Resolve New England recognizes that endometriosis impacts people of all gender identities, as well as extends far beyond the realm of fertility and family building. The following article is written by Lucjan, sharing his experience as a cisgender man in a heterosexual marriage with a woman with endometriosis. RNE typically tries to avoid gendered language, but we appreciate that Lucjan’s emotional journey and the things he has learned as someone who cares deeply for a person with endometriosis could be applicable to many in our community, regardless of gender or type of relationship.
Endometriosis is a painful and chronic condition that affects millions of women around the world. It occurs when tissue that is similar to the one that lines the inside of the uterus grows outside of it, causing pain, inflammation, and potentially affecting fertility.
While endometriosis primarily affects women, it can also have a significant impact on the men in their lives. Being the husband of a woman with stage 4 deep infiltrating endometriosis, I learned firsthand how the condition can affect men’s lives and their relationships with partners.
Unfortunately, we are one of the few couples who were not able to be blessed with children
Our pain has been immense throughout our journey together, but it’s also been an incredible emotional bond between us both.
Navigating the journey of endometriosis and fertility.
It can be especially challenging for men, who may feel left out of the conversation as their partner deals with many of the physical and emotional symptoms associated with endometriosis.
I would be first to admit that the first time I heard ‘endometriosis’ I could barely spell the word, let alone understand it. Today, I am proud to be the male partner of a woman with endometriosis who raises awareness and gives voice to partners like me, helping them understand endometriosis, their role of support, and how to cope with their partner’s illness.
To find a way forward in the new normal that endometriosis brings to a couple’s life, it is important to understand the men’s role in endometriosis and fertility. Partners have a key role to play in the journey as a source of emotional and practical support.
The role of men in endometriosis and fertility.
Men should take the time to understand endometriosis, how this condition affects their partner’s fertility, and do what they can to help. This could include scheduling appointments with a fertility specialist, helping their partner manage her symptoms, or simply providing emotional support.
I attend every single hospital and doctor’s appointment, but I understand that not everyone can do the same due to their job or other commitments, and that’s okay. What I can share is though, the most important thing a partner can do is be there:take the time to listen in order to know how their partner is feeling, be compassionate and understanding, helping her manage her pain, crying with her when needed, and remind her that she’s not alone.
Because endometriosis has a significant impact on relationships, men should be aware of the potential strain it can have on communication and intimacy. They should work with their partner to foster an environment of understanding and acceptance, where there is no judgment or criticism.
How to support your partner?
Endometriosis can be a difficult and trying journey for women. As a partner, there are many ways in which you can support your partner during this time.
One of the most important things you can do is simply listen and be present. This means being an active listener, acknowledging her feelings, and being there for her in any way she needs.
To better understand what your partner is going through, it is important to educate yourself about endometriosis.
Medical appointments and treatments can be draining and difficult for women with endometriosis. You can help by being there for your partner, offering encouragement and support, and taking care of practical matters, such as driving and helping with any post-appointment needs.
Women with endometriosis often experience a great deal of pain and discomfort in addition to the emotional toll. To help your partner, consider taking on additional household tasks listne to her concerns, and offer support and encouragement.
The emotional toll on male partners.
While endometriosis primarily affects women, it can also have a significant emotional impact on male partners.
As a man, I often felt unheard and marginalized by society. I was forced to take on the role of the “strong, resilient man” when all I wanted was to be there for my partner.
My compassion and care became my curse. I experienced compassion fatigue and had to find a way to cope and manage my own emotional well-being while supporting my wife through this difficult time.
You may also experience feelings of frustration, anger, and sadness, among others. It’s important to find healthy ways to cope with these emotions, such as through therapy, support groups, or talking to friends and family.
Taking care of your own emotional needs is important for your own well-being and for your ability to support your partner.
Raising awareness about men, endometriosis, and fertility.
It’s important to raise awareness about the impact of endometriosis and fertility on partners. Spreading awareness can help destigmatize the condition and provide support for men who are supporting their partners.
If you are a man whose partner experiences the impact of endometriosis on her fertility, consider sharing your story with RNE as I do. This can help raise awareness and provide support for others who may be in a similar situation.
Finally, supporting endometriosis research is crucial in finding better treatments and eventually a cure. By supporting research, you can help improve the lives of those affected by endometriosis, including male partners.
Endometriosis and its issues with fertility can have a significant impact on both women and men.
First and foremost, be prepared to provide emotional support and understanding. Make time for your partner, actively listen to their struggles and feelings, and validate them.
Men must often cope with the fact that endometriosis and its treatments can affect their partner’s fertility, making it difficult to conceive a child. For some, this can be very difficult to deal with and comes with its own set of emotions.
It is important that men provide a safe and understanding environment for their partner to express her feelings.
Equally, by raising awareness about the impact of endometriosis and fertility on male partners, we can work together to improve the lives of those affected by this condition.
Lucjan is the husband of a chronically ill woman who suffers from endometriosis and fibromyalgia. He runs a blog that spreads awareness and gives voice to male partners of women who suffer from these chronic conditions. Lucjan has over a decade of experience and wrote 300+ articles on the topic. His blog can be found at https://www.worryhead.com/