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Problems conceiving, husband having doubts

(35 Posts)
RockyB Thu 11-Aug-11 10:06:24

Hello, I'm new to this board. I started out on the pregnancy board in January, moved to the miscarriage board in February, thought everything was ok for a while, then went back to the miscarriage board a month or so ago,.... but now think the miscarriage and the stress of it probably means I need to be on this board! Anyway, sorry for the ramble!

After 18 months of trying to conceive (including a miscarriage earlier in the year) my husband has now said he wants to stop trying for a while. He has told me this 6 weeks before my due date for the miscarried baby, which although doesn't mean much to him, it does to me of course.

His reasons are he's not sure if it's 'right for him right now'. How he can use this phrase for a process that doesn't seem to have a 'right now' in it (we've been trying for so long) seems strange to me, and I can't help worry that he's trying to soften the blow about him not wanting a baby at all. He keeps saying 'it's not you, it's me' and that he thinks he needs a break to, in his words, 'prepare for fatherhood'.

He told me this 3 weeks ago. Since then I've taken it very badly, but perked myself up for a week or so, and now I'm off work with a dreadful virus (which I can't help but feel is related to the stress of everything as I'm rarely poorly). I feel very powerless, as he says he needs time to think about 'things'. Obviously I've worried that he's evaluating our future, but he has reassured me this isn't the case - he loves me and wants to be with me, but needs to think about whether this is right FOR HIM (RIGHT NOW) (you get the picture,...).

All this comes at a time when he was about to get himself tested (I was tested last year and I was ok). He denies that this is a reason, although it is bound to be a contributing factor. He also talks about enjoying not having resposibilities and how he doesn't think we're too old to delay this for a few years. However, I'm 35 and he's 37, so I don't think we have as much time as he believes. And I find this attitude a bit selfish.

I've rang up about counselling and the honest truth is we can't afford it. I did wonder if I should just concentrate on myself for a few weeks and try to hope things resolves themselves, but there is a real underlying tension. It has also spread to our families as we've both told our parents about things,.... so much so that now my husband doesn't want to see my parents at the weekend because he feels 'guilty',....

Any help or advice very much appreciated. Thank you.

Pigglesworth Thu 11-Aug-11 14:29:53

When you say "stop trying", does he mean resume protected sex or just put the goal of having a baby off the agenda, but continue as you have been? If it is the latter, it may benefit you both to feel less stressed out about trying to conceive - in terms of reducing your anxieties as well as improving your chances of conceiving.

I do agree with you that at your ages this is something that would be very unwise to put off. It is also very unfair of him to be saying this at this stage, especially if he has seemed enthusiastic in the past. I wouldn't be surprised if the threat of this testing could be, subconsciously at least, worrying him. For men it can be a huge blow if they are responsible for fertility difficulties and he may be trying to put off potentially having to shoulder that burden.

Do you feel as though you were both enthusiastically trying for a family, or like you always needed to persuade him/ he was more reluctant than you? Did his revelation that he was "not sure" about a baby come out of the blue? Or were there signs that something was wrong?

The reality is that very few people are ever going to feel "entirely ready" to start a family. He may find the lack of responsibilities appealing now, but does he never want a family of his own? How does he picture his old age? It could be worth sitting him down and just listening to what he has been thinking about, what his uncertainties are - not interrupting/ trying to persuade him, but just listening. With 18 months to think about it he has probably started to "over-think" things, rather than being "thrown into the deep end" and having to prepare himself for an impending baby whether he felt ready or not.

How much have you been telling your parents? Have they been helpful?

PurpleRayne Thu 11-Aug-11 15:19:58

He is not being realistic about your ages and the impact on fertility. Does he realise the 'quality' of sperm also declines significantly? If he is intending to have a family with you at some point, wouldn't it make sense to at least get this checked out now?

What time-frame is he suggesting?

I am wondering how honest he is being with you about his reasons.

holyShmoley Thu 11-Aug-11 16:33:02

i have been in your position (at a younger age) and my advice is to think and behave like a man would. Get tough, be goal focussed and don't ask for emotional help from a man.
Tell (not ask) when he will be doing his sperm and blood samples, tell him to leave his Jesus complex at the door and that he will not be baulking at the first hurdle.
Hide your ovulation monitor and don't discuss any fertility matters with him. Accept his decision at face value but do not actively support it (i.e. Don't use contraception).

In terms of your parents tell them never to allude to it in his presence. Tell him they support you both as a couple and there is no need to be guilty, embarassed anything negative.
Minimise the contribution he needs to make, and talk about how you supported him when you have a baby in your arms.

My guess is he just wants it to be easy/natural/blah blah blah. Don't give him the chance to give those thoughts air.
Having children is too important to mess around with.

