The scene is familiar. It has happened year after year. You sit there in the congregation or with other family members while all the fathers are recognized. Maybe they are asked to stand and everyone applauds. Yet you must remain seated. Again. You hang your head slightly yet try not to let it show. Or you scroll through social media and see all of your friends and family post pictures with their children on Father’s Day with the cute homemade gifts made just for them by little hands. But you have nothing to share of your own. Again. You think no one notices. But He sees you. God sees you. And He wants to whisper what a great miracle He has in store. You can’t see it or begin to comprehend it but it is coming.
Even the childless mothers are starting to receive much more sensitivity on the subject. Maybe it’s because women talk more in general and are finally able to share their feelings on infertility without feeling as shameful. Yet there is nothing to be ashamed of. But you – the childless father – still go year after year without anyone realizing that Father’s Day is equally as painful for you as Mother’s Day is for the childless mother. The fact is that you hurt too. You ache to have children just as much. You may not show it in the same way, or at all, but you still long to be a father just as much as the woman does to be a mother.
You may be thinking, “well you are a woman and you really have no idea how I feel.” That is true. I am a woman and I admit it is very hard to know how my own husband feels much of the time because he reacts to things much differently than I do. We were designed that way on purpose. But I am a woman who was diagnosed with unexplained infertility, and the wife of a man who was diagnosed with infertility. We traveled the painful path together. We cried for one another on Mother’s Day and on Father’s Day. We understood each other’s hurt, as well as how the other reacted to that hurt.
My husband doesn’t outwardly show his feelings like I do. And I would venture to guess that can be said for 99.9% of you. What I think society tends to forget though, is that just because it can’t be “seen” doesn’t make it not so. And often it is those “unseen” things that are leaving the greatest wounds. Infertility is one of those especially for men because so often manhood is tied to the ability to conceive children.
On this Father’s Day, I want you to know that you are not alone. You may be fighting back tears and wanting to stay strong for your wife or significant other. But what she needs is for you to share that with her. Let her carry some of that grief. Keep the lines of communication open and lean on each other during these tough days. And please know that you are also not alone among men. There are thousands of others out there just like you. And likely someone you know and are close to.
Lastly, it may seem as though your day will never come when little feet come barreling into the bed with you screaming “Happy Father’s Day!!!” It felt that way for my husband too. It was several years after our diagnosis before he was blessed with those words from his child. But it did happen and he never lost hope that it would. Hope and faith is the only thing that will make any of this ever make sense. And one day, when you are looking into the eyes of your child, you will finally understand the purpose of all the pain and it will instantly be washed away by the miracle that took place.
It's not just women that long to hold a child and celebrate a day set aside to honor parenthood. Men most definitely long for those moments too. As we approach Father's Day, we look forward to celebrating the day with joy but not without the memories of all those years we were both in a season of longing and waiting. I am honored to bring to you a story I have been longing to share with you for some time... our story through infertility from my husband's point of view. It is our prayer that his words bring encouragement to those who are still waiting and true gratitude for the blessings in your life to those of you looking forward to this upcoming holiday. You are not alone.