For decades, you grew up honoring your father – and perhaps your grandfather – on Father’s Day. Now, as you and your partner try diligently to conceive a child of your own, this holiday can take on an entirely different energy. Instead of what the holiday is about – BBQs, sentimental cards and the lasting legacy of parenting, Father’s Day can start to feel like a glaring spotlight on what’s NOT happening in your own parenting life.
When it comes to couples and infertility, that spotlight is often placed on the woman. However, Father’s Day can be a good opportunity to focus on the male half of the equation, sharing a little extra support, compassion and positive energy with the Father-to-Be.
Four Things You Can Do to Support Your Partner on Father’s Day
- Take away the mystery. For gosh sakes, isn’t communication one of the keys to any successful relationship? Holidays are always an emotional time for couples coping with infertility, and Father’s Day can be like a double whammy. Sticking your heads in the sand like ostriches certainly won’t help things and can let unexpressed grief, anger and/or frustration lurk under the surface. Express to your partner that you really want to know how he feels about the holiday, and how he would like to spend the time. That might mean him bowing out of traditional family events and that should be supported if it’s what he needs. Conversely, he may not want to talk about it at all, which is okay too. At least he knows you are interested and value his feelings and wishes about a day that will someday be all about him!
- Be prepared. An infertile couple on Father’s Day can feel like the elephant in the room, or it might end up feeling like you are the recipients of the modern day inquisition. Guests at family functions and gatherings may have a whole host of things they want to ask or express. Talk to your spouse beforehand about how you want to handle these conversations. Where he might be the one to have your back most of the time, this is your turn to be the warrior and protect him from an onslaught of well-meaning but undesired commentaries. Practice how you want to respond to people and stand your ground. Ultimately, your life and your journey towards conception is your business.
- Keep the keys handy. It might be that your guy thought he was up for the big to-do, and then your bouncing, chubby adorable 6-month niece/nephew sends him right over the edge. Have the keys handy and let him know that at his signal, you are ready to drop the ribs and potato salad and drive off into the sunset. You may want to tell family or friends that you can only stay for fill-in-the-blank-time-that-seems-appropriate so they won’t think it strange when you head out. If things go well, and you’re having a good time, you can always stay longer and let them know you’re blowing off your “other plans.”
- Try to see the lighter side. Speak to a group of new parents and you’ll find that Father’s Day doesn’t really seem like it’s about the new dads yet anyway. Until your older child understands what Father’s Day is about, and can say the words, make a card, bring you breakfast in bed, etc., Mother’s and Father’s Days still feel like they’re all about your own parents anyway. Savor these last moments of uninterrupted, well-rested times with your own family because – even though you’re in the middle of the infertility tunnel now – these times are fleeting and you will become parents someway, somehow. It’s only a matter of time.
Supporting your partner this Father’s Day is symbolic of the amazing teamwork and bonding that will be a major benefit when you become parents down the road. Feel free to contact RRC for any questions or concerns about infertility or IVF options.