My life has always been a bit of a roller-coaster, but the one thing I’ve always known, is how much I wanted to be a dad. Even as young as 14, when I thought of growing up and what I wanted to be when I grow up, the one thing I knew for sure was that I wanted to be a dad and that I would be a great dad. Throughout the years growing up, I had so many questions about myself, who I was and what path I would take in my life but again being a dad was going to be a part of that.
When I eventually fell in love and got married, having a child was definitely in both our minds and we started ‘trying’ almost immediately. We both believed it would happen quickly and when it didn’t, the stress and anxiety of the situation showed cracks in our relationship. We held together tightly and faced our fears of going to the doctors to try and get answers.
The truth is, I knew that there was something wrong with me, I’d always felt different and even before seeing the doctor I had convinced myself that I had testicular cancer or something similar. I guess you could say that we know our own bodies and I just knew something wasn’t right.
When I saw the doctor, the first thing he did was assure me that I did not have cancer but that he suspected something else was going on. Unfortunately, he was very right. Soon after the initial consultation, I was sent for a number of tests. I was then diagnosed with the genetic disorder; klinefelters syndrome and more importantly given the news that I was infertile.
I was devastated. I cried and screamed, broke down and even tried to take my own life. I could not understand how this could happen to me. I’m not a bad guy, I’ve always tried to help people, and had even built a school in Africa. Things like this shouldn’t happen to me, I was born to be a dad!
The reason I’m sharing this today, is because I’m currently having therapy to deal with my diagnosis. There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t think about my Infertility. Not a day goes by that I don’t think, what might have been? Not a day goes by when I don’t feel broken, or that I don’t moarn the child I will never have and it eats away at me.
But you see there’s more to my story. In December 2014, I became a dad. I have a son and he is awesome, amazing, kind, beautiful and funny (like me, his dad).
After my diagnosis, things moved pretty quickly. We were offered IVF almost immediately and one of the first options was to use a sperm donor.
My wife had always wanted to carry a child and to give birth. Knowing this, when I had my diagnosis, I offered to leave, to give her that chance. My wife said no and that we would find another way. So when offered a donor, I knew that this was the best way forward. My wife could carry and give birth to our child, and although it was such a horrible and difficult decision to make, I thought that atleast now I can pick a man with amazing genetics, someone much better than me, to give our child the best start in life.
Within 6 months of the hardest decision of my life, my wife was pregnant with our son.
I fell in love with that child the moment I found out we were pregnant. I knew from the first sound of his heartbeat, the first scan and the first kick that I would love this child and that I would do anything for him, that I would die for him. He is my world, holding him for the first time, looking into his eyes. No one could tell me I’m not his father.
My son is truly wonderful and I love him endlessly. That’s why I feel physically sick, embarrassed and guilty to say, that being infertile still has such a hold on my life.
It has brought with it, alot of darkness and even though my son has always been a light in that darkness. The emptiness, hopelessness and self loathing broke apart my marriage.
The shame and embarrassment of my diagnosis continues to eat away at me, because I know how lucky I am, I know that there are people out there worse off than me but still everyday I wake with this sadness.
So, I talk about it. I talk about my Infertility, my mental health before, during and now, I talk about the guilt, emptiness, loneliness that grips my life but also the joy that my son brings to me. If I didn’t talk, then the unfortunate truth is that the doubts would take over. The idea that my son would be better off without me, that I’m broken. Those thoughts would win and I’m not going to let that happen but I can’t do it on my own….