Infertility: Daring to be hopeful and coping with the grief and loss of the family you envisioned
by Susan Schlag, MS, LCMFT
When are you going to have kids?
This is a very loaded question for individuals and couples who want to have children but have been dealt the hand of infertility. It is a well-meaning question often posed by loved ones, close friends and occasionally curious acquaintances and strangers. But a question that takes on an emotionally charged meaning when fertility issues are in the mix. This one question can bring up a plethora of thoughts and feelings including sadness, fear, worry, grief and loss, hopefulness and confusion. Responses can range from a feigned smile to tears to a terse remark to many others
You are not alone
Many individuals and couples who are trying to get pregnant choose to keep their efforts to themselves until the time when a pregnancy is considered in the safe zone (somewhere between 8-12 weeks into the pregnancy). For those dealing with infertility who have made the decision to pursue fertility treatment, the safe zone of pregnancy can be more arbitrary and in some cases never reached.
For this reason, individuals and couples can feel alone in this process. A support network can be extremely helpful and comes in a variety of forms. Consider some of the following if you are feeling alone in your fertility journey:
· Family and Friends: confide in one or more close family members or friends (for couples, each individual should ideally have at least one confidant other than their partner).
· Support Groups: seek out a group in your local community (your fertility doctor may be a good source of info on local resources)
· Internet: search the interwebs for infertility websites and online chat groups
· Professional Help: find a therapist who specializes in treating individuals and couples dealing with infertility.
Just as there are many responses to the aforementioned loaded question, there are just as many ways to navigate this journey. You don’t have to go the road alone. Don’t hesitate to ask for help.