I was having a bit of fun on Twitter the other day, sharing the crazy searches that made people click on my blog. Some of them were downright wrong, but I was amused imagining what the reaction must have been to land on my infertility blog. **Sinister laugh**
However, the few bizarre and entertaining ones were overshadowed by lots of sad cries for help. It is those that I would like to address in this post, specifically searches like
“infertile friend says she feels worthless”
“family refuses to knowledge infertility grief”
“i am scared that i am not going to love my baby eventually because of my long struggle with infertility”
“suicide and infertility”
Can you see why I’m alarmed? Now, I’m not a mental health expert, so any advice I give should not be taken as professional advice, nor used in place of seeking professional help. In fact, my advice is to seek professional help. I’m not saying that to brush you off. I’m saying it to potentially save your life, or at the very least, alleviate some of your misery.
So many of us struggle with negative thoughts and depression along with our infertility, thinking that we’ll just snap out of it one day, or that it will get better if we can just be strong enough. It may happen that way for some, but most of us need help from someone else. Feeling hopeless, depressed, anxious, worthless, or suicidal when faced with a major illness or life-changing circumstance (i.e. infertility) doesn’t make you weak; it makes you human. While it’s normal to feel all manner of negative emotions when dealing with infertility, there is a point at which those negative emotions can get out of hand or start to negatively impact your relationships or your ability to function. A mental health professional can help evaluate whether you have more than just “the blues” and set you on a path to coping with all the shit that infertility likes to travel with.
Not to discourage you, but you need to know this: Your first counselor or psychologist may not be right for you. Mine wasn’t. She was capable enough, but we just didn’t “click.” I saw her for a few weeks, then just stopped going. (Note: You don’t have to break up with your therapist or doctor. You owe no explanations. You can just stop going.) Months later, I found my current therapist (who also runs the local Resolve support group), and she’s perfect for me.
I know from experience that taking that first step isn’t easy, so please don’t beat yourself up even more if you aren’t ready to make the call yet. At the very least, check to see if your community has an infertility support group. Resolve.org provides support group services all over the country, so that’s a great place to start. Your RE’s office may know of support groups, as well. If you belong to a church or wouldn’t mind a religiously focused support group, that may be another avenue.
Whatever route you take, please ask for help. Despite all the stupid quotes to the contrary, there’s nothing noble about suffering, and suffering doesn’t make us stronger. It’s the work we do to overcome the suffering that makes us stronger. And we can’t do it without at least a little help.
For more information, please see
The Psychological Component of Infertility (American Society for Reproductive Medicine)
Battling the Self-Blame of Infertility (American Psychological Association)
Study Highlights the Importance of Infertility Support (FertilityAuthority)
Infertility Counseling: Getting Started (Psychology Today)
When to Seek Help article and fact sheet (Resolve.org)