The two weeks wait is over, and your number one arch enemy, the red flowing liquid is here. You try to wrap your head around why all the fertility treatments and medication taken in the last cycle yielded nothing. You were hopeful that it was going to be a different cycle. You did everything by the books. You are sad, angry, and frustrated all at once. You feel like going to the rooftop to scream your lungs out.
You go to the living room, and find your darling husband watching one of the EPL matches, shouting in excitement with a big bowl of popcorn by his side. He doesn’t seem to have any care in the world. You tell him you want to talk him, but he gives you a hand sign and with a non-challant attitude tells you later.
You go back to the room angrier than you were minutes before. You can’t for the life of you imagine how your husband can be bubbling with so much excitement and have such care free attitude in the midst of your fertility challenges.
Then suddenly you remember a Nollywood movie you watched on Africa Magic-you know those ones with no head or tail, where the ghost looks left and right before closing the road. You remember one of those movies which was centered around a couple who had been trying to conceive for five years, then the wife surprisingly discovered that her husband had a child with another woman- no, not even one child, but two children. Then the little demons in your head starts whispering to you that your husband also probably has kids outside which has resulted in his indifferential attitude to your plight.
What you fail to realize in the midst of all this is that men are wired differently from women, and the way and manner they react and respond to situations and challenges is different. By understanding the why and how of those differences, you can support each other better, and find a middle ground in dealing with your emotions.
- Hormonal factor.
The amount of cortisol; the major hormone released in a stressful situation is higher in women than men. So given the same circumstance, women would get more cranky, while the men would be more relaxed because of the lesser volume of cortisol that would be released in their system.
The female response to stress is talking, while the male response to stress is acting and being distracted. Simply put, men don’t like to talk about their problem, but would rather find an activity that would put a distance between them and the problem. They can bury themselves in work, or as the above scenario, get distracted by watching a football match.
- Show of strength
A man feels responsible and has learned to be strong at a young age. He has been conditioned not to show his emotions, to put up a bold face even when he is dying inside. He shows his grief less often because he assumes that’s what makes him manly. He is not used to putting his emotions into words, but would rather find a worthy means of distraction.
- Societal role: Like I said in this post , there is an unspoken societal burden placed upon women in relation to having children, as such the woman experiences more grief, and is usually more devastated when the children are not forthcoming.
- The woman is the one who receives the treatment
Except in the case of male infertility, the woman is the one who receives all the infertility treatment, from being prodded with different needles in the name of injections to swallowing medications. Besides being physically and emotionally draining, some of the side effect of the medications includes moodiness and irritability.
- He does not need to recover physically
As stated above, the woman is usually on the receiving end of most of the treatments, and might take her some time to recover from the pains, especially if its a failed IVF cycle. The man in most cases is not involved in the painful physical procedures, and so doesn’t go through any physical recovery process which makes it a little bit easier for him to move on.
These reasons do not apply to everyone, and even when it does, not to the same extent. There are always exceptions, but these are areas that have a lot of influence and where the same patterns are often recognized with different couples. People have different coping mechanism, and everyone does it in his or her own way.
Try to acknowledge the differences that exist between you and your husband. Work towards meeting yourselves at a middle ground, and be patient with yourself, and with each other.