I know I'll get slated for this post but having been the wrong end of both infertility and recurrent miscarriage, that's my experience (and that of many on the long term TTC Thread i used hang out on)

Poogles Thu 11-Aug-11 16:51:11

I had a similar conversation with DH. We felt that we were putting too much pressure on ourselves and as we were about to move into a new house, we decided to put trying for a baby on hold. As Pigglesworth said, we stopped 'trying' for a baby but took no action to prevent. Within 2 weeks of moving into our house I found out I was carrying DS.

DH had said things like 'not sure I'm ready, still got time etc' but I think it was really the pressure of 'trying'. DH was the first to suggest we start 'practicing' for DS2!!!

It sounds like there is a lot of pressure to get pregnant and that won't help. If it is the pressure, then agree to stop trying (without taking any action iykwim) and tell families that you have decided to wait a year or so. I'm sure they will like the surprise if you do fall pg and in the meantime the pressure will be off.

Good luck. Hope all goes well.

BagofHolly Thu 11-Aug-11 19:18:39

He's being a nob. And I think you're right in that the heart of this may well be that he doesn't want to face the fact that his swimmers might be wonky. Well, you can reassure him that he can produce the sample at home and then you can drive it to the lab - so long as it's there within 30 mins and at body temp (keep it in your bra) it'll be ok. I went through similar talks with my DH - he had No Idea about sperm samples, testing etc and seemed to think he'd be stripped naked and probed up the willy or something. So by explaining that all he had to do was supply a splash of his finest, he relaxed a lot!

Also, explain to him what happens if it IS his sperm! Basically nothing as far as he is concerned - you'd be referred for ICSI I guess which again is all about you - he wouldn't be treated at all, he'd just have to supply the sperm for the job. The clinics have nice special rooms fir it and everything!

He does need to face this - female age is the single biggest factor in fertility and declines rapidly after 35. If you've been trying for more than 6 months NICE recommend a referral to a specialist so 18 months is a long time. And apologies if this upsets anyone but the bit about "not trying so hard" is bollocks.

Very best of luck, I really feel for you. We had some spectacular rows about exactly this and came out the other side of 2 cycles of icsi with 3 kids. The ICSI is no joke but men get off lightly - all they have to do is the odd hand shandy!

solidgoldbrass Thu 11-Aug-11 19:30:04

I do appreciate how upset you are but I can see his point of view as well. The relentless grind of trying and failing to TTC can be utterly exhausting and depressing, and it doesn't necessarily make him a villain to feel the need for a break from it.

Eurostar Thu 11-Aug-11 19:40:29

holyShmoley - what dreadful advice. Some men may take to fatherhood when it is forced on them, many don't. There's many relationship threads on here where women and children are suffering in a poor relationship with a man who never really wanted to be a father.

RockyB - if your DH doesn't want a child and doesn't want to explain why then you are an in awful position. I presume he understands that statistically it will be harder and harder for you to conceive and carry a pregnancy. He needs to know that his behaviour, keeping you hanging on with no clear explanation is cruel. I'm afraid you will have to face this head on with him and, if having a child is a priority for you, of if you suspect he might wake up in 10 years and change his mind when it is too late for you to get pregnant and leave you then you need to get out now sadly. Is there any chance he has started an affair during this stressful time?

ZhenXiang Thu 11-Aug-11 19:40:40

Have you actually sat down and talked to him properly about his feelings about the miscarriage.

He could be grieving just as much as you and the reason he is having doubts now could be because it is coming up to the due date for your miscarried baby.

He may be worried about how he will cope with his feelings if you miscarry again.

The fact the he was about to be tested could also be a factor too, it may impact his self-esteem greatly to find out he has fertility problems.

He is being selfish and disregarding your feelings, but he may not be being honest about his. Counselling may be useful for your both, but try just talking to each other first.

Dozer Thu 11-Aug-11 19:48:29

See what holeyshmoley is saying, have been through recurrent m/c and having to "try" etc, was truly horrible.

I think he should get tested, but you can't force him. I would leave it for a month or two with ttc and he may feel differently. If not, some difficult discussions will be needed.

I get quite cross when people talk about needing to take the pressure off etc, as if this will miraculously lead to a baby. Sure, some people may have this experience, but for many more it can be just added pressure and make it seem like their (natural) anxiety is part of the problem and not allowed.

holyShmoley Thu 11-Aug-11 20:13:05

Eurostar i have actually given very good advice. It is pretty obvious the ttc and m/cx2 have taken their toll on him and he is trying to check out of theworries associated with infertility and m/c (hopefully temporarily).if they woke up tomorrow there is no way he would ask her to terminate- this isn't about whether he wants to be a father, it is about whether he will go through the process necessary to make it happen.

OP realises that she (i.e. They as a couple) may not have the luxury of giving him the time to fully heal and get his head in the right place to be as good as he should ideally be. My advice is don't delay and get the testing done now to start the diagnostic process in parallel with the healing that he needs. She needs to draw on her personal resillience and perhaps one or two close and discreet friends in RL.

