It is Men’s Health Week (14th-20th June) and in light of this Nua Fertility’s Commercial Director, Mark Mullins and husband to Deborah opens up about how he felt during their fertility journey and the blame which he put on himself during this time. A moving encounter and advice to his past self.
Written by Mark Mullins, Commercial Director of Nua Fertility
Breaking down the mental barriers and stigma around male infertility is essential for our physical and mental health.
When Deborah and I embarked on our journey to have a family in 2010, we thought it would be so easy, like most of our friends around us. Weeks of trying turned into months, and we realised there could be an issue. Most people automatically look at the female for any problems, but the truth is 40% of fertility issues are male. After all, tests were done, I was told that I was part of that 40%. My world came crashing down. We wanted to be parents so badly, and all I wanted was for my wife to be able to experience what her friends had experienced and have the feeling of being pregnant.
We had several failed rounds of ICSI AND frozen embryo transfers. This was so emotionally draining. While Deborah had opened up to some of her closest friends and family, I hadn’t. Only my Mum and Dad knew my true feelings. Looking back, this was my biggest mistake! I didn’t open up to my friends as I thought I would be judged; they would pity me, see me as less of a man. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Even looking back now, I remember the time like it was yesterday with my emotions so raw. I blamed myself for everything Deborah had to go through. All the needles, steroids, procedures she had to take, and the distress that everything caused her, I saw this as my fault. I would always make sure that I was there to do what I could, but even when she asked how I was feeling, I couldn’t open up. I thought as this was my fault, I didn’t want to burden her with more problems. This again was a mistake!
If I was able to go back 11 years and speak to myself, I would say the following:
- What you are going through isn’t easy, but open up and get help.
- Trust your friends and family, and they will be there for you.
- This isn’t your fault, so please don’t blame yourself.
- Look at ways of keeping yourself calm during stress through meditation, walks, or anything you find relaxing.
- Exercise more. A healthy body helps a healthy mind.
- Don’t hide your feeling from your partner. This is so important. Honesty is essential and avoids guilt or blame.
This is an old but very special picture. It is of Ella and I. We were at a family music festival…something I longed to go to and longed to be at as a family.