Infertility Support and Resources
By Heidi Lengel: heidilengel.com
There’s no doubt about it- infertility is immensely challenging. It can be very emotionally and socially distressing when someone is faced with the challenge of not being able to create a family the way they thought they would.
Here are 5 ways to help cope with the ups and downs of infertility:
1. Create self care rituals
Sometimes preparing for the monthly grind of fertility challenges is half the battle. Knowing that you could be approaching a difficult day doesn’t mean that the entire day has to be fraught with emotional meltdowns. Make a plan for yourself: what types of activities would feel most meaningful for you and your partner? A hike or bike ride? A session with your therapist? Coffee at your favorite spot? A few hours of retail therapy? A relaxing bath? Creating time for meaningful spiritual connections? Make a concerted effort to create pockets of self-care throughout the day.
2. Create moments of connection
Who would it feel most meaningful to connect with during your fertility journey? Is there a family member who may understand your situation in a unique way? For some people, not connecting with family members may work best. What about your partner or good friend? A group of people in your community? Don’t let others’ expectations dictate how you spend your time and emotional energy. Reach out to people in your life that you value, make time to meaningfully connect with them, and let them know they are loved.
3. Allow space for grief
You know what? Infertility kinda stinks. It’s not easy. And that’s ok. You can acknowledge that deep sense of loss without being overcome by it. Know that at times, you may be unexpectedly overwhelmed with sadness about this part of your life. If that happens, sit with the grief for a minute. Acknowledge this piece of your journey as valuable, even if it is hard. Think about how you might be able to grow from your infertility experiences as time goes on- even if that feels impossible now.
4. Honor others in their journey
Sometimes taking the focus off of yourself helps move through the infertility journey. Maybe you have a friend who is an ‘aunt’ to many around her but is also childless. Maybe there’s a friend whose motherhood skills you admire (or who just needs encouragement!). Maybe you know a mother currently struggling with fertility issues. Maybe you know someone who has just experienced a pregnancy loss and needs someone to encourage her in the silence of life without children. Whoever it may be, you’d be surprised by how much your support will mean to them.
5. Look ahead
Whether or not you know the end to this part of your story, there is a future. Look forward to the next few weeks and months of your life. What are your goals? Dreams? Hopes? Take some time to talk with your partner about ways you can take small, measurable steps towards making some of those things happen. With or without children, you have amazing purpose in this life.
Interested in feeling supported by someone who understands? Contact Heidi Lengel, therapist and owner of Fulheart Family Support. Heidi specializes in working with traditional and non traditional families as they learn and grow.