I recently watched a reality program about a woman who had lost a lot of weight following gastric bypass. She lost enough weight to take her from morbidly obese, past normal weight, right down to under weight. In fact, she was so thin that her organs were beginning to shut down. Her doctors suggested they reverse the bypass in order for her to recover, but she blatantly refused. Her fiancé broke up with her because he couldn’t understand how she would rather die than go back to being fat. Even though I didn’t agree with her and thought she was being very foolish, I absolutely understood where she was coming from. And I’m sure a lot of women would.
I use that analogy as an opener, just to give some colour to the fact that men and women are truly like chalk and cheese, especially when it comes to thought processes and coping mechanisms. In an earlier article, I talked about the hair-pulling frustration of getting men to cooperate with ovulation monitoring and timed sex. Even though there are so many exceptions to this rule, in the form of men who are more on top of their wife’s fertile window than even she is, a lot of us are not so lucky. One of the most annoying things my husband would repeatedly say was ‘It will happen when it happens’. When every single indicator I had would be literally flashing neon lights, screaming ovulation, my dear husband would not so much as break into a sweat if we missed this fertile window, or if we did all we could but my period showed up anyway. ‘It will happen when it happens’ would be what I’d hear. This almost always led to huge shouting matches about how ‘NO!! It will NOT happen when it happens!’. I even tried to draw a parallel between the football transfer window and the fertility window, a comparison he was quick to scoff at. ‘So you’re saying having a baby is like football?’. That was one of the times I threw my hands up in defeat.
When it was established that we indeed had a problem, I spent a fortune ordering a cocktail of vitamins and supplements for the two of us. Apart from the first pill he grudgingly swallowed, all his drugs sat untouched in the medicine cabinet, till I threw everything away…after our kids were born. Men! Always thinking left, when we are thinking right…or vice versa.
It wasn’t until years later that I realized that my husband wasn’t being deliberately uninterested. He just genuinely was not on the same level of despair as I was with our failing TTC efforts. He was happy to keep on trying, at our own pace, and was convinced that we would conceive eventually.
‘What if it takes 10 years??!!!’ I asked in frustration once.
‘Then it takes 10 years’ was the annoying answer I got. And when I eventually crumbled and decided it was time for IVF, he agreed to it just to make me happy, as he didn’t like how heart broken I was every cycle. Well, thank God the tears counted for something in the end…lol!
In one of my very early articles on Bella Naija, one of the comments was from a lady who joked about how she wept so profusely on the drive home, after being diagnosed with PCOS, only for her husband to retort something like ‘Why are crying like that?! It’s not as if they said you don’t have a womb!!!’. It cracked me up because it was just a clear demonstration of how black and white men tend to think. The only thing that is cause for concern is the absence of a womb, or something equally as catastrophic. Any other thing is a non-issue. Except that the truth is, some of the seemingly inconsequential problems are those that wreak the most havoc!
When I insisted on using my Ob/Gyn, instead of the free clinics on my medical insurance, my dear husband couldn’t understand it. We had many heated debates over why I would absolutely not repeat the mistake I had earlier made by opting for a cheap clinic, and would instead pay out of pocket for guaranteed professional care. In the end, he agreed to go along with it, but didn’t miss any opportunity to remind me of how much we would have been saving if we had stayed with the free clinic. True, we would have saved an awful lot…but we also might not have had our kids either. He also could not understand why I would rather sit in a long queue, waiting to see my particular Ob/Gyn, instead of opting for any of the more available doctors. ‘You and this your doctor sef’, was what I kept being teased with. Ehn yes, thank you! I will wait for him.
It was a relief when I found out that ours was not a peculiar case, and there were a lot of men like my husband. When I spoke with some of my friends, we would laugh over the annoying similarities of these our clueless men. However, one story ended up not being funny at all.
When I was pregnant, I ran into an old classmate of mine, and his wife, in one of my clinic’s antenatal classes. I had attended their wedding some months before, and was so happy they were already expecting. I left the country shortly after, but kept in touch with this guy on social media. His wife was due a month before me, but alas, I received the bad news that they had lost the baby at birth. His wife had labored for too long, and the baby had been extremely distressed, such that when he was eventually born via caesarian section, he couldn’t breathe and, because the hospital did not have an equipped neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU), the baby died shortly after. It didn’t sound like my doctor to make anyone labour that long, and I knew that our clinic had an excellent NICU. When I asked, I was shocked to my bone marrow over what he said. ‘Ah no oh. I took her to a hospital near our house. That your doctor is too expensive!’. This might have made sense to me if it was a struggling couple, trying to make ends meet. But this man worked in one of the international oil companies, and earned a robust 8-figure salary, exclusive of bonuses. Unfortunately, they had lost a child just to save a buck. When his wife got pregnant the following year, nobody told him twice what he needed to do.
Today, I have learnt how to handle the numerous men-are-from-Mars-women-are-from-Venus situations I encounter. I have accepted the fact that my husband and I will not see eye-to-eye on a number of issues. Having been together a long time, I have learnt how to preempt what his response to most things would be, and try to always come prepared when we have a discussion. And if all that fails, I have learnt how to masquerade my own ideas to come off looking like his (wink, wink). Because the truth is, you can’t change them…so if you cant beat them, then you might as well (appear to be) join(ing) them