Marc Sedaka is the author of What He Can Expect When She’s Not Expecting, a guide for men who are trying to conceive with their wives or partners. Conceive Online asked Marc to answer a few questions:
What’s the single best piece of advice you’d give men who are part of a couple trying to conceive?
Always remember that you are, in fact, part of a couple. Infertility isn’t her issue or her problem. More than any other time in your marriage, your wife needs her partner now. An equal, split-down-the-middle, 50-50 partner. One who is as willing to share the credit as he is to share the blame. Anything less is unacceptable. Anything less and you’re not even worthy of her.
The worst advice you heard during your own experience trying to get pregnant?
People say stupid things. It’s inevitable. That’s probably why most couples going through infertility don’t even want to share their struggles with other people. For myself, the worst thing someone said – and it was actually said to me twice, once by a poker buddy and once by a cab driver of all people – was “Maybe God doesn’t want you to have kids.” In both cases, I don’t think it was said with malice, but instead just their way of saying “accept what the Lord gives you and move on.” Still… it’s not the pearl of wisdom you want to hear when you’ve just sunk $20,000 on yet another failed IVF.
Is there anything you’d do differently in your own experiences trying to become a dad?
If I could have done one thing differently on my journey it would have been to speak up more and not left so much of the decision-making to my wife. I think because she was the one going through most of the testing and receiving most of the procedures, I assumed she should also be the one making most of the choices. In retrospect, I know she would have welcomed my input early-on – be it on what doctor to see, what questions to ask, or which method to choose on our road to parenthood.
What helped you most when you were going through this experience?
The knowledge that, one way or another, we would become parents. It might not happen exactly when we wanted, or even in the way we intended, but if our resolve was strong enough, it would happen. Had our gestational surrogacy not worked, we would have turned to adoption. In fact, we were already on a few lists. And I guarantee that, had we gone that route, we would have been no less excited or felt no less fulfilled to finally have our family.
What did you do or say (or not do or say) that helped your wife most?
As much as possible, I tried to sense where she was struggling and fill in the gaps as best I could. A great example is when I took the brave initiative of finding her an infertility support group because, at that time, she had neither the strength nor the motivation do it herself. That was really the emotional turning point for both of us. It showed me that I could truly be an active partner in this process, and it showed her that she didn’t have to face this journey alone.