Advice for Want-to-be-Fathers Living in a PCOS Household

Infertility is one of life’s most painful experiences. So is PCOS. It’s even worse when you don’t know anyone else going through the experience, or you just feel like you can’t talk about it. Here’s what you need to know to start dealing with it:

You can’t fix this.

If you could, you definitely would have by now, right? Being smart isn’t enough. Seeing good doctors isn’t always enough. There’s no special diet or pills to take to magically make it go away. Cooperating with the shots, the pills, the acupuncture treatments, and getting up at the crack of dawn to take her to the doctor won’t actually fix it either. Accepting the fact that you can’t fix this is critical. And anyway, even when you eventually “fix” the infertility, she’s still got PCOS, which definitely isn’t fixable, but can be managed.

Infertility is not a shameful condition.

It’s a medical problem. A very common medical problem. If you’re feeling ashamed, ask yourself why. Your partner with PCOS probably feels shame too, like she has failed at one of life’s most important duties. Reassure her that you love and value whether she can produce children or not.

She may feel like “damaged goods.”

Even women who thought they didn’t want children can get hit hard with feelings of longing for pregnancy, childbirth, the shared social experience of children, or wanting to give you something you value. And the fact that she’s got PCOS-related infertility probably makes her feel like she’s less than whole, and less of a woman. She needs to know that you think she’s perfect the way she is, right now, in this moment. Let her know that she isn’t a failure in your eyes.

Both of you are going to have ALL the feelings.

And that’s okay! Understand that the experience of infertility is profoundly sad and emotional for both of you. It may be incredibly draining for the woman in your life as it brings up a lot of unresolved grief about having PCOS, and all that PCOS means for her lifetime. You’ve heard that shared sorrows are lessened, right? It’s true. Try having a heart-to-heart about your pain, and be curious about her pain too.

You need support too.

The national infertility organization, RESOLVE, has some great advice about relationships, dealing with the stress of infertility, and finding a support group. It’s good to talk to other men who are dealing with the same situation and feelings. You might also want to locate a therapist, at least for a few sessions. Your employee assistance program (EAP) at work is a good place to start.

PCOS Wellness is on your side. Stay tuned for more help for men dealing with PCOS-related infertility issues in their relationships.

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