I think in this instance that it is unacceptable for him to not do a sperm sample and the recurrent miscarriage bloods.

SheCutOffTheirTails Thu 11-Aug-11 20:42:43

I think holy's advice was great - practical and speaking from personal experience.

RockyB Fri 12-Aug-11 10:32:07

Wow, I would like to thank everyone for responding to this issue, I really appreciate your thoughts.

Thinking about it over the last week, I've realised that my husband has developed a pattern of behaviour that means that any 'change' or progression in our relationship causes him to press the self destruct button. We've been together 7 years - after a year he pushed a letter through my door telling me he loved me but didn't feel the relationship would work. This came at a time when we were discussing moving in together. We had a very difficult 3 months, with the revelation that he DID want to move forward. But he put me through hell in the meantime. When we got engaged 4 years ago we had our 'porngate' saga (like most couples seem to!). I discovered that he was regularly looking at porn on the internet, whenever I confronted him about it he denied, and then owned up, and then said he'd stop - but this carried on for about 6 months. Just at the point where we were planning our wedding. Must stress that it wasn't necessarily the porn that bothered me (well it did a bit), but it was the sneaking around and the not being honest that affected me a whole lot more. It really undermined my trust in him. And we've now just celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary and bought a really nice house in a 'nice' area (the agreement being it is a lovely place to start a family) and we've been in this house for 3 months and he's now dropped this bombshell.

I can't help feel that any sense of progression scares him and he backs off. I suggested this to him last night and of course he denied this, but there is a pattern here of him putting some kind of spanner in the works during crucial stages of our relationship - ironically just at points when we should be enjoying ourselves. I honestly feel that this isn't to do with me, I could be any woman, this is just the way he's wired up, and he would probably do this to any person he loved. However I am now realising that I CAN'T put up with this for the next 20 years or so. I love him and want to be with him, but these incidents put huge amounts of pressure and stress on me, him and us. And each time I feel I have to slowly rebuild my confidence and trust in him. The simple factor as well is there is no way he would let somebody do this to him,.......

I asked this morning if he would consider counselling for these issues, he refuted this and said it was just the baby issue and that I shouldn't bring up the past. I honestly feel I am hitting my head against a brick wall.

For clarification I've had 1 miscarriage. We'd only been actively trying for about 9-10 months (had not been using contraception for much longer), so I don't feel too disheartened that this could happen again for us if we try. He has asked for a 'few weeks', which he has said is likely to be 2-3 months, to think about the issue. But he wants us to carry on as normal, and I feel there are so many issues at play here that I can't carry on as normal. He keeps saying he know that this is all hurting me, but that is not why he's doing it,... And the worse thing is he doesn't want sex during this period, lots of cuddles, but no sex. He seems to think that the moment we have sex at the moment they'll be a baby (which given our history is ludicrous).

Ordinarily we have a good life. We enjoy each other's company, we're comfortable money-wise, we do nice things at the weekend, we enjoy great holidays. We both appreciate the simple things in life.

And finally there is nobody else involved. I asked him a few weeks back and he said no, and I believe this. It's about the one thing I do believe in at the moment.

Thank you again,.... it is so helpful to hear what everything thinks.

solidgoldbrass Fri 12-Aug-11 11:29:44

Oh shit, poor you. TBH (and you won't want to hear this) you would be better off binning this man and starting again. If you do manage to get PG by him he is going to make a shitty father, because you will end up doing all the work while he whines, complains, asks for sex, threatens to leave, has at least an emotional affair with someone else and basically does everything he can to make sure that your life remains all about him.
He's a self-obsessed loser who expects you to run round after him, support him no matter what, and yet offers you very little in return. Your feelings are irrelevant to him, what matters is how he feels.

I know that you are keen to have a baby and at 35 you are right to be aware that you don't have much time, but this tosser will piss away the time you do have.

HedleyLamarr Fri 12-Aug-11 11:48:10

If you want a baby and he doesn't then I'm afraid SGB is right, harsh as it seems. You need to find out why he doesn't want DCs, and I bet that he won't have a reasonable explanation, just vague objections. In which case it's time to move on.

holyShmoley Fri 12-Aug-11 12:01:25

ufcking hell. Scrap what I said, SGB is right, again.

RockyB Fri 12-Aug-11 12:01:50

Thanks again for your responses. You're right, I don't like hearing the 'get out now' as I feel we've worked hard to get where we are and with the right solutions I know that we have potential. But I also understand that if he carries on doing this (i.e. running away from change) then it's something I have to consider.

I might make myself an appointment with Relate next week,.... at least it's a start and I'll feel reasonably proactive about things. At the moment I feel so helpless.

