Even though most of us regularly visit fertility clinics for testing or treatments, we fail to make any connections there. We sit in the waiting room with other women who are there for the same reason, but it's so rare for anyone to speak to each other or even to make eye contact. Infertility has such a stigma that it prevents us from reaching out in person. You may want to respect others privacy, but in doing so you may feel even more isolated and alone. This is why finding a local support group is a great way to meet others who want to talk openly about their journey.
Check out the Resolve website for a listing of support groups in your area. If there aren't any, you can create one! Also, there may be other community support groups that focus on infertility. But the best way to find them is to go online and search.
The internet is a big place. There are support groups all over the place online, you just have to know where to find them. A good place to start is Facebook. You're on there multiple times a day anyway, why not use it for support? Then there's Twitter, Instagram, and boards on Babycenter, The Bump, and many other blogs and websites that allow infertile women and men to come together for support and information. Check them all out to see which one may be the best fit for you.
Find Your Tribe
Because there are so many places to find support, it can be difficult to find a place where you really feel that you belong. I call this your "tribe." Once you find your tribe, you will be overwhelmed by the support and friendships that you make there. It is the single most important thing you can do for yourself and for your sanity while struggling with infertility. Finding a support group where you feel safe and welcomed is an incredible way to cope with the stresses and challenges that only those facing infertility can understand. Your tribe may change or grow with time, but you will find that some of the connections you've made turn into lifelong friendships.
The single best way to find support is to share your story. You may feel that you're the only one in your family or in your group of friends who is struggling with this. But odds are that you're not. It's just that no one talks about it. But once you start sharing your journey and speaking up, you'll be surprised when others start reaching out to you privately to share their struggles or to ask questions. You're not just making connections, little by little you are helping to remove the stigma surrounding infertility. There is no shame in something you can't control. Infertility is a disease, and it's isolating because it's so misunderstood.
The BEST way to get support, is to give support. You have to reach out to others, share your story, and interact with the community in order to get support back. It's no different than real life. Like most friendships, it's not a one-way street. You have to open both lines of communication. And once you do, you'll be amazed by the support you'll receive from this community. We have to stick together if we are to combat the shame and stigma that surround infertility. We have to support one another and lift each other up, to raise our voices and unite. Because no one with infertility should walk alone.
This post was submitted to the Bloggers Unite Challenge. For more information, click here.