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Read Letter

Pregnancy Nosy-Parkers

My dear Jack, the starting point is seeing your gynaecologist. He or she will give you a picture of what’s going on. I advise this so your imagination is not fired up with worst case scenarios. Which is really what we tend to do in these circumstances. We automatically begin to imagine the worst, start all sorts of permutation, calculating our odds and options.

Conception can be delayed for all sorts of reasons. Your gynae will help you narrow down and pinpoint the issue. And there may be nothing wrong really. It may be just be bad timing or bad synchrony. Of course there’s that uneducated cultural imagining that late conception is wholly attributable to the woman. Delayed conception can be due to the man. Anything from low sperm count to no sperm count can be responsible. Doctors tell us even the wrong underwear can cause male fertility issues. Something about wrong temperature ambiance. Your gynae will be able to sort out all these technical bits. Until you consult him or her and he or she runs tests, relax. Not knowing what’s going on can generate enormous amount of stress. It’s an open-ended enquiry system. Even ordinary malaria can generate enormous amount of worry when we can’t figure out it’s just malaria. But the moment the doctor tells us it’s just malaria, a psychological relief comes. Because you now know the culprit responsible for the temperature spike you can go after the parasite. That’s what exact knowledge does. It provides direction and charts a course of remedy.

Seeing your gynaecologist on the issue of conception will provide you a clear course of action. But I’m more concerned about your role as a man and as your wife’s companion in this circumstance. Your wife is in silent agony due to late conception. There’s brutal societal pressure. How do you intend to ameliorate her circumstance?

Truth is, the question of her fertility, or about her fertility is really nobody’s business. Everyone should mind their affair. The kind of pressure brought to bear on her can actually further delay conception. It’s why you need to fight off the pressure. You’ve got to get your mum off her back. That’s your responsibility not your wife’s. If every time she meets your mum there’s constant reminder of delayed conception she’s going to want to stay away from her. It’s not easy when all eyes are on you at family gatherings and events. You’ve got to shield her from those accusatory glares. And the easiest way to do that is to show her affection very publicly, demonstrate how much you love her. It’s going to strengthen her in the public relations battle. There’s a PR battle going on.

Of course some in the family will resort to reductionism – the inanity of an idea she isn’t complete without a child. You need to fight such tendencies, send a message to everyone nobody messes up with your woman. You can’t control what they say in their homes but you can’t allow them to reduce your wife in the public space before witnesses. Your number one role is defender-in-chief and encourager-in-chief. It’s a double cap. You’ve got to discourage attacks on her – be it vocal, social or facial; and you’ve got to encourage her with your love. Of course at times it will get to you too but you have to put up a bold front. At least for her. Or you pile on guilt. Your primary consideration is the preservation of your marriage. If you allow these late conception experts, pregnancy critiques and embryo diary registrars, they will destroy your marriage. They’re the people who monitor whether a woman conceives nine months after the wedding or before. These are jobless people and you shouldn’t ever give them the impression they have a say in your marriage.

Have a talk with your mum. Let her know you don’t want her to put your wife under pregnancy pressure. Those pressures, side commentaries and questions are more or less constant accusation. That’s a terrible strain to be under. No one can live continuously under a cloud of accusation. Something is bound to break. Constant accusation leads to depression. And accusation can be active or passive, verbal or facial, expressive or behavioural. You don’t want your wife depressed. Not with all the issues on ground. You can’t deal with it. This is the time for both of you to pull together. This should bring you closer rather than separate you. Of course it will require some effort on your part. You’ll have to put in extra. You must not allow all that pressure about conception to cause a fissure in your marriage. Now is the time for you to send her love texts and emojis. Now’s the time to buy her those flowers. Anything to make her feel appreciated. Child or no child she’s the friend you have, the friend you trust, the one you fell in love with. Those facts can’t change and you shouldn’t allow society change them for you. You must maintain your oneness, maintain unity. You must present a common front.

If they pressure her directly with offers of “solutions” for late conception she should just tell them to consult her husband. After all you’re their “son.” These “aunties” of yours have your phone number. And there are always crazy solutions being offered on the issue of late conception – from prayer contractors to Satan’s agents. You ought to be able to stand your ground against these “solution” offers and insulate your marriage. You see, if you allow them to break your wonderful marriage in the guise of being “helpful” you have more to lose. You’re the one who’ll lose your friend and caring partner, not them. And these people often have an agenda. You’ve got to be wise. Work assiduously to protect your wife and preserve your marriage. In time the child will come. You have to have that faith. You shouldn’t have children on your mother’s timetable, it ought to be your timetable. Yes, she wants to be a grandma, but it’s not her marriage. She means well selfishly. Go and see your gynaecologist, ok?

Your mentor, LA

Tags : Delayed conception, Trying to conceive, Protect your wife, Respect, Pregnancy, Trials, in laws, extended family, love in marriage

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