Booboostoo Fri 12-Aug-11 12:06:48

Having a child is a really big change especially when you are going about it in a planned way and there is a lot of time to think through the implications and worry about them. To me he sounds like he is worried, which is perfectly understandable.

My OH went through a similar period when we were trying, we resolved it by talking a lot and me explaining how much I wanted children and how late it was for trying. He was more positive then although he did freak out completely during the pregnancy.

On the positive side now that the baby has arrived he is very happy and has said that he was silly to be so worried!

solidgoldbrass Fri 12-Aug-11 20:26:53

There is another thing to consider as well Rocky (and I am sorry, because this is going to sound even harsher) - reading your thread again it sounds as though, possibly, this man has never been That Into You and you have been wearing yourself out trying to make the relationship into one which progresses to marriage and children and he (because he's a lazy selfish wuss) has been eventually, reluctantly giving in to each new level of commitment as long as he doesn't have to make any effort.
It's never a good idea to expend so much energy on trying to make a reluctant partner 'love' you. If he were an ethical man with a backbone he would kindly and firmly have told you that he actually doesn't want a family - or at least that he doesn't want one with you - as it is, he's coasting, getting his needs met while holding in reserve the card that 'you wanted to commit, I only did it for you and now I don't like it so I'm going to be tiresome...'

Eurostar Fri 12-Aug-11 21:02:20

and, the sort of man that SGB describes does often lazily become a father and then is a really difficult and disappointing man to parent with - as we see on many of these relationship threads. Of course some men get put off when there are difficulties and sadness after miscarriage that they can't find a way to express but a man who refuses to go for a simple sperm count test way before there has been anything "messy" happening is clearly waving a red flag.

RockyB Sat 13-Aug-11 20:35:33

I'm concerned that this thread is going along the lines of 'get rid of him',.... and I think I need to reign it in a bit, just to give a more balanced view. I'm a very emotional and sensitive person, and may be my perception of things on here needs evening out.

What he HAS done since he declared all this is repeatedly declare he loves me and wants to have a future with me. He pointed out last night that I haven't done this recently (for obvious reasons). He says he gets the impression that the only reason I'm with him is to have children - he has sensed my desperation over the last few months and it's made him feel like a walking (failing) sperm bank. The miscarriage has hit me hard and I have to appreciate that there are 2 sides to this problem,... and if I'm honest this issue (i.e. a child) has taken over our relationship. I think he's already feeling a bit neglected and is thinking 'what the fcuk will it be like if we do have a baby?', and also thinking 'If I can't give her a baby I've failed',......

I'm not downplaying any of my problems here, but I just felt the need to add a his perspective. Because every woman I speak to has 'issues' with their partner and I must emphasise that my husband has many strengths that I don't. He reiterated last night that he would like 'a couple of months' to take time out and focus on us again. He says if he feels we're good together with or without children, then he'll feel a lot more confident about trying again.

And just to stress, I want to be with him, I want HIS children, I wouldn't want to just go out and meet someone and get pregnant. But with practically all my peer group being up the duff or on maternity leave etc etc this has affected me an awful lot. I cannot escape the ticking of my biological clock and it probably has made me seem desperate,....

Does this help in not portraying him as a totally selfish bastard?!!

(On a seperate note after the miscarriage I was positively encouraged by the hospital to get trying again as soon as possible. I've since heard that this is now the common advice as with modern technology it's easy to date conception. But years ago couples were usually told to wait 2/3 months to recover physically AND emotionally after a miscarriage. Part of me wonders if we'd had some 'baby time off' after the miscarriage, that we would've naturally regrouped as a couple and wouldn't have hit this brick wall,......)

Dozer Sat 13-Aug-11 21:17:37

I am never slow to say "run for the hills", but am on the fence in this cas.

Can understand the fear of ttc for men, up to a point, it is a lot of pressure on any relationship.

But I really don't like the suggestion that "if we're good together" (ie you bend over backwards for him and try hard to make everything fabulous while inside you feel broody and anxious and have no sex) he may give you another try at a baby.

Also don't like that you seem to be blaming yourself for lots of stuff.

With his history, chances are that if you did get pregnant again he may do negative stuff again.

Wrt trying after the m/c, don't worry about what you did or didn't do, no point.

Dozer Sat 13-Aug-11 21:18:26

Can he not do a sperm test in this "couple of months" off?

LuceyLasstic Sat 13-Aug-11 21:27:25

He's being a nob.

no he isnt, he is probably confused, upset, grieving for the baby they lost - even though he may not say it. He probably doesnt want to see his wife feel pain like that again.

he is trying to protect himself from being hurt, and his wife from being devastated each time it doesnt work out

BagofHolly Sat 13-Aug-11 21:58:02

Lucey, that's a tremendous gift! Can you tell me what will win the 3:30 at kempton park next week?

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