I work with couples struggling with infertility. Sometimes they eventually conceive and a child is born and sometimes not. My goal is to help them remain emotionally healthy as individuals and grow closer as a couple through the process of seeking help to overcome infertility or to accept it and define their next steps. Sometimes an infertility support group is part of the process.
An Infertility (or Fertility) Support Group is not counseling or therapy. It’s a group of people going through the same basic problem but experiencing it in different ways. It’s an opportunity to talk to people who understand your feelings, a place where you can share events in your life, vent about insensitive family or friends, and gain some insight from the experiences of others. Communities can be online or in person.
Joining a community depends on your personality. Some people feel better when they can express their feelings or thoughts in words to others. Some prefer to share only with their closest, most intimate friends. There is no right or wrong here. Which will help you?
There is sometimes a challenge in these groups, when members become pregnant. Even though everyone in the group is hoping for it, when it happens it can be a cause of both joy and pain. This is a factor to consider when deciding if you should join a group.
Here are just a few questions you can ask yourself:
- Will I feel better having people to turn to who are experiencing many of my same experiences and emotions?
- Do I need to just vent sometimes to people who aren’t in my immediate circle, so I can work through my feelings verbally?
- Am I open to suggestions from others who are walking my same path?
- Can I handle hearing about the suffering of others and offer them support, or will it make me feel worse?
- How will I feel if one of the members announces she’s pregnant? Will I be able to handle it? Will I feel crushed inside, even if I am happy for her?
These are just a few questions to consider. If you’re not sure, you may want to just try it out to see. There are many different kinds of infertility support groups; some are general, some are for specific problems, such as PCOS or endometriosis, some are all-female, all-male, or couples.
Keep an open mind and decide if it’s right for you. If you try one group but it’s not well moderated and things seem to feel as though they are out of control, try another before giving up on the idea.
In the end, only you know if you need a support group, a counselor, neither, or both. Talk to your spouse about it, too. You’re going through this together. If you’re in the New York City area, feel free to reach out to me to see how I can help.