Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Monday night I attended an infertility support group for the first time. I have been hesitant to post about the experience for fear of how what I write may be perceived by some readers. Over the years I have learned that my emotional reactions to experiences tend to be a little outside the norm, especially for a woman.

Ultimately I've decided that this is my blog and that I really shouldn't self-censor, unless I am doing so with the intent to avoid hurting others' feelings. So here it goes.

I was hoping that the group might help me cope with some of the unpleasant emotions I have been having related to my inability to have a baby, but I actually left feeling a little perplexed. The group was a professional-led group, led by someone whose focus is the mind/body connection. I liked her, but in a sense, I could not relate to her.

Don't get me wrong. I do believe that there *is* a mind/body connection. I just don't necessarily feel that all (or even most) physical problems can be overcome by the power of the mind.

When it was my turn, the leader told me that she believes I need to "get in touch with [my] feelings" and that I have repressed emotions which are probably affecting my ability to get pregnant. (She mentioned in passing that they are probably contributing to my weight problem, too.) After I described various thoughts I was having about TTC and infertility, she asked me "how does that feel, in your body?" Huh? Aside from feeling a little tense talking about my feelings in front of three complete strangers, I wasn't physically feeling anything out of the ordinary.

*I* don't feel that I am repressing my emotions. Far from it. I have experienced more angst and sadness in the past 18 months or so than I can remember feeling since I was a teenager. I have cried regularly, in my office, in my car, and at home. I have ranted, and continue to rant, against Fate, The Universe or G-d to friends who were/are sympathetic and willing to listen. I have become irrationally angry at times over others' happy child- or pregnancy-related news. I have written at length on this blog about my emotions related to our infertility.

As I see it, I am just a more logical than an emotional person. That's not to say I don't have emotions--clearly I do, everyone does--but I tend to be ruled more by my head than by my heart. I have been this way for as long as I can remember.

But I guess THINKING about my feelings is different from FEELING them. How can I think about feelings if I'm not feeling them first?

Am I just in denial? If so, I don't know how to break through it. I wouldn't have the first clue where to start to "get in touch with my feelings." I didn't know I was out of touch with them.

So that was my experience. I doubt I will go back. Honestly, I got less out of the group than I do out of writing this blog and reading the comments people leave and reading others' infertility blogs.

Unlike many women whose blogs I read, I actually do have a lot of support in my life already. My sister has PCOS and took two years to conceive her (thus far only) child. A close friend of mine from college struggled for several years with secondary infertility. Another friend was given a 1% chance of natural conception by her doctor and went on to have a son. Yet a third friend has a sister-in-law to whom she is close who has been through the ringer with infertility, including multiple IVF cycles, infant loss, and more than one miscarriage. And my BFF, who has never TTC and thus is not infertile, has nonetheless been wonderful about listening to my ravings. I also have several less-close friends who have been very understanding and supportive, when I have chosen to talk to them about our situation.

To be honest, MM is not the greatest in terms of providing emotional support (he is generally more sensitive than I and perceives me to be "strong" enough to deal with things), but he is not dismissive and tries to be supportive. And clearly I have several other people in my life to whom I can turn when needed.

I think the idea of a support group is good, and I may seek out another at some time if I feel the need. I just didn't get much out of this experience, which actually left me feeling more confused than comforted.


  1. I feel the same way as you. I know there is a mind body connection, but when people start talking about touchy feely mind/meditation stuff I tend to tune out. I hope that you can find one that you enjoy.

  2. Your reactions that I've read on your blog all seem normal to me. I too would probably feel perplexed by that group.

    I'm glad you have some good support from people in your life.

  3. How obnoxious that a fertility support group says that you are causing yourself to not become pregnant due to your emotional reaction (or lack thereof, ha) to NOT GETTING PREGNANT. I would have lost it! I definitely sense that you are more logical than emotional. I am the same way, but it no way are you repressing feelings, you are very self aware. Sorry you had such a bad experience.

  4. Sometimes when it comes to support groups, therapists, etc., you have to try a couple out before you find the right fit. (If you're fortunate enough to have a choice...!) Some people prefer one-to-one counselling versus a support group, & vice-versa. I'm glad you feel you do have some support in your life!

  5. I think she sounds like a crackpot. I mean, you write a very frank and honest blog about your feelings about infertility. I don't know what's more honest than that.

  6. That doesn't sound like a good fit for me either. I haven't had luck finding a group around me, but if it is something you are still interested in keep looking. They won't all be the same...maybe a peer led group rather than professionally??

  7. I can relate! A stranger at a party (who was a midwife, I should add) told me once that there's something in my mind preventing me from getting pregnant. I wanted to slug her!

  8. that doesn't sound like a support group i would like.

    but then, i'm not much for group share, i admit! even so, this one sounds a little like "the secret" or something.

    i sure wish you could see the counselor that both "lost in space" and i have seen.

    keep looking - even though i only went for a few months, it helped me clarify things quite a bit.



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