Tomorrow my handsome husband starts a new job…now my husband didn’t necessarily want a new job, he was comfortable in the job he had, but we want a baby…and our insurance plan wasn’t going to cover our second round of IVF…so Dan went and got himself a new job…with better insurance. These are the things you find yourself doing when you find yourself childless and wishing you weren’t.
So I dubbed this weekend “The weekend of Dan”. On Friday, when Dan came home from his last day at his old job I was waiting in the kitchen with balloons, a cake and a bottle of champagne. On Saturday night we splurged on an expensive dinner and celebrated. Today the plan was I was going to do laundry while Dan golfed with one of his friends…the weekend of Dan was going perfectly. Until this morning when he sat down on the bed next to me and said “I’m kind of sad…” I blame it on the fact that I had just woken up and I drank too much wine yesterday at said expensive dinner, but I was confused…what did he have to be sad about? He continued “…you know, because it’s Father’s Day and I’m not…like…a father…”
If there was an award for most inconsiderate infertile wife I think I win today…see I was ready to celebrate my own father today (which I will because my dad is one of the greatest humans who has ever walked this earth…) but I completely forgot about what this day must feel like for my husband…which is pretty selfish because I struggled so much on Mother’s Day I couldn’t even write a post about it.
I struggled to comfort my husband…hours later as I sit here typing I’m still struggling to know what to say. Infertility is a shared experience, but for some reason it seems to belong to women more than men. As much as Dan and I have shared this experience over the past two years it has always been more about me than him…but not today. Today is Father’s Day and my husband is struggling…so this post is for him…(it’s everything I wish I had said this morning….)
To my childless husband on Father’s day,
Today is Father’s Day…for the past few weeks you’ve been bombarded with commercials advertising adorable children bringing smiling father’s breakfast in bed, you’ve walked through the aisle at the grocery store decked out with blue streamers and signs reminding everyone who can read “DON’T FORGET DAD!”, your social media feeds are filled with smiling former class mates and current co-workers showing off handmade cards and gifts. It seems really great to be a father…only you don’t know what it’s like to be a father…
But you know a lot of other things. You know that if you get a text from me during the day that reads ‘not this month’ I’m going to take an extra-long shower after work and when I emerge from the bathroom red-eyed you know exactly how long to hug me, but we won’t ever talk about it. You know to be ready 15 minutes earlier than you have to be when we have an appointment with our fertility specialist, even though we’ll sit in the waiting room for 30 minutes, because I’m always stressed about getting there late. You know where to give a Progesterone injection, that Lupron makes me (extra) sarcastic and Follistim gives me insomnia. You know retrieval day is easy because I’m medicated and transfer day is difficult because I’m not (and my bladder is full). You know I hate exam room 7 at the doctors because that’s the room they told us they couldn’t find our babies heartbeat. You know the top drawer in our dresser is empty (even though we are short on storage) except for the Peyton Manning jersey my mother gave us for our warrior embryo who will never get to wear it. You know to answer quickly when someone asks at a party why we don’t have kids and you know to change the channel when a Clear Blue commercial comes on. There are a million more things you know that I wish you didn’t…but you do. And so I want to tell you a few things I know (that you may not).
I want you to know it is okay that you felt sad today, it’s okay if you feel sad every single day…life is hard. You deserve a lot better than the hand we’ve been dealt and I hope you know it’s entirely acceptable to curse every single one of those smiling dads in those stupid Father’s Day commercials. I want you to know that it’s okay to tell people we are struggling…you do not have to be the strong person all the time. I want you to know I appreciate every vase of flowers you have left on the counter, every meal you have cooked and every espresso you have made. I want to thank you for allowing me to cry for three hours straight and never once leaving the room. I want to thank you for setting up Hulu in our bedroom so I could watch The Mindy Project and agreeing to watch Lifetime with me on Saturday nights. I want you to know I have never once felt like I was in this mess alone and for that I cannot ever thank you enough. I want you to know that even though I have moments where I yell and curse your name (mainly because you ALWAYS leave dirty dishes in the sink and can’t ever seem to get your dirty clothes in the laundry basket) I wouldn’t want to go through this journey with anyone else. I want you to know you have surprised me over the past two years with your patience, kindness and love and that every day when I count my blessings I always count you first. I want you to know someday we will have a daughter who dates good men and a son who treats women right because they will have you as an example. I want you to know it breaks my heart you are not a father on this Father’s Day…I will never understand why our life has to be like this, but I want you to know you are the reason I am willing to go through everything again… because the dream of having a child who is 50% you is enough for me to continue to live through this nightmare.
And remember tomorrow you’re starting a new job to support our dream of having a family. You are already making sacrifices for our children and they do not even exist yet. I think you’ve already proven yourself to be a really amazing father…
And for that you deserve to be wished the happiest of Father’s Day.
And to all the other men who dream of being called “dad” I am sorry you have to spend even one Father’s Day not being someone’s father. You deserve to be celebrated today…and I pray someday you will be. May you future be filled with handmade cards and mugs that read “#1 Dad”.