Top 6 Benefits of Infertility Support Groups
Elizabeth Westermann, LCMSW
Support groups can be extremely beneficial to those going through infertility. There is documented research that shows that the power of group support helps those with many types of medical and health issues, including infertility. Here are the Top 6 benefits of joining an infertility support group:
- You won’t feel alone anymore. The feeling of isolation is one of most common complaints for those experiencing infertility. In the group setting, women and men can express their feelings of anger, sadness, frustration, and be validated by others who are having the same or similar feelings. Your experiences, accomplishments, and even humorous stories, can be understood by only those who are going through the life crisis of infertility. By participating in a group, people realize that their feelings are normal.
- You will make new friends. Many women report that the common bond and connection they have with others in the group continues outside the group setting. Friendships and lasting bonds are established that often extend long after the group comes to an end. What could be better than having an ongoing source of support through your infertility journey?
- You have a safe place to share your feelings. The confidential, safe and nurturing environment that support groups provide allow individuals to freely express their feelings, both negative and positive, about their infertility situation. Many people do not want to share the very private information of their infertility struggles to friends and family. Or they may not want to burden their families with the details of their treatments, and decisions they are making. By having a supportive outlet to express themselves to others going through the same experiences, group members are helped to make decisions, and move forward towards a positive resolution to their infertility.
- You will learn something new. Knowledge is power. Every group member will have a different story to tell about their infertility journey. By sharing information, coping strategies, and resources, group members become more empowered. This sense of empowerment helps members plan their next steps and make informed decisions as they move ahead in their path to parenthood.
- You will learn how to cope. In support groups, the most helpful coping techniques are shared amongst members as they go through infertility tests, treatments, and develop plans and decisions on how they will handle the multiple facets of this difficult journey. Whether it be how to respond to the multiple baby shower invitations, breathing exercises, managing work and infertility treatments, financial issues, or how to talk to friends and relatives about infertility — group members learn coping strategies and problem solving skills. This enhances resilience, improves self-esteem and enables people to have some degree of control over how they manage the crisis of infertility.
- Emotional healing. All of the benefits listed above can help alleviate the emotional distress of infertility. Group support is particularly helpful during certain pivotal events such as when you begin your first treatment and the reality of infertility sets in. Another time is when you are doing IVF for the first time (or for the third time), coping with a loss, or exploring other pathways to parenthood of living child dree. Other support services may be helpful to you such as private counseling and/or educational workshops.