Hello, I am the PCOS husband! I am honored to post this as a guest on the TLC blog!
My Perspective As the Husband
When I first learned that my wife had PCOS, I was actually somewhat relieved… not relieved she had to deal with it, but relieved to finally have an explanation. For years I had watched her struggle with the symptoms without any idea of what it was. Now at least there was a label for her frustration. A label and a path forward.
We men love to solve problems. Loose handle or doorknob? No problem. Leaky faucet? Let me at it. Weird looking bug on the wall? We got this. But bring us a problem with no foreseeable solution and we go CRAZY.
And so it is with PCOS. Our plan was to have kids, but for years PCOS has been standing in the way like a 300-pound boulder. My wife cannot seem to get pregnant, and the fertility doctors say the very first thing that my wife must do before we can move forward is lose a pretty significant amount of weight. At that point, outside of encouragement and support, the situation is out of my hands. There’s nothing in my toolbox for this one. It’s our problem, but it’s HER body.
Even the encouragement and support part is easier said than done. At first, I came in like a drill sergeant or football coach, pumped up with veins in my neck talking about how we were going to “get after it”. I asked for the green light to be in charge of our workouts since it was not her strong point, not fully realizing what I was getting into. BAD idea. The workouts ended up more painful than productive. I was disappointed at her effort and that she wasn’t “crushing it”, and she quickly got tired of my mouth and pushy “encouragement”. She interpreted everything I said as her not being good enough, so we quickly abandoned this plan for the sake of everyone involved.
Once that didn’t work, I went to the extreme opposite: silence. Whenever she would come to me to discuss what she was going through or how she was feeling, I would simply nod my head and say: “you will figure it out… you can do this.” This lead to zero progress as my wife abandoned working out at all and fell back into old habits with her diet. I was either too pushy or too passive. Either way, I felt like we couldn’t win.
The Way Forward
Since then I have been working to find a middle ground between drill sergeant and mime. She has tried working out with some of her lady friends, which has only worked out occasionally. We then discussed hiring a personal trainer but had some things come up financially that prevented us from going that route. We are now working to fit it into the budget, hoping that having a trainer will be the move that sets everything in motion toward our objective. I am much more careful with my words and actions, and I simply do whatever I can to help her stay positive and find solutions.
I am an assertive person by nature, so it is hard to sit back and wait. However, I have come to accept that this is something that has to move at her pace, and I just have to trust her and, more importantly, trust God.
After all, in relationships, facing PCOS and infertility isn’t just the woman’s journey. It’s our journey too.
Common Questions of Male PCOS/Infertility Supporters:
- How do we support our partners without offending them?
- Is being honest about how it is affecting us too much pressure on them? Will it make things worse?
- What do we do with any stress we feel about potentially not having kids?
- If we believe the pressure to have kids is making the problem worse, does it help to say we are ok if we don’t have kids?
- If we suggest starting with adoption will it seem like we’re giving up on her?
- If weight loss is prescribed by the doctor in order to improve fertility and increase odds of getting pregnant, but our partner has not taken action for quite some time, is there ever a point when we can say something? When, and how do we approach it without making them feel worse?