When Chris found out that he had a brain tumor, all eyes turned to him whenever he had even the slightest notion of a question or thought. He was the center of the universe for all of the doctors and medical staff. He knew his voice was being heard.
Through the course of countless appointments with his wife’s OB, their RE, and a myriad of other healthcare professionals he often wondered if the print on his shirt matched the wall paper too well. He sometimes felt like he simply blended in with the chair. Even though he biologically contributed to the difficulty he and his wife faced having children, his presence was often not acknowledged and sometimes, not allowed.
“I had a voice though. I checked, I was not suffering from spontaneous laryngitis. So, I spoke up. I researched, I asked questions. Sometimes, I felt like I was being rude or obtrusive but so many times of talking with my wife after an appointment and asking my question to her, she would say that she had the same question. I decided that, since we were fully committed to pursuing our family together, we would require every doctor we visited, every specialist we met, every receptionist to be committed to both of us as well.”
His voice, the male voice, can go much further. Chris has found that when he started to speak freely about all that he has faced with infertility, the fears and insecurities, someone listened. In most cases, the stigmatized barriers that prevent this kind of discussion between men seem to simply vanish.
But when Chris amassed the courage to do so, when he took that first bold breath followed by the vibration his vocal chords matching the vibration of the uncertainty that his conversation would be received, that is when there is the greatest opportunity to be impactful.
Chris has found that sharing his story and advocating for those yet to face the challenges that he and his wife have had, he is emboldened to continue using his voice. Ultimately, Chris’s story will simply merge with the thousands upon thousands of other stories from other men and flow into a single message.
In many cases, both women and men struggle together to build the families they dream of and it is both voices that transform those dreams into reality.