Let me save you some time by sharing with you in the beginning of your journey something that I really didn’t think about until about a year or so into the process (yes, I include pandemic time here).
It is super important to assemble an infertility support team that you know will be able to hear you and support you in the way that you need to be supported during this ongoing process.
It will be super important to work through a situation rather than going down a rabbit hole. You will have plenty of other things to deal with in this journey.
What I would suggest in selecting your team would be to choose a team of people you may potentially see every day. Do you have close friends in whom you can confide? Do you have a partner in this process? Do you have supportive parents who absolutely get what you are going through?
Say what you will about social media, but I’ve found that connecting with strangers on social media is a better support system than trying to explain over and over where I am with the baby journey. Why Ukraine? Why this sperm bank? How did you pick that donor? Why don’t you want to go to that baby shower? Update me on the baby situation, okay?
I just got tired of it and it became too much to explain to people who weren’t in my immediate circle. IVF became very isolating for me at some points and that was much of the reason I decided to write this. I also happen to enjoy writing lists, journal entries, copy, captions, children’s books, and sometimes emails. I found that connecting with others online became one of my go-to support systems. I curated a support team in my social media.
TTC Success Stories Offer Hope and Sorrow
If your infertility support group includes individuals who are also on the TTC journey, it can be sometimes a double-edged sword: No one is better able to understand than someone else who is struggling with the same situation, yet painfully, no one else is better able to reflect to you those feelings of lack than those sharing TTC success stories that, of course, end in pregnancy.
Another caveat would be how triggering the online groups can become when a TTC member finally announces her pregnancy – posting pictures of milestones and details about baby showers. The best thing to do for self-preservation is to scroll on if you don’t find it inspirational. Let’s just say that there is a tasteful way to go about sharing these things, and while you shouldn’t diminish your joy due to the feelings of others, you have to put yourself in the position of the person reading your content, too. If needed, scroll on and or put the phone down.
Despite this, I have loved the opportunities online to connect with women in groups who are also on the TTC journey. These groups very often have a facilitator who can shepherd the group into staying on topic and suggesting different tools to try based on what the facilitator is witnessing within that group session. I’ve been on Zoom calls where participants were from Great Britain, South Africa, Australia, and then me (from my place) in South Carolina. Infertility is a diagnosable condition which affects women across all nations and economic strata.
Infertility is not a luxury problem but a diagnosable problem.
I saw myself as just one of them and thought fewer isolating thoughts like, “Oh, it’s just me this is happening to…” because prior to my own journey, I really didn’t know anyone firsthand who battled infertility. My financial advisor’s wife, that was it…and it wasn’t until I revealed my own issues in the TTC journey. This hesitancy exposed some of the stigma that did surround infertility and still does to some extent.
While I valued those ladies in my infertility support group and all the TTC success stories I was able to read, I began to notice that I started getting triggered by them. It was then that I knew I needed to invest in some additional support so that I could support the number one person capable of supporting me: Me.
Teacher, healer, or full-on professional?
The Psychological Elements of Infertility
The majority of people going through infertility experience depression. Patients are sophisticated because they know so much about the process, so to have someone who doesn’t know anything about infertility…well that’s an extra step of effort that I decided I didn’t need!
Coaching is more focused on helping you achieve your future goals, while psychotherapy tends to have more of a past and present focus.
There are a lot of different options in fertility coaching. You can get a fertility nutrition coach, a financial coach specializing in affording fertility treatments, and an IVF support coach. Lots of possibilities. Ask yourself: Do I want to start with a therapist who understands me when I say that I have an AMH of less than one, or do I want to do additional explanations as to technical possibilities of what a decreasing AMH number means? Having someone who understands the nuts and bolts of the process can be quite helpful, so finding professionals dedicated to this kind of work can give you a head start.
Have you ever tried to assemble ingredients in order to prepare a meal and noticed that your best ceramic mixing bowl was cracked? What I found out about IVF is that it really shows all the potential cracks in life. I eventually came to appreciate how IVF showed me to address all the areas in my life that needed healing or more attention. My hope is that you find the means through which you are able to, if not thrive, at least remain as elastic as you can to recover as quickly as you can.
But this absolutely wasn’t the case to begin with. At first glance, it seems like a cruel irony that reproductive issues could wreak so much havoc on one’s romantic life. Certainly this is not the case for all couples but, if anything, going through IVF is an opportunity to bring you closer to your partner as you both become potential parents. I think that it’s important to see IVF as an opportunity and not as a condition. It is an opportunity without guarantee.
Seeking IVF Support
As I went on in my journey, I began to realize that I needed some IVF support in the form of a therapist in addition to a coach so I could heal some areas of my life in order to move on in the journey. As with coaches, there’s a plethora of therapists that specialize in fertility.
For Those With Going Through the Process With a Partner
In addition, there are therapists who specialize in couple’s therapy – if you are in a partnership with someone, it is also important to attempt to see their perspective on things. From reading Donor Child by Emma Groebeck, I got a lot of insight into what your partner may be feeling in the journey. It is also important to consider who comprises your partner’s infertility support group. may be and have a conversation around whether they feel completely supported during the process.
Contrived to Thrive!
I would love to hear from you how you curated your support team in the TTC journey! If anything in this article resonated with you, be sure to add your email to the subscribe list so you can get notifications when I post anything new! I promise not to spam up your email box! I hate clearing out emails daily also!