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How to Find Support for Infertility

Getting Past the Hesitancy

Many women may be fearful of talking to others about something so personal in their life. The thought of having to bare your soul to a stranger can be overwhelming. Some women may also think that a support group would be like going to therapy and may find it embarrassing. However, there are some ways to get past some of these assumptions about support groups.
 
First of all, remember that you are in control. You don't have to share every little detail that's going on; you can share as little or as much information as you feel comfortable with. Although a support group is not designed to offer professional counseling, it is therapeutic to talk with others about difficult experiences in your life, including infertility.
 
Another concern for some women may be the worry that going to a support group will make them feel worse. However, you may be surprised -- going to a support group may help give you relief from your pain and disappointment, and can also help you learn new ways of coping so you can keep moving forward.
 

What Will You Gain From Support Groups?

Support groups can be beneficial for women and couples going through infertility. One of the most important benefits is the reassurance of knowing that you are not alone. Although you may have family and friends who love and support you, they can't usually relate to the emotions you are feeling with infertility. This can cause a disconnect from people who usually are your main source of support. When they can't relate to what you're going through, you may withdraw.
 
In a support group, you will find others who share the same feelings of anger, depression, and devastation that you may have thought only you were going through. Expressing these feelings with others and hearing how others are feeling helps to build a strong bond. It's a bond that not only offers you support, but one that will also support others who are feeling isolated as they journey through the unknowns of infertility.
 
Another benefit of support groups is they provide a safe place to share negative feelings -- a place where you can express these negative feelings without the fear of being judged or criticized. An important part of dealing with infertility is going through the emotions that come along with it. This includes very strong feelings of anger, disappointment, and grief. The only way to get through these emotions is to feel them. Expressing them in a safe environment, surrounded by others who can relate, can help you to move through this part of your journey more quickly.
 
Support groups can also help you to develop effective and healthy coping skills. Learning how others cope with infertility can help you come to terms with difficult emotions and stressful decisions. You can also learn about new resources and coping styles that others have found useful. The information you gain from others can also be beneficial in terms of talking to your healthcare provider about treatment options. It can also help you learn how to talk to your loved ones about your challenges.
 
Once you are able to cope with the emotions and stresses of infertility, you will find that it will help boost your self-esteem. Gaining emotional strength helps you to have a new sense of perspective and control during a difficult time.
 
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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