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Let’s not overlook Father's Day this Sunday

Man covering faceWhen you are not yet a father, however, you are in your heart and in your wishing to be, Father’s Day can feel empty and it can hurt. You may feel left out and lost.

So, we’re reaching out to you this Father’s Day weekend. You may be travelling along just fine in your fertility journey, with good supports in place, coping skills that are serving you well and a positive frame of mind. You may feel resourced and equipped on this road. However, for some of you this may not be your reality and it’s important to acknowledge the diverse range of responses to fertility treatment.

As the male partner, you can tend to feel lost in the fertility treatment process. Feeling the pressure to be the strong one, always in coping mode, staying buoyant for your partner, keeping the guard up to ensure you hold it all together for you both. But where do your feelings go? Who supports you? Do you ask for support? Do you allow yourself to feel vulnerable? Perhaps you do with your partner, or with a close friend or family member. We often hear from men that they manage things very privately and alone. The shower can often be a place for those personal tears.

The protective armour that you place around yourself is a good coping strategy, it gets you through, it helps you feel a semblance of control and it eases feelings of helplessness. So too is staying busy with work and life pressures, taking care of others, in this you get to put away those feelings that may feel uncomfortable or are difficult to talk about. You may keep it all hidden in the doing and in staying focused on what needs to be dealt with and in turn avoid feeling. Particularly so with the impact of COVID 19 restrictions, you may not have access to your social outlets, community, family/friends, and your normal go to for resetting and taking care of yourself.

Feelings don’t go away, we can push them aside, yet they do come back; protective defences only work up to a point.

  • It’s ok to be vulnerable
  • It’s ok to be sad
  • You don’t need to be strong all the time
  • It’s ok to acknowledge and deal with your feelings
  • It’s ok to feel grief, it can manifest itself unexpectedly
  • It’s ok to be ok

We are given confusing messages in our world. Men are often conditioned to view not showing emotions as a strength. When in fact vulnerability is a real sign of strength. It is courageous to be vulnerable; it is a show of strength not weakness. If only more men would share their vulnerability, there would be greater ease with what is a common human struggle. This is also a time of opportunity to think of the men in your life, who have influenced you, mentored, guided, cared for, and inspired you. You might quietly think of them and honour them, or you may reach out and convey this to them.

Try not to ignore Father’s Day in your fertility experience. Remember, if you have experienced loss there is a space that gapes and you need to go easy on yourself. In your wish to be a father, you are a Dad in waiting and that can challenge your patience. Particularly, if you feel frustrated and the process is hard to endure.

We acknowledge that you may feel forgotten in the fertility process. We want you to know that you are very much thought of. This weekend it may be hard when you notice and are surrounded by those who have what you want. Think about doing something that is good for you, it might be a bike ride, a paddle on the water, whatever it is you love to do, and perhaps have not had the chance to. Give yourself some kindness this weekend, in your wish to be a father.

Our Counselling team is available to our patients via email, phone or Skype. Please contact them on counselling@genea.com.au, or Genea Hollywood at perth@genea.com.au and Genea Oxford at joy@mindfree.co.nz.

Visit Genea's Fertility Collective to find more advice, useful tips and tools plus the latest updates on COVID-19 and the impact on fertility treatment.

Disclaimer: Please note that this is a Genea Group blog and as such information may not be relevant for all clinics. We advise that you consult clinics directly for further information.