Happy Father-To-Be Day!
by Marc Sedaka (Author of “What He Can Expect When She’s Not Expecting”)
As June 17 approaches, infertile couples the world over are coming to grips with a very sad but true realization. Father’s Day sucks. Does it suck as much as Mother’s Day? Not even close. But that doesn’t change the fact that this is yet another reminder of what you are not, what other people are, and what you long to be. You almost wish that Hallmark would make a “Happy Not-A-Father’s Day” card so you could at least feel a part of the process.
So what can you do as a would-be parent to soften the blow and make June 17th nothing more than… well… June 17th?
For one thing – and I say this more to you mothers-to-be out there than you fathers-to be (since I’m guessing you’re the one reading this anyway) — please, please understand that your husband, if he’s anything like I was, is probably not as freaked out about this whole Father’s Day thing as you are. It’s just the way we’re wired. Birthdays, Wedding Anniversaries, Father’s and Mother’s Days – they’re pretty much just days to us. And as pissed as you might be about that when you actually do have kids is as relieved as you should be about it right now. If anything, our concern and our worry is more for you and how you’re facing this day than anything to do with us. At least that was my experience in the six “Fatherless” Days I went through during our almost seven years of infertility.
Okay, so for better or worse, your husband isn’t freaking out about this (at least as much as you are.) That’s all well and good. But what about the opinions, reactions, advice and remarks of every person you know? And by that, I of course mean your mother, your mother-in-law, and every friend with a kid or two who somehow think they’re better equipped to tell you how to handle this day than you are. To this I say… and I know, easier said than done… you’re just gonna have to let the
comments (or lack of comments) from friends and loved ones roll right off of you. Trust they mean well. Trust they may be feeling as awkward as you are about the whole situation. And do your best, assuming they really do love you, to take their opinions, reactions or advice in the spirit they are given.
Finally, and this is the big one, take an opportunity like Father’s Day to celebrate the family you are as much as the family you want to be. Yes, it’s easy to think of this as “Fatherless” Day (heck, I just did it four paragraphs ago), but it’s really just as easy to think of it as “Father-To-Be” Day. And if there’s one thing I can assure you after our nearly seven years of infertility, it is this. You will become parents. Maybe not exactly when you wanted and maybe not exactly in the way you intended, but if your resolve is strong enough it will happen. So take the day to celebrate that hope. To celebrate that future. And most of all, to celebrate your love.
I wish you all a most joyous Father-To-Be Day!
(Originally Published June 14, 2012)