Having a support system in place as you go through fertility treatments is so important. You don’t have to brave the stress and the ups and downs of this journey alone—because you’re not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), out of 100 couples in the United States, about 12 to 13 of them have trouble becoming pregnant.
While friends and family will do their best to support you, sometimes you need to turn to, talk to, and vent to people who deeply understand exactly what you’re going through. At Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, our team is always here to lend and ear and support you, but we’re no match for a true infertility support community. Here are five reasons we recommend finding and connecting with a community while you’re in the process of trying to have a baby.
You’ll receive validation of your feelings and experiences
There is powerful validation in knowing that other people share your experiences. Hearing stories that parallel you own gives you a sense that you’re not alone. Communing with others going through infertility treatments may validate your worries, sadness, and frustrations as well. On the flip side, it may also give you hope, strength, and encouragement you’ll find only through hearing the stories of people in situations similar to yours. Plus, when you share your own stories you’ll feel a unique sort of empathy as you validate the feelings of others.
You’ll be a part of destigmatizing infertility
Being a part of a group that can openly talk about their experiences with infertility helps destigmatize some of the issues with reproductive health. It shifts the narrative from something that’s taboo (as society often treats it) to something that’s normal, quite common, and nobody’s fault. When conversations surrounding infertility and the general complexities of trying to conceive can exist out in the open, the shame and judgment that often surround it will begin to dissipate.
You won’t have to worry about judgement or uncomfortable questioning
Even the most well-intentioned family members or friends may unknowingly overstep a boundary, say the wrong thing, or ask something that feels a little judgmental. A community who has gone through or is going through the same thing you are will not judge your circumstances or situations. They also won’t ask you intrusive, stressful, or otherwise inappropriate questions. Again, you’ll be able to share your thoughts and feelings pretty openly, without the fear of being judged (or stigmatized).
You’ll experience better mental health
The right community will make you feel genuinely understood, listened to, seen, and supported. Without the worry of facing stigmatization or judgement, you’ll be able to open up and really connect with others. Having a community in and of itself is key for a healthy mental state, but having a community where you can lay out all your stress and anxiety does even more to boost your mental health. With a community of support, you’ll be able to better build the resilience you need to get through difficult treatments and potential heartbreaks. (However, it’s important to note that even the best of communities cannot replace the help of a therapist; if you are experiencing severe mental health issues, like major depression or anxiety, we encourage you to talk to a therapist.)
You’ll have more people to turn to for support
When it’s difficult to turn to family and/or friends, people dealing with infertility will often rely on their partners for support. While the two of you may be going through this journey together, it doesn’t mean you’ll both experience the same feelings or cope the same way. Reproductive difficulties can affect relationships in a variety of ways, sometimes even causing resentment, communication issues, or emotional distance. You might find that speaking to people other than your partner to be incredibly helpful—not just because others may possibly relate more closely to what you’re going through, but also because they can share perspectives that pave the way for more open and encouraging conversations with your partner.
Our team at AZCREI is always here to help you connect with a group and answer any questions you may have about infertility and your reproductive health. If you’re having difficulty getting pregnant and want support or more information, we can help. You can contact us or make an appointment by visiting us online or calling (520) 326-0001.