Deciding to go through IVF treatment is yet another big life transition. It can hit our sense of identity to need help to have a baby. It looks like everyone else can do it so easily & yet realistically it effects 1 in 6 Australians. The decision often comes after months or years of unsuccessful attempts at pregnancy and sometimes miscarriages. For others it comes about due to reproductive factors only just discovered that can be devastating. The option to have a naively blissful first pregnancy is taken away, as the fears and worries are already embedded by the experience of doubt and loss. The grief is evident. All of it casts a shadow on those effected as to whether they may go on to have a family or not. These are big & unexpected life themes that can lead to a silent crisis, and impact personal values and world views. Infertility Counselling is here to support you in navigating these life themes and transitions.
A life on hold has already begun making it difficult to make other important life decisions whilst the ‘what if’ is waited for. These decisions can cross all of life’s frontiers. Decisions such as whether to go on that holiday, take a promotion, change jobs, move house, get married, attend someone’s wedding, resign from work, confide in others, or keep it a secret, bring family over from overseas, have a needed medical procedure or to keep up appearances as though all is okay. Any single one of these dilemmas would be overwhelming but collectively it can be extremely overwhelming. Meanwhile it is still your life but the waiting is agony.
An infertility counsellor can help you identify the nuances of your experience. This can help to re-align your values with the adjustments you have had to make in taking on IVF. Just because it is invisible does not mean doing nothing is a good option. It is happening to you, and it is comparable to any other chronic illness. The difference is that if you were to tell someone you had cancer or chronic pain you would be offered all manner of in-kind support. Unless you understand what infertility feels like and how unhelpful many well-meaning comments truly are your biggest supports may fail to comprehend the magnitude of fertility challenges. It can be a very isolating and alienating time. So, take this opportunity to increase its visibility in your life with these key benefits.
After all that you have had to consider is there an easier path that will allow you to feel held and supported through an extremely challenging time? I am not sure I can think of another life event that compares to not being able to have the family often longed for. It can be said it is a natural inclination to wait until you are well established in life before embarking on parenthood. Responsible even, but many do not meet a life partner until later than expected. Or life serves a curve ball that delays the option of having children at a younger age. Some will also need to consider using a donor. That balance of responsibility and grabbing life by the horns to ensure you can look back and feel content for the life you had is precarious with competing demands and responsibilities. Resentment can build in a relationship if one person has led the charge to hold off on having a family.
Self-blame, shame, regret & envy become close companions without the perspective a counsellor can offer to keep such destructive beliefs in check. As wounded beings, we can turn against ourselves and our loved ones & be ferociously punishing. So, when does how you think about yourself become harmful & what can you do to turn that around? Working on these themes with an infertility counsellor can lay out a gentler way so that enduring this reality does not leave a legacy of harm you hold against yourself or your partner. You are preparing for parenthood in managing adversity so that when your children face challenges you will know how to talk with them about it. Seek support to enable you to benefit from these challenges & not have them destroy the very thing you want to build on. You don’t need to go this alone!