Father’s Day is coming up and it’s a celebratory weekend for all dads, whether their kiddos came to them via adoption, IVF, or good old biology. Father’s Day when you’re waiting to become a dad can be an exciting reminder of the future for some, but for others, especially those whose family planning has been delayed by COVID-19, it can sting a little. And it’s OK to feel a little bummed this year.
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommended in mid-March that doctors postpone any “nonessential” fertility procedures, including ovulation induction, intrauterine inseminations (IUIs), in vitro fertilization (IVF), and embryo transfers. While many providers are now able to offer those services again, those months off mean months added before the dream of a family can come true.
Parents adding to their families via surrogacy, fostering, and U.S.-based or international adoption aren't exempt from waiting either. As different parts of the U.S. and the world react to and recover from the pandemic differently, the delays to adopt from just about any region of the world can be indefinite, reported The New York Times.
Similarly, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology asked women’s health providers to move to telehealth as much as possible during the early stage of the pandemic, but in my experience, many appointments were just postponed until in-person visits became safe again. Now that docs are able to welcome their patients back and provide guidance while trying to conceive (TTC), it can be a major relief for moms- and dads-to-be.
My husband and I began TTC in November 2019. At 26, both of us figured getting pregnant shouldn’t be too difficult. So far, we haven’t been successful, but at my highly anticipated post-COVID appointment, my doctor suggested we just keep tracking ovulation and come back after a year of trying if we’re still not pregnant (this was pretty anticlimactic advice).
For us, Father’s Day will probably pass without any major concerns. My husband is excited for parenthood one day, and confident that it will eventually happen for us in one form or another. Unlike me, he’s not prone to worry, and probably won’t feel concerned at all until my OB-GYN says to his face, “You should worry.”
When I’ve been emotional about another friend announcing a pregnancy or my period returning, he reminds me we’re young, we’re fortunate enough to have insurance that will help us cover any medical expenses that arise while TTC, and we have each other. When I need him to stop using logic to cheer me up and just tell me it’s OK to be sad, he holds me tight. His patience, love, and grace in the face of TTC is evidence he’ll make a great dad one day and that we’re on the right path.
For couples TTC right now and beginning to wonder what road your journey to parenthood will take, I see you. For those who have been TTC for a year or more and are harnessing all the bad*ss reproductive science we have today, or those who have begun the adoption process, I can only imagine how you feel right now.
For dads-in-waiting during COVID-19, no matter how far along you are in or what fatherhood looks like for you, let yourself feel whatever you need to feel this year. It’s OK to be upset at the delay from the virus. It’s OK to be frustrated that one more thing derailed your journey. The most important thing is that you and your partner don’t give up. Happy future Father’s Day to you.