You didn't expect to go through infertility. You definitely didn't expect to need a therapist to help guide you through it. Infertility is it's very own unique health animal. Women spend a good chunk of their reproductive years trying NOT to conceive. Health class made you believe it would be so easy, you better be good and ready when you decide it's time to start trying. But as that 6th month of trying approaches, the anxiety builds. The what-ifs attack. Maybe you go to your OB/gyn and she says not to worry until it's been another 6 months. Or you head to the reproductive endocrinologist and they start the testing. Anxiety builds. A tree of decisions take root and you are out on a limb all by yourself.
Your friends are getting pregnant, one by one. Your mom either has no idea, or has unhelpful suggestions about what to try next. Your spouse doesn't quite get it in the same way you do, and suddenly you are riding the wave of each day of your cycle with zero skills to surf.
You think "I've [fill in the blank of really hard life event here] I should be able to do this! But infertility has it's own set of rules. Just like you had a coach to get you to state, or a thesis advisor to help you finish your degree, you don't have to do this alone.
An infertility counseling specialist has probably endured some form of her own infertility. But there are so many different issues that happen when trying to conceive, her specific story is unique to her. So she gets it. The next step however, is to make sure you find an infertility therapist who is connect to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine and Resolve the Infertility Association. Through ASRM therapists participate in conferences and publications and consultation to stay abreast of current research in reproductive mental health. They are connected to other experts and consult regularly regarding the issues that are so unique to women with infertility. Check reproductivefacts.org to find a specialist in your state.
Because there are so few of us nationwide, a licensed provider in your state can serve you through HIPPA compliant video counseling. When you're going through infertilty you may already going to several appointments a month. With video counseling my clients get to shut the office door at lunch time or go to their car for privacy to process. When you cut out the commute time to and from a therapist's office, there is one less stressor for you to deal with.
If you've had a video call with old friends during the pandemic you know that it's pretty easy to feel connected through video. My clients love to grab a hot drink and get comfortable in their own setting before we connect. I've even had the privilege of meeting several pets throughout the process! With the constraints of time and travel gone, we can finally get down to the business of to helping you build skills to manage anxiety, enhance your relationships, and learn to thrive while trying to conceive.
Allison Ramsey is a licensed clinical mental health counselor and fertility counseling specialist seeing clients online throughout North Carolina, Washington State, and internationally. She’s a member of Resolve, The Infertility Association and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Contact her to start feeling better.