If you are struggling with infertility, should you join a fertility support group? As you reflect on this, it is important to know that no matter where you are on your journey to becoming a parent, a fertility support group can go a long way in making this process easier and less stressful.
If you think about it, you will agree that much of the difficulty of having an infertility problem is the challenge of dealing with everyday experiences that were once easy but now emotionally difficult.
Routine activities such as responding to a friend’s baby shower invitation, casual conversations about the kids over parties and the holidays, and even scrolling through your social media accounts can turn into emotional landmines when you. are having trouble getting pregnant and need treatment.
This stress affects both women and men and can be particularly taxing on relationships. Fortunately, one of the best options you can resort to for relief is a fertility support group.
Joining a fertility support group can be a great way to deal with infertility. Finding support when dealing with infertility is important, but not always easy. Friends and family can provide some support, but even the best friends cannot fully understand what you are going through without personally experiencing infertility.
Infertility is not an easy situation to manage. You may feel social pressure to have children, or you may feel judgment from well-meaning friends, family members, or even strangers. Some may offer advice that isn’t very helpful or suggest that your anxiety is somehow to blame.
Additionally, you may be plagued by feelings of inadequacy, emptiness, or failure that interfere with both your quality of life and the quality of your relationship.
The only way to help is to recognize your feelings and identify the things that are causing you the most stress. In doing so, you can begin to develop coping strategies to better overcome these feelings.
A fertility support group will help you cope in this regard. It allows you to lift your inhibitions.
A support group can provide a place for couples to meet and talk with people who understand. It provides compassionate support and information to people suffering from infertility. Essentially, a fertility support group can have a variety of goals and can be made up of all-female, all-male, or mixed members. Support groups may even focus on a particular fertility issue, such as those who have been diagnosed with endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), recurrent miscarriages, unexplained infertility and many more. . Support groups can also be in person or online. It is up to you to decide which type of support group you prefer.
In Nigeria and elsewhere there are different types of fertility support groups and while the primary goal is not to provide financial support to infertile couples, the main thing is to let you know that you are not alone. , and it provides a platform where you can meet others with whom you can share your challenges and potentially get information and / or help for a solution.
To get started, you need to know which fertility support group is right for you. Deciding whether or not a support group is right for you will depend on your individual experience with infertility.
Many individuals and couples refrain from seeking help from a support group because they believe they are able to fully cope with emotional ups and downs on their own, or that they should at least try. to do. But this is not true; joining a support group doesn’t mean you are looking for professional therapy. Support groups are designed to provide a warm and welcoming environment for people who share a similar experience.
It is entirely up to you, or you and your partner, how much of your life you share with the rest of your support group and what remains private. There is no pressure or compulsion to explain anything that you find too painful or too personal to discuss. You can always find a group near you. Whether you have just been diagnosed or have struggled with infertility for some time, there are groups that focus on general infertility and groups that focus on specific topics.
General groups can include discussion of current treatment, relationships with friends and family, and coping strategies. Discussions in specialized thematic groups allow participants to meet others who share a similar struggle, learn more about a specific issue, and hear resources for help.
If you join an appropriate support group, you will benefit from experienced members’ insider information about the world of infertility, including emotional support.
You will learn a lot about your future treatment options, which will give you a lot of hope. Most importantly, it’s a place you can go to every week and talk about your issues.
Such groups help relieve stress in your marriage. Group sessions are led by a professional counselor, but this is not group therapy. The counselor is just there to facilitate the conversation and help maintain healthy boundaries in the group. The groups are intended for women or couples and are limited in size, to allow enough time for everyone to talk.
Topics for a general group of couples typically include stress reduction, self-care, anger and depression, relationships with family and friends, impact on your relationship, medical options, third-party reproduction , adoption and childless life.
Sometimes groups form and focus on specific topics such as adoption or third party reproduction. You are encouraged to communicate with each other during the week between meetings. You might have a hard time joining a support group, but if you manage to exceed your reservations, you’ll be glad you did.
If you are just starting treatment but don’t want to join an infertility group, you should know that getting involved can be very helpful in order to get the support and information you need. If you are struggling to cope with infertility, you are not alone. Research has shown that the psychological stress experienced by infertile women is similar to that of women struggling with diseases such as cancer, HIV and chronic pain.
Studies have also shown that men are at risk for anxiety, depression, sexual dysfunction, and low self-esteem. These psychological effects can occur regardless of who is infertile, whether the couple is dealing with male infertility, female infertility, male and female infertility, or unexplained causes.
Most often, the emotions associated with infertility are not caused by one thing and only one. They are often entangled in expectations from within and without. Being open about infertility and seeking outside support can help men and women cope with emotional distress. Sometimes the best place to find support is your spouse, but that’s not always the case. The built-up pressure that you both might be feeling can make it difficult to sort your emotions together. Seeking support outside of a relationship can be beneficial for both of you. Support groups are really helpful, allowing you to express feelings and thoughts that you haven’t been able to share elsewhere and to receive understanding from those who have really been there.
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