Infertility is hard. Painful. Shameful. Envy-inducing. Heartbreaking. Isolating. Sad.
Those are just some of the feelings infertility brought up for a group of men and woman attending ‘The Dr. Is In,’ an online support session with Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey (RMANJ) Dr. Maria Costantini recently.
Dr. Costantini, who is both a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist and a clinical psychologist, held two support sessions last month for patients seeking an outlet to share their stress. While most participants were women, men joined as well, and everyone took turns sharing a difficult part of their infertility journey.
One woman shared about the shame she felt in having to seek an egg donor because she was too old to use her own eggs. Another woman talked about the anger and sadness she felt when someone close to her expressed disapproval at her decision to use a sperm donor and raise her child alone. One man spoke up about how powerless he felt to fix his wife’s infertility and stop her suffering.
And as they shared, Dr. Costantini listened, empathized, shared her own stories and offered support. She encouraged those on the line to talk about each other’s experiences, and she met every feeling she heard about with approval: it’s normal to feel devastated, she said. Let’s talk about it.
Although recent data has shown that experiencing infertility-related stress does not have an impact on the outcome of your treatment, the effect it has on your mood, your behavior and your relationships is clear. Anxiety, depression and social isolation can result from bottling up severe stress.
Talking about pain, however, has beneficial effects, because it allows you to process your feelings in a healthy way. Sharing with those who can relate is even more therapeutic.
So let’s keep talking and sharing. Join Dr. Costantini for two more online support meetups this month to share your feelings about your journey, especially as we get into the holidays, which can be extremely difficult for those struggling with infertility.
Join Dr. Costantini on Thursday, December 6 at 7:30 pm for a one-hour support session online. To register, click here. Once registered, enter this ID to get into your session: 634-147-131.
Join Dr. Costantini on Tuesday, December 18 at 7:30 pm for a one-hour support session online. To register, click here. Once registered, enter this ID to get into your session: 399-824-563.