I have always said why I can't have children. My sperm are directionless and my count is low so the only way I would be a dad is through ICSI. I know this because I work in a hospital where IVF was offered. When my ex and I were trying and it didn't work, I thought I'd be tested because being me... blasé and overconfident... I was going to be alright.
I think part of the reason men struggle is because the resources aren't there. I got told in a nice room by a nice lady and that really was about it. It's not a criticism of my employers, the NHS because I know from working as a nurse, we try all we can with what we're given. Women are already struggling to get support so what is there left for men? I sought some help through private counselling which I found via BACP but it was too expensive to carry on so I do my best to look after myself by telling myself I'm more than a baby making machine. My job has sort of saved me, for a while I said I was too busy to have kids as I was busy with being a nurse and I wanted to get on with my career. But people laughed and said was I going to be house husband then? It was a bit of a patch up excuse. Okay, a lie then.
So I started to tell the truth, to close friends - some aren't friends any more because it hurts me as much anyone when I'm called a Jaffa (yes, really) but mostly we're all okay. There's something to be said for the mate who silently hugs you or claps you on the back when he sees that look on your face that says, I can't cope with this. Mostly those friends are from work because that's where we learn those signs.
I haven't tried IVF, I know the tech is there and I read about what it can do. I'm amazed and a bit scared about it, to be honest. I'm now proud to be a nurse, I can see it helping others in different ways and that maybe I can help men like me in time. I've started talking about a support group connected to the hospital but the cuts to funding for IVF haven't made that easy but I'm going to keep talking about this. It's important to keep talking about it which is why I've shared my story here.
Thanks for reading.
First published on Walk In Our Shoes and shared with the author's permission.