A woman has to go through a lot when she undergoes IVF. In addition to the emotional pain of infertility, the medical procedures can be harrowing. Her hormones and cycles are manipulated to the point that her emotions are often at a tight stretch. This is the time, says Marovitz, when a man has to put aside his own needs in favor of his wife's.
Based upon his experience and in talking to other husbands, this is what he suggests a man needs to know about supporting his wife through IVF:
- Understand the process and don't be shy to ask your doctor a lot of questions.
- Don't be embarrassed if pregnancy doesn't happen naturally. Separate your own anxiety and be supportive of your wife.
- Remaining positive for your partner is very critical throughout every step. If you're not, you will only add more stress to an already stressful event.
- Participate in the process as much as possible. It's a two-way street and you need to be in a prepared state to do what your wife needs you to do.
- Don't be afraid to seek counseling or emotional support—either as a couple or for your own peace of mind.
- Be careful who you tell. Prior to their first procedure, the Marovitzs told everyone about it. Then, when it failed, they had to tell their story over and over which made it much harder. On subsequent tries, Bob told no one and Deb told just a few select people.
The one thing that Marovitz couldn't seem to overcome was the fear that they would have twins. Looking back, he realizes that it was almost irrational, but it was also very real. "I couldn't fathom what my life would become if we had twins, and it terrified me to try again, but Deb was even stronger and more determined than she had been the first time," says Marovitz. "One thing that helped was that we had counseling and that's something I recommend. It may be hard for some men to accept outside emotional support like that, but if a man goes into this with a closed mind in the beginning, it will be that much harder for both of them. He has to be able to recognize that at this time more than any other he has to open up his reservoir of feelings, and it will help him and their marriage in the long run."
And then, nine months after their third IVF procedure, they welcomed twins into the world, a boy and a girl. Now, busy with his 14-month-old children, Marovitz marvels that he ever lived without them. "I was over my fear almost the moment I saw them born and saw that they were perfect," he says. "I can only describe myself as overjoyed. I look forward to seeing them every day and can hardly believe I'm so lucky to be a father of two."