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Here Comes Father's Day

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a blog by Ellen Glazer, June 17, 2016

Just as we are all recovering from Mother’s Day, the other Hallmark Holiday is fast approaching, just about a month away. While I find Mother’s Day to be the single most difficult day of the year for anyone struggling with infertility, Father’s Day is not exactly a breeze.

Unlike Mother’s Day, whose build-up seems to go on for weeks and weeks and weeks, Father’s Day — at least from my vantage point — is simply one difficult day. While Mother’s Day is blitzed with flower deliveries, special Mother’s Day menus, Happy Mother’s Day greetings on every street corner (it’s true—I was crossing the street nearly a week before Mother’s Day, and the policeman said, “Happy Mother’s Day, if you are one.”), Father’s Day is that one day of “Dad at the grill” or “Dad with a fishing pole or a golf club or a new lawn mower.”

So why is Father's Day so difficult? I think it has something to do with the different ways in which men and women experience infertility.

Although fertility problems are equally divided between men and women, that is not how many people experience infertility. All too often, it is the women who feel they are “to blame.” I believe that physicians contribute to this perception. If a couple has unexplained infertility, the most likely suspect is the woman’s eggs. I have rarely heard someone say, “they think that although the sperm look healthy, there is a hidden defect.” We hear that about eggs all the time.

So women feel responsible, and many of you feel you are letting your husbands down. You feel so sad and so bad and so guilty that you can’t “give them a baby.” Ironically, when I ask men how they feel about this, most tell me that what bothers them is not that their wives “can’t give me a baby” but that they feel they are losing the person they most love and cherish in the process.

Over the course of the next few weeks, as Father’s Day approaches, I will write a series of blog entries talking about how to keep your marriage strong while you struggle to have a baby together.

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