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What is an Infertility Support Group Really Like?
a blog by Jenn Nixon, July 15, 2013
During my 6 years of infertility, I have been aware of the existence of therapeutic friendship gatherings, otherwise known as “support groups”. Joining one seemed like it would be a good way to make some infertile friends, but I wasn’t sure what took place during a monthly gathering of supportive interactions. What if it was all boohooing and self-pity? Would the meeting end with Kumbaya and injections of Follicle Stimulating Hormones? I wasn’t in the process of fertility treatments; would they still let me in?
I couldn’t handle walking into the unknown, it was better just to avoid these potential friendships until I knew for certain what to expect. But time went by, no new information was shared and support groups still remained a mystery. So I ignored my fear of meeting new people and infiltrated their infertile sorority. Lucky for all you curious sufferers of unfruitful wombs, I am happy to share what I learned.
As far as I can tell, group injectables are not required at any point during a meeting unless someone is in the process of a cycle and needs assistance. There is no singing, though participating in a round of “Make New Friends” would give it a Girl Scout ambiance. You are absolutely are allowed to join at any stage of infertility, no treatment required for enrollment. And crying is optional, not everyone sheds tears. There is more laughter than anything.
In my circle of friends, I am the only Infertile I know. Being able to relate to others who have experienced the struggle to conceive is something you cannot find in a Fertile companion. They wouldn’t understand the hilarity of andrology center masterbatoriums, that’s humor only an Infertile can appreciate. By joining a support group, I have made friends with women who are familiar with the awkward moments of infertility. That is a vital trait to have in a barren comrade.
If you have considered joining a support group but have reservations about what to expect, find out if your local RESOLVE chapter has a private Facebook page you can participate in. Luckily, my local group does which gave me the opportunity to meet the women online beforehand. Another great way to make Infertile friends is to join an online community like Fertile Thoughts, Fertility Authority’s infertility support system. Being able to simply log-on to the computer to find someone to vent to has helped me make it through so many frustrating moments.
I assure you that therapeutic friendship gatherings aren’t as scary as they seem. You wouldn’t believe how fulfilling it is to meet others who can relate to your journey. Having Infertile sidekicks has been the best remedy for a lonely struggle. I can’t promise Kumbaya sing-alongs, but I can promise that you will make new friends who appreciate a good transvaginal ultrasound. A rare thing to find.