Men's Articles

In Pursuit Of A Child

Jaslyn And Albert had been married for several years, but remained childless. It did not help matters that both parents ah taken to dropping hints about the joys of grandparenthood as early on as their first year of marriage. To make matters worse. Their married siblings already had several children, and they were beginning to feel left out.

After two years of trying, they decided to seek medical help. Fertility tests with a gynaecologist revealed that Albert had an extremely low sperm count. The problem was coupled with Joanne's irregular menstrual cycle and this severely hampered their chances of a successful conception.

Following that discover, tensions began to mount both between the couple and around them. They put on a brave front but avoided social and festive gatherings where children featured prominently - they couldn't bear to listen as proud parents recounted their children's achievements. The couple suffered an emotional identity crisis:

Albert began to wonder if he had lost his manhood, while Joanne suffered the brunt off her mother-in-law's frustrations as she blamed Joanne for her son's childlessness. Sometimes, nature just won't take its course. Medical practitioners estimate that one in six couples worldwide experience difficulties in conception.

When a willing and eager couple fails to conceive after several years of trying, the stress of childlessness almost inevitably puts the marriage in jeopardy. Of course, having children is no guarantee for a lasting marriage; but most married couples, if asked, will say that a family unit is incomplete without the sound of little feet pattering.

Tabloid speculators go so far as to blame the breakdown in the marriages of some Hollywood stars such as Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, and Tom Cruise and his first wife Mimi Rogers on their lack of children, however, there are no official statistics on how many divorcees occur as a result of the inability to conceive.

Can a marriage survive the social, psychological and emotional stress of childlessness? My response is an emphatic yes! Here are some ways to keep the marriage bond strong while trying for a baby.

Your Spouse Is Your Top Priority

Think back to your decision to marry. Chances are, it had a lost to do with wanting to spend the rest of your lives with each other, and very little to do with the desire to become parents. Whatever the current situation, your marriage should remain at centre-stage.

Your career or your friends shouldn't be allowed to take over, and certainly not desire to have a baby! The wisdom of putting your spouse first holds true even after a couple that has battled infertility has their first child. Many parents allow their lives to revolve around their children and before long, the intimacy in the marriage is lost.

A friend related to me how he and his wife focused so much of their energy on their first-born that they found little else to hold them together. With the endless routines of childcare, putting your spouse first becomes a conscious decision that requires effort.  It means making time for each other, doing things together, communicating and connecting.

After all, every difficulty is halved when shared! Whether or not you become parents, your marriage should be able to weather the many storms in life. As older coupler will tell you, children grow up and move on- it's your spouse that sits next to you on your recliner in front of the TV when your hair is grey and your knees don't work so well anymore!

Preserve The Unity In Your Marriage

A marriage that is "spouse-focused" has a natural security net built around it. However, there are times when extra effort may be needed to assure and uphold each other, especially when misunderstandings occur as a result of a breakdown in communication or because of differing male and female perspectives.

For example, when a couple fails to conceive, the man may relate it to his "manhood" (or rather the lack of it); while the woman may feel a loss of purpose and worth. If the couple does not communicate these feelings to each other properly, sparks will start to fly.This is aggravated by the fact that men tend to avoid conflict and confrontation, while women like to deal with problems as they arise.

Men and women also have different emotional responses when fertility treatments fail. As men, we do not show our grief, and often mask it by keeping ourselves busy at work, or hanging out with friends. Women, on the other hand, tend to respond to grief head-on, whether through tears or through incessant talking.

In the extreme scenario, either party can become depressed and withdrawn. Therefore it you are trying for a baby, be conscious of the differences in the way you and your spouse will respond to the situation. If ever there is a time when you need to stand united, this is it.

Seek Help Early

I am constantly surprised at how many childless couples do nothing about their intense desire to have a baby. Such parents seem to lack the motivation required to make parenthood happen. Most couples would brush off childlessness by telling friends, "It's no big deal whether or not to have a baby," "A baby is too expensive to maintain anyway," or "We're letting nature take its course."

To such couples, I'd say be honest with yourself and with your friends. Seeking medical treatment does not guarantee you will conceive, but not doing anything rules out the possibility all together.


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