A recent study concluded that 1 in 6 couples in the USA have or will experience infertility. There are medical parameters for the diagnosis, however, the emotional roller coaster usually begins even before medical care is sought. Before people speak to their doctor they have probably already experienced the surprise, disappointment and then finally the despair that they are not conceiving. While the number of people going through infertility currently is astronomical, the diagnosis often feels like you may be the only one. If you are struggling with infertility, you most likely don’t need an awareness week to remind you. However, it is my hope that a week such as this increases everyone’s awareness of the prevalence of conception difficulties, the toll they may take emotionally, and where support may be found.
When I look back at our journey to family creation I found support in some unexpected ways. I was sitting in a fertility clinic when my first name was called and two of us stood up. It turned out she was the first to be seen, but when I saw them at a conference the next month, we began a friendship which sustained us through the long, but what felt like endless, road ahead. Having someone to talk with who was going through fertility concerns at the same time meant so much. She understood the ups, the downs, the excitement, the disappointment and starting it all over again and again and again… She knew words, procedures, emotions and resources which are specific to the inability to conceive or to carry a pregnancy to term. She knew, what I knew, which was that there is something inside which helps us go on and keep trying or which tells us enough. No one else can say that for you, so we didn’t try. We simply accepted, empathized and cheered for each other on the journey. If you are experiencing difficulties with fertility I hope you find this sort of support as well. Two women in the Twin Cities area who offer support group opportunities are Jeanette Truchsess Ph.D and Nicole Lange. Another excellent source of information and support is Resolve The National Infertility Association.
There were also countless others who continued to support us, even when some may have thought we should give up. The cards, and sweet gifts given to cheer us on meant so much. During this week, I encourage all those experiencing fertility concerns to reach out for support and connect with others who are going through similar struggles. I encourage those of you who have friends or family members experiencing infertility to reach out to them and let them know you want to encourage and support them as they create their family. While it may feel difficult to bring up something considered so personal, if they have told you about their struggle I hope you will overcome your discomfort to let them know you are still thinking about them. Your support can mean so much!
This week is National Infertility Awareness week sponsored by Resolve. I am grateful for the work of Resolve, an organization which raises awareness on a National level and reassures all people struggling with conception and pregnancy that they are not alone.
If you are looking for a Counselor in the Twin Cities area please contact Trisha Falvey, MA, LMFT