Fertility Friends & Counselling Support
Let’s get one thing straight: experiencing problems with fertility isn’t unusual. In fact, 1 in 6 couples are in the same boat as you. So where on Earth are they?
While counselling is a great emotional crutch to get you through fertility treatment. There’s nothing quite like the equivalent of sitting down with a comforting cup of tea for a good, honest chat. Especially with someone who feels the same as you. There are lots of ways in which you can seek emotional support without feeling needy. Including the wonderful Fertility Friends argc forum. In fact the Fertility Friends 2WW support is legendary among users. It’s so much more than an infertility blog! Let’s have a look at the many support options available to you.
What is fertility counselling, and why do people need it?
Some people feel pretty squeamish about the idea of opening up to a stranger. Maybe it’s a British stiff upper lip thing. Whatever the case, there’s still a taboo about having a counsellor. We resent throwing our emotions about like a game of tennis. Especially men. Yes, you – come on, out of your cave!
There are a lot of misconceptions about counselling. Which is why we’d rather just chat to someone who’s going through the same thing as us in Fertility Friends. But counsellors are professionals and can really help. Don’t worry: you probably won’t have to lie down on a couch or be hypnotised! But it might sometimes be helpful to talk through the old cliché of what your childhood was like.
Going through fertility treatment is full of highs and lows. Excitement and despondency. As well as feeling abnormal, unsexy and utterly useless. These are extreme emotions and in all likelihood, you’ll need help dealing with them. This isn’t a time to be cynical. It’s a time to take every offer of help on the table!
In these modern times, informal counselling is also accessible at the click of a mouse. The Fertility Friends forum is one place you can find other people like you. Those going through the same difficulties, asking the same questions and seeking the same support. Being there for each other is a really proactive and productive process. The Fertility Friends forum makes this easy.
What’s the process of counselling beyond Fertility Friends?
When you first register with a fertility clinic for IVF treatment, they will always offer you counselling services. You might already have been referred to a counsellor by your GP, or you can also choose an independent counsellor.
Even if you feel positive at the start, have lots of loving friends and family who you feel will help you through. You may not see why you’d need a complete stranger to help you discuss your feelings. However you might have a very different opinion further down the line after a failed cycle or coming across unexpected problems. Ignoring these possibilities isn’t a helpful option. So chatting to a counsellor in advance of treatment – as well as during the process – is a good idea. Plus it stops all your friends being driven to distraction by your whining and crying.
You won’t feel immediately comfortable with your counsellor but you should warm up quickly. If not, try someone else, as it’s important for you and your partner to have a good bond with them – after all, you’re going to be telling them the most intimate things about yourself and your internal workings! After a while you’ll hopefully come to see your counsellor as a mate rather than a health professional you barely know. Before long, you’ll be sobbing on their shoulder and asking them to give you bear hugs. Fertility Friends Zita West supporters know just how important professional counselling can be. But these kinds of clinics you’ll pay a premium for it.
There are different kinds of counselling that you might come across during your infertility roller-coaster. It’s a case of finding what works for you. A good counsellor should encourage you to try different approaches until you find something that clicks. In traditional support counselling, you and your partner will be encouraged to talk through how you’re feeling, what your questions and concerns are and how to deal with your problems. Implications counselling focuses on the treatment you’ll be receiving and ensures you’ve thought through the process and the potential pitfalls.
Early counselling sessions may reveal that your emotions about having children are more complex, in which case therapeutic counselling may be useful for you. This will get you to open up about issues including your relationship and the underlying reasons you want children. Not one for words? Then maybe you should pick up a pen and get scribbling – art therapy can be a good way to dig out your innermost thoughts and commit them to paper. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece – stick men are perfectly acceptable!
However, as much as having counselling is great. There’s nothing better than finding someone else who is actually going through the same things as you. Finding online buddies through places such as the Fertility Friends forum will make you feel less like the odd one out and more part of a community.
What does the Fertility Friends forum offer?
The Fertility Friends forum is an online meeting place for couples experiencing issues with fertility. The site’s aim is to help you through the tricky and draining process of assisted conception. By encouraging you to share your thoughts, experiences and knowledge with others in the same situation.
The Fertility Friends forum message board system and chat room enables people to meet and interact as anonymously as they’d like, putting you directly in touch with other people going through similar things to you. Nothing is more powerful than a sense of community in times of stress. The Fertility Friends forum is a place where you can form virtual friendships and be truly understood.
In the chatrooms that make up the Fertility Friends forum, you’ll find threads about fertility treatments, people’s personal diaries, ways of contacting health professionals, and people just having a whinge. Finding others experiencing the same things as you via the Fertility Friends forum can help you understand what to expect from an emotional point of view. Many couples say it’s invaluable support.
What help can Infertility Network UK offer?
Networking? No, it’s not an online business opportunity. Besides your counsellor and Fertility Friends, Infertility Network UK offers free support services to anyone undergoing fertility treatment, from the very first inkling you have a problem with conceiving naturally, right through to those who are accepting that they will never have children.
They create fact sheets, which even if you’re clued up, are great for helping reticent friends and family to get a handle on what exactly you’re getting up to in that clinic. They host chatrooms in the same way as the Fertility Friends forum but also provide access to phone helplines, news, events and a members’ magazine. It’s a service that can really make you feel ‘normal’ again.
Their invaluable work also helps to give people like you a voice to the powers that be that dish out guidelines on fertility treatment left, right and centre. Infertility UK helps The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, The British Fertility Society, The Fertility Nurses Group, The Department of Health and many more professional bodies stay in touch with real people and not just a pile of statistics.
Self help suggestions
Most of the time, your counsellor won’t be there: You can’t pop them into your bag and pull them out when you start having a meltdown on the bus. That’s why it’s important to have some tools to help you cope when you’re alone and feeling down. Your counsellor and your new mates on the Fertility Friends forum will probably give you some suggestions of their own, but here are our offerings:
- Create an action plan
Put together a plan of action to put you back in control that includes ways of dealing with your stresses alongside the logistics of tests and treatments.
- Write positive messages
Write affirmations and put them somewhere you’ll see them every day. Make them something you can believe in that means something to you personally.
- Develop visualisation techniques
It’s all about positive thinking, and although it might sound a bit new-age hippy, research shows that meditation and stress-reduction techniques really do calm you down.
- Keep a journal
Revel in pretending to be an angst-ridden teenager again and keep a daily record of what’s happening and how you’re feeling. This might not be one for the blokes out there, but women often really get something out of this.
- Do things that make you happy
You should really do this anyway, whether it’s spending time with friends or listening to your favourite band, regardless of whether you’re going through fertility treatment! But it’s easy to sink into self-pity.
Getting your heart beating releases endorphins. It’s the same ‘happy hormone’ that your brain creates when you orgasm, so that can’t be bad, can it?
Topic: Fertility Friends