Talking It Out
When you are struggling with infertility, it can feel as if no one around you knows the right thing to say or do. Unless someone has been in your shoes, she simply can't imagine what you are going through. So, where can you turn for the support you so desperately need?
When you broke up with your boyfriends, you had friends and maybe a mom or sisters to lean on. When you crashed your car, your brothers or dad came to the rescue. But when you are struggling with infertility, the people who normally support you may not be able to lead you through. Without having experienced the hurt, sadness and loss of infertility, it's just hard for them to know the right thing to say or do â€¦
The importance of support
It's hard for any woman to watch her friends and family members conceive and have babies, while she can't seem to. And when the attempts to conceive fail month after month and it becomes a case of infertility, it's even worse.
Experts say that, when you are dealing with infertility, you need support to help you vent about all the frustrations, worries and fears. "Support is key for women struggling with infertility. This is a disease that affects women's core, and it can affect their relationships with family and husbands. It's important to have an outlet to express frustrations and emotions," says Reproductive Endocrinologist Dr. Rudy Quintero.
Sometimes, though, that support might be better sought from those who've been in your position, or it might be found within your core group of friends and family. "It is essential for women to create or find a strong support network. Women going through fertility issues experience many ups and downs month to month and need to express/talk about the process, their fears, hopes, etc. Some women turn to friends and family; others seek out fertility support groups. I think it is totally individual. Bottom line: Women need an outlet," says Jennifer Paschen, founder and director or The Nest in Chicago.
So who can you turn to?
Locally, there are often groups devoted to supporting women through the difficulties of infertility. Ask your doctor, local hospital or even your religious leader for help in finding one.
Moms who have done so say that the support is priceless. "I found support during my infertility battle from my local RESOLVE chapter. Also, they linked me to a parenting-after-infertility (PAI) group with other moms who were around my age. They were a godsend for me. We have now been meeting for almost eight years and continue to offer each other support and resource information as well as ongoing friendship and understanding about our means of family building," says Iris Waichler, author of Riding the Infertility Roller Coaster, whose 9-year-old daughter was conceived with in vitro treatment.
If meeting face to face isn't for you, or if you just can't fit it in, you can find a lot of support online as well. Most pregnancy forums and chat boards have areas just for women struggling to conceive. "There are many support groups online. One is FertilityTies.com, a community where you can get medical information and peer support from others in similar situations. You can ask fertility specialists questions online for free, use fertility tools and share your journey with others," says Quintero.
For a closer connection, look to places you already frequent, whether it's a weight loss or pregnancy site. "I'm currently going through IF. Perhaps, I will be IF forever. I honestly could not get through this without the support of my online friends. We met a few years ago on a Weight Watchers board. Now we email daily," says Jessica Foley. About 12 women are in the group, and some have gone on to conceive and have kids; others, like Jessica, are still trying.
Not sure where to find online support? Check out our infertility message boards to vent and discuss with other moms who are going through the same thing. Check out our SheKnows infertility message boards or our Pregnancy & Baby message boards.
Tell us! What words of advice do you have for women dealing with infertility? Comment below!
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