Friday, October 8, 2010

Sherrod Shares...

Haha. I couldn't help but do a cheesy, girly title for my brother Sherrod. "Sherrod Shares"? Hahaha...I just knew he'd love it. Sherrod (pronounced Share-Ed), whom I affectionately refer to as 'Dub', is my 3rd oldest brother. He an I are a lot alike. One time I had wet hair, and I slicked it back to put my makeup on, and I looked at myself in the mirror with no hair and I thought it was Sherrod. That was weird. Anyway, Sherrod and I both like soccer, both like singing and dancing, both dream of being in a famous band some day, both married WAY out of our leagues, and both can't have kids. We've gained a lot of strength from one another, and Sherrod truly is one of my best friends. I'm loving his thoughts on infertility, and I know you will too. So, for our final author of Man Week, here is my brother Sherrod...


My feelings about infertility.

So this week during Man Week, you have heard from my Dad, 2 of my brothers, and Ashlee's friend Bruce. I feel like these men have shared most of what i feel about infertility. Rather than rephrasing what has been said, I decided to talk about dealing with others when they find out that we cant have kids.

I have created a list of things I wish people would have done differently during interactions we have had.

OK so here goes:
^Talk about your children with us. I had a friend who used to tell me all about his kids. What they were doing, etc. When he found out that we couldn't have kids, he stopped talking about his kids. I miss hearing about them. What some of my friends don't know is that I only really like them because they have cool kids. (JK) Don't take that away from us. WE love children, we want to hear about them.
^Tell us when you are pregnant. We want to share in your joy. Don't worry about whether it will hurt our feelings or make us sad. It would be much worse if you didn't tell us and we found out from someone else. We have found out that some of our closest friends have not told us when they got pregnant. They didn't want to hurt our feelings, or make things worse for us. Trust me, it is worse if we don't hear it from you.
^Be compassionate. For those who have children, you may not know how we feel. Most of us either have or will learn to deal with insensitive comments or unintentional digs at us. But, if you can put yourself in our shoes you may choose to say things differently. One situation I had explains this perfectly. I met a co-worker for the first time a few weeks ago. She had come from back east. As we were getting to know each other, she asked about my family. I said that I had been married for 6 1/2 years. She then said "how many kids do you have?" I replied that we didn't have any. Her response was "Good, you don't want any of those. They are just trouble." I waited for her to say she was joking, but she didn't. She was totally serious. Had she known my situation, I would hope that she would have chosen different things to say. It was frustrating.
^Cherish your children. The other day, I was talking with a friend at work, and he was complaining about his newborn, and that he wasn't getting any sleep. I looked at him and said "I'll take her." I think he realized that he should be grateful for his baby. This also bugs me when I see random people in the store or on the street being mean to their children. There are so many loving homes out there that are dying to love and care for a child, and these children have to endure mean parents. Just doesn't seem fair.
^When you find out that we can't have kids, don't ask us if it's her or me. We all know that it takes 2 to tango. And as far as we go, the issues lie with US. Not me, not her, but us. Having children is a very personal thing, and it becomes much more personal when you can't have kids. So if we do tell you that we can't have kids (we don't share this with everyone), please allow us to share what we want to share.
^Don't change the way you act around us when you find out. Infertility is not something we chose. It is like having blue eyes, or brown hair. It is just a trial we were assigned. We are still the exact same people you knew before you found out. We still like to do the same things. We still like to go out with you and your family even though we don't have kids. Don't treat us differently.

The infertility path that we have travelled has been crazy. As you have read, the majority of my siblings and both of my parents have been impacted by infertility. I feel that my wife and I were given this trial not only for ourselves, but to help others. I know that is was a help when Ashlee found out they couldn't have kids, that my wife and I had been through some of the same things. It is nice not being alone in these things.

My wife and I have talked almost every day about this in some way or another. I asked her once if she would go back and change anything. We both agreed that we wouldn't. While it has been hard, emotional, frustrating, etc... we both feel that we are going through this for a specific reason, and we are determined to see it through. I feel that we have grown stronger in our marriage and through the trials we have gone through, our relationship with each other and with Heavenly Father are stronger than ever. I am excited for the time that we will get to bring a child into our family, and we will share that news with you when it happens.