Words to keep me sane

Sometimes the only action you can take is to let go.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

In Support of Support Groups

I am lucky to have found a group of local, supportive women who unfortunately are also weathering the storm of infertility. Last spring I took a class called Mind/Body for Fertility and Family Building, taught by a local psychologist. Possibly even more valuable than the relaxation techniques we learned or the cognitive exercises we did were the connections we made with each other. My class was made up of fourteen ladies whose lives have all been touched/altered/impacted (I'm sure other verbs apply) by infertility. Class lasted ten weeks, but since then we have continued to come together to talk, commiserate, and generally support each other on our journeys. We got together again last Wednesday in what has become our good weather meeting spot - a local city park with a restaurant - to catch up on each others' lives. Some of the women have become pregnant (ironically mine was the first pregnancy in our class, and also the first miscarriage). Others are in the process of adopting. Others have gone through surgery, unsuccessful IVF cycles, and other life struggles. A few of us are about to try IVF for the first time. I will actually be doing my first cycle at the same time and at the same clinic as one of my friends from class. Overall, the members of this group support each other and validate each other's feelings, hopes, and fears. We are different ages and have endured different circumstances but we are all in the same boat. Speaking for myself it has been enormously comforting to be in the presence of these women. At a time in my life when I feel like other friendships and relationships have suffered because I have had to pull back and protect my infertile self, I have had the good fortune to find these friendships. I look forward to our get-togethers because I feel like I don't have to suppress anything or put on the armor I normally wear when in the company of other women my age who have no idea what it feels like to walk under a dark cloud day after day. I am thankful for the difference they have made in my life and my infertility journey. I hope I have been able to help lift them up and make things a little easier for them to bear, too. As the stirrup queens say, "connections abound." I wish the circumstances were different, but I am happy to know them. Between them and the wonderful women I have met in the IF blogosphere, I feel like I have been able to spin a safe cocoon inside a fertile world where I can exist as myself and not feel so alone.


peesticksandstones said...

That is awesome that you've got this group. I've been trying to find a support group in my city (definitely one of the major "IF capitals", I'm sure!) for a long time now, and have been surprised how hard it is to find something. Former group leaders have told me it's because everyone prefers to get their support online now.

Still, there's something to be said for real-life interaction! I did manage to find a one-night workshop recently. And while the mind-body relaxation stuff was useful, what really comforted me most was finally being around others like me. That and looking around and seeing all these other women with IF and marveling how normal they all looked. So maybe I still do, too, despite how freakish I feel inside! You could tell many of the other women were breathing a sigh of relief because of that, too.

JJ said...

Thats great that you have found a support group-I am sure that helps a lot!

Grad3 said...

I often wonder what it would be like to have real live people to talk to instead of a computer. I think it's great that you all still meet up. I sure you have brought them much comfort.

Kristen said...

My support groups are invaluable to me, as are the women I've met through blogging. Some I have met IRL and it makes it all seem so much more real. I love knowing I have support through good times and bad and that my feelings are normal.

Kami said...

I love my IRL support group too. I swear we can't get together enough. Good for you guys for sticking it out together.