it got harder and harder to say, “Don’t worry, it will happen soon” because I felt like a liar. You can only say those words so often without feeling like a fraud. Besides, did I believe that it would happen? Was I saying those words because I was trying to convince myself?

I have experienced my share of heartache, but nothing compares to the pain of my wife in tears because she took another pregnancy test and it was negative. Because my wife wants to save me from the pain of that, sometimes she wouldn’t tell me she took a test and it was negative. Knowing she has had to go through that disappointment all by herself; that was a different sort of pain I wasn’t used to. I am supposed to protect her and be there for her and yet there was nothing I could do. I just had to watch her go through this every month.

The thing with infertility is that you become very aware of all the people who are pregnant. We love our friends and we love that God is blessing them with families of their own. But I could see the pain on my wife’s face, that little twinge of sadness, whenever she would find out a friend was pregnant. It’s not because she wasn’t happy for them or jealous, but it was a reminder that she wasn’t pregnant.

The first time I felt that pain was when I found out my sisters were pregnant. We had a big family photo-shoot and my sisters had a picture set up to announce to all of us that they were pregnant. Now, I LOVE being an uncle and I thank God for that every day. However, when we all found out they were pregnant, I felt my heart drop into my stomach.  For me, it was the first time it really hit me how much I wanted a family and how much I was hurting that we had not yet gotten pregnant.

Most guys don’t talk about their desire to be a dad, probably because they have really crappy dads. However, I really want to be a dad and a big part of that is because of how much I love and admire my father. Growing up, we didn’t have a lot of money. So, in addition to his teaching job and getting his Doctorate, he would deliver pizzas to help make ends meet. He did whatever was necessary for our family. As I got older, I played sports pretty much year round and he never missed a single game (I’m pretty sure he didn’t miss any of my sisters’ games either). It didn’t matter if it was 3 hours away on a Tuesday night, he would make the drive to watch me. Some of my best memories are the drives home after basketball practice or a game where we would talk. I have always wanted to be a dad, which is what makes this whole thing incredibly difficult.

I can’t speak for my wife, but I know she hesitates to talk about this with people because she doesn’t want them to feel like she is jealous or somehow doesn’t want to be around their kids. This is a difficult topic because how do you tell someone that you tear up when you get a baby shower invitation because you hope, beyond all hope, that you were the one having the baby shower?

How do you tell someone that, while you will pray them as they struggle raising their kids and are completely exhausted, you wish you were getting 2 hours of sleep each night because of your baby?

How do you tell someone that it feels like God has left you completely alone to struggle and that it sometimes feels like He is rubbing it in your face that you can’t get pregnant?

We have only begun the process of getting tests done to figure out why we aren’t able to get pregnant. Part of that has to do with the utter terror of being told we can’t have children for one reason or another. In all honesty, I’m not sure how I would respond to that. I would hope I would respond well, but I don’t know. It’s a terrifying process.

However, there is some hope in all of this. We have prayed and cried together more than I thought a young married couple would. We have both had to be strong for the other at different times and that has been an incredible experience to see how it strengthens our marriage. We have faith God will work this out, we really do, but it’s the waiting that’s the hardest part.

We have also been incredibly blessed by our friends and family who we have been able to talk about this with. They don’t offer advice, they just listen. They don’t tell us to “be thankful you get to enjoy sleep for a little while longer”, they pray with us and ask us how we are doing the next time we see them. We are very thankful God has put people like that in our lives.

If you are having difficulty with getting pregnant or have experienced loss, please reach out to someone. You are not alone and there are good people who will be there to help you. Don’t give up.