The infertility journey can be extremely difficult. Every person copes with the stress in a different way, but it’s important to know there is no “right” way to deal with the anxiety, depression, and other emotions that are related to infertility.
At Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, our mission is to help our patients overcome their infertility issues and have a healthy, happy baby. It’s not always a straight path to pregnancy, though. We always come up with a plan for testing and treatments, but there are sometimes twists, turns, and bumps that don’t allow every single procedure to be successful. During the infertility treatment process, it’s important to make sure you have the support you need to keep going. Here are five ways to find that support.
We look at our team as the first level of support as a couple struggles with infertility. In this case, our principle role is educational support; we help patients by answering their questions and explaining the causes of and treatments for infertility. Some of our patients look at the process as a personal journey, and would rather have their questions and concerns addressed in private, with us, than in a public support group. We find that if they are well-informed and know what to expect, their stress is relieved and they can focus on next steps.
Family and Friends
Infertility can be isolating. Couples and women will often keep their struggles a secret from their family and friends for fear of embarrassment or disappointment. We understand that this is a personal choice, but we do encourage patients who are willing to have open conversations with their loved ones. They may not completely understand your experience, but they can offer empathy and understanding.
Resources from RESOLVE
One resource we almost always recommend to patients who are struggling emotionally with infertility is RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. The organization provides free infertility support groups in more than 200 communities. Any support group, whether through RESOLVE or another organization, can help you feel less isolated since you’ll be surrounded by other people who are going through the same challenges. They also give you the freedom to express your feelings in a safe, judgement-free environment. RESOLVE also offers online resources about treatment, coping strategies, and third-party pregnancy and adoption options.
Similar to RESOLVE, online communities, blogs, and forums can be helpful finding people and other women who are also grappling with infertility. This can be beneficial if you aren’t comfortable discussing your personal journey face-to-face. There are many women who write about and record their own struggle with infertility online in the form of blogs and podcasts. A simple search will yield hundreds of results; you’ll likely find someone who has a very similar story and situation as you.
Real, Relatable Books
The problem with the media’s (TV, movies, most books) portrayal of infertility, is that it’s often neatly packaged and tied with a bow. Rarely do you find relatable stories that really embody the struggle and complexity that comes with infertility. Here are three books, all memoirs, that may help you feel less alone and more hopeful about your own journey.
- Becoming by Michelle Obama is penned by the former First Lady and gives a personal account of her struggles with miscarriage, infertility, and IVF.
- The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson explores the challenges she faced while starting a family as a woman in a same-sex relationshipr.
- We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union is more lighthearted than most infertility-related books; in it she discusses her ongoing battle with infertility and pregnancy loss, and how, ultimately, surrogacy was the right choice for her.
The most important thing when it comes to infertility support is understanding that you’re not alone in the ups and downs of this journey. Our team at AZCREI wants to be there for you and offer you support every step of the way. To find out more about our treatment process or to schedule a visit, contact us online or by calling (520) 326-0001.