Despite the increasing number of individuals struggling with infertility, it is still very taboo to discuss our reproductive woes with friends or family. There is often a sense of not being “woman enough” or “man enough” to conceive as is biologically expected of us. We feel disappointed, as though our bodies have failed us. Who could possibly understand exactly how we are feeling except for men and women who have walked in our shoes?
Online infertility support forums, like the ones found here on FertileThoughts.com, provide a fantastic (and anonymous) outlet for comparing battle wounds, getting support and reassurance, and learning how to cope with unsolicited fertility advice. But what should you do if online support is not enough?
Let’s face it; sometimes we need someone highly trained in psychology to help us realize buried emotions and strengths. Sometimes we just need a strong cup of coffee and some shoulders to cry on. Other times, we just need a third party to help us understand why our partners just don’t seem to understand the significance of the third BFN (big fat negative, as in pregnancy test) in a row.
Below you will find resources for IRL (in real life) infertility support groups or mental health professionals who specializes in infertility, adoption, and reproduction:
In-person Infertility Support Groups
These groups are either facilitated by mental health professionals or peers. RESOLVE: The National Fertility Association provides a state-by-state guide for finding a support group near you. RESOLVE recruits and trains peer led support group hosts and holds teleseminars to help infertility support group hosts stay current on infertility topics. Find an infertility support group here.
Infertility and Adoption Mental Health Professionals
Infertility and Adoption Mental Health Professionals can work with couples or individuals in group settings or privately. Group settings help validate our feelings and get insight from others navigating the path toward parenthood with a professional arbitrator (mental health therapist). Working in a one-on-one setting with a mental health professional is often helpful for an individual or couple to work through their thoughts, feelings, and differences regarding infertility treatment. RESOLVE, ASRM (American Society for Reproductive Medicine), and the AFA (American Fertility Association) are helpful resources for finding an Infertility and Adoption Mental Health Professional. Check the links below for mental health professionals in your state.