Even in this day and age, where some brave men are calling family meetings and owning up to the fact that they are the reason behind their infertility challenge, while telling everyone to lay off their wives, there are still men who do not even want to entertain the thought that they may be responsible for their infertility, how much more deem it necessary to go for a simple semen analysis, forget any advanced investigation or treatment.
That unfortunately is the life story of a TTC mom, Rebecca, who has been on this journey for close to ten years now and sadly, it doesn’t look like the situation will change. Sometimes, it feels like her husband has long ago made peace with the fact that he isn’t going to be a father.
Before Rebecca and her husband got married, they had talked about having children, the number of children they wanted and their preferred gender too. It was so nice that the two of them were on the same page, regarding having children. However, the reality proved way different.
After marriage, they started trying immediately for a baby. When their efforts were not rewarded with a pregnancy some months later, Rebecca was worried but her husband calmed her down, telling her that they would eventually get pregnant.
Calmed by his assurance, Rebecca settled down to enjoy her marriage and managed to shelve her worries. One year later though with no pregnancy, Rebecca became a worry wart. Her imagination went into overdrive, wondering about so many things. She asked questions from a lot of older women. She asked if there was something she should be doing to enhance her chances but wasn’t doing.
Some of these older women were able to offer her some tips and some told her to try to stress less, and keep a positive attitude that all will be well. Some of these older women shared their own TTC stories with her to cheer her up, but the effect didn’t last long. As soon as she was alone with her thoughts, the doubts would set in.
Moving on from the older women, Rebecca took her matter to the doctors. She went through several examinations, tests and even treatments to boost her conception chances. She also sought second, third and even fourth opinions to confirm if all was really well with her.
As treatments didn’t change anything, almost all the doctors asked her to come along with her husband and that was when the matter got knotty. Rebecca’s husband simply refused to go to the doctors.
“There is nothing wrong with me,” was his favourite saying. When she pressed further, he would say, “It is only sick people who need to go to the doctor, I’m not ill and I don’t need a doctor.” He would say, setting his mouth in that determined line she knew so well.
After several years of mouthing same platitudes, Rebecca was fed up of being the only one desperate for a child. The pressure from family members was getting out of hand, and her husband was not being helpful. So, Rebecca yet again took matters into her hands and shared her challenge with some of their close friends whom her husband respects and listens to.
With their help, she was able to prevail upon him to see a doctor.
He did. He grudgingly gave a sample and the result left him in denial, even till today.
The result of the semen analysis showed that close to 80 percent of his swimmers were dead on arrival, the motility of the living ones was nothing to write home about and the count was also not impressive. It was a case of male factor infertility.
Rebecca’s husband declared that the result was not his and therefore he was not going to accept it.
He further refused to do another semen analysis.
As far he was concerned, he could never be sterile as he comes from a long line of “strong men” and he was sure that at the perfect time, God was going to do it.
Never mind the glaring fact that he has never fathered a child, at least he could have used that as a leverage to show that he had proved his virility once.
With his stance, Rebecca has found herself at a cross road. Her deep hunger of a child, that looks like it is not going to be satisfied, has manifested itself in form of spontaneous anger, depression and sometimes, stress rolling on folks who have no idea what’s going on in her private life.
She got some of their family and friends involved again, and the next thing that happened was that her husband withdrew from every one of those persons, even his siblings. He just blocked everyone out of his space.
Rebecca has threatened to leave her husband, and almost did once, if not for the quick thinking and, of course, the smooth tongue of her husband, which she still falls for.
Even that move solves nothing. Rebecca is still without the child she craves, all because her husband has refused to acknowledge that there is a problem and that it actually stems from him.
The question now is, for how many more years will he remain stubborn and deny Rebecca a chance at a baby, by stepping up to the plate and undergoing treatment?
The years are no longer on her side, not even on his side too, and in this age where science has shown that age affects the biological clock of both genders, the earlier this issue is resolved the better for both of them.
As Rebecca told me her story, she also told me about some other women who had revealed they had a similar challenge with their husbands refusing to go for treatment, but none of them had to wait for as long as Rebecca has had to.
It’s comforting on one level, and not so on another.
At this point, one can only pray that God touches the heart of Rebecca’s husband, before things get out of hand.
Otherwise, Rebecca may actually fulfil her threat to leave one day soon.
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