I saw a therapist for the first time today. She actually specializes in treating the mental health aspect of infertility. In this small community, any kind of specialist is a rarity. In fact, my RE (reproductive endocrinologist) is one of only two in the entire state and works 200 miles from where I live. I had been thinking about seeing someone for a while, so when I found out that this one specializes in the very thing that was causing me to need therapy, I decided it was time.
I hesitate to make any firm conclusions based on a single session, but I think it went pretty well. I won’t go into all the boring details, but these are the main things that came up during the conversation.
- There are huge gaps between who I am, who I want to be, and who I am trying to project to the world. The simple assessment is that I try to project a strong, independent woman who isn’t bothered by something as trite as infertility. The reality is that I’m a broken, bitter, infertile, too afraid to let anyone see how much I hurt. What I want to project is someone who is vulnerable, but coping well. My greatest fear about exposing my vulnerability and admitting to negative feelings is that other people will peg me as the depressed infertile–and that’s all I will be to them. I want infertility to be a component of my identity, but not the sole or main component.
- I am afraid of letting my husband see me as vulnerable; instead, I push all my negative thoughts and feelings down, and suffer my sadness alone. I need to recognize and accept that he will not love me less if he sees that I’m not as strong as I pretend to be, and that he won’t think I’m a terrible person for having awful thoughts about fertiles.
- I need my husband to be vulnerable, too. I need to know that he is scared and hurt, just like me.
We also talked a bit about accepting the possibility that I may not ever have a baby. That scares me, but I know it’s the ultimate goal. I have to believe, deep down, that I will be okay if I never have a baby.