June 17, 2020

One Man’s Mission to be a Father

Although their son, George, is now a toddler, the emotions of going through infertility stay with James and Natalie. Ahead of Father’s Day, James shares his thoughts:

“Infertility impacts everyone differently. For me, in my profession, I’ve been trained to analyse a situation rationally. But even with this, the build-up of emotions as you try to conceive for a long time, can take its toll. It’s so important to look after yourself.

“There are external factors, people around you are all having children. Light-hearted questions with the best intentions about children can feel like a bomb. We hoped for a long time that we’d be OK, but once we recognised our infertility, it became a mission. But one I had no control over, the outcome was out of my hands, we had to put our faith in others. What should be a natural event turned into a strangely scientific, mechanical procedure.

Armed with the facts, we had to make some tough decisions, sometimes quickly, which we did together

“I reflect from a personal perspective but one I feel will resonate with the majority, your default defence as a man is to fix and identify as being useful, you do this because it gives you a role and function, it also gives you context and meaning. The hardest thing you need to understand and embrace is to let go of the notion “I can control this” and recognise you still matter without that shield. YOUR time will come when you deploy your talents, right now be there for your partner, support, listen and understand the process. Concentrate on checking and regulating your own emotions so you can provide the strongest support when needed.

“It was when we started treatment that our journeys diverted. My fertility health was good, but we couldn’t celebrate this, as Natalie faced hurdle after hurdle. I listened and attended every appointment, as although most of the treatment was happening to Natalie, it was our journey and I needed to be there for her and together we made every decision. That was important. Armed with the facts, we had to make some tough decisions, sometimes quickly, which we did together.

I will never under-estimate what it is to do IVF and the fantastic people at Oxford Fertility

“I will never under-estimate what it is to do IVF and the fantastic people at Oxford Fertility. People describe infertility as a journey as it is. Yours may be short or long, but it is going to be what it is going to be. I would say it’s important to be clear on your role. Mine was being there for my partner, making decisions together.

“To protect myself, I was guarded held my emotions in. Even when Natalie became pregnant, or during the first scan, we couldn’t celebrate. It was only once I held George in my arms that I could breathe, with my 10lb bionic baby.”