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Oova 101: How Support Systems Can Help You Navigate Infertility

12.18.2021 / Isabella Brown
Oova 101: How Support Systems Can Help You Navigate Infertility

Infertility is known to cause anxiety, stress, and feelings of isolation. When your body isn’t functioning like you thought it would, it can be scary and confusing. It surfaces questions and concerns you hadn’t had before. For many, mental health struggles come along with fertility concerns. 

>> RELATED: Mental Health and Fertility: What's the Link?

Navigating infertility with a support system

One way to combat the rollercoaster of emotions that comes with infertility is finding a secure and reliable support system.

Rena Gower, a licensed therapist who specializes in infertility, says:

“I always say it takes a village. It can be beneficial to find a support group or find individuals in your life who can hold space for what you are going through. It is important to communicate with them what you need in terms of support — i.e. do you want them to check in, do you want to be the one to let them know what's going on...the most important thing is to communicate and be open and honest. Since infertility is unfortunately so common, once you get comfortable being vulnerable and opening up to people about your journey that usually allows for many other doors to open and you will start to hear other people share their stories with you. The first step — opening up — is the hardest but can lead to beautiful things.” 

How does having a support system affect your fertility?

It allows you to have important conversations about your experience

When you’re going through infertility, it can feel like something new is around every corner —something you had no idea was coming, and that no one told you how to prepare for.

When you open up to a support system, whether that be a friend, therapist, group, or partner, you have an outlet to discuss exactly what you’re feeling. It’s vital to find someone who you feel comfortable sharing with, whether it’s about your symptoms, emotions, or stressors.

No one should feel like they can’t talk about what they’re going through. If you’re struggling with infertility, it’s important to have these conversations about how you’re feeling through it all.

You'll realize that you’re not alone

Although infertility is (unfortunately) common, it can feel like you’re the only one going through it. Whether you’re just starting trying to conceive, or you’re in the midst of fertility treatments, the process can be very isolating. That’s why it makes a huge difference to connect with others who have been through similar things.

There are many ways to connect with people who have been in your shoes. For example, you could ask your clinic if they host any support groups, or you could find one online.

Because infertility is far more common than it seems, it may be helpful to spark up a conversation with people you feel close to about these topics. You may be surprised how many people relate to you. When you have a support system, especially one that truly understands what you’re feeling, it helps you understand that you’re not alone.

It's there when you need help

Infertility comes with many questions. How should you be tracking your cycle? Should you be taking vitamins, or supplements? When is it time to pursue medical help?

All of these questions have answers, but it can be overwhelming to try to answer them by yourself. If you’re feeling like you can’t do it all, having a support system to help you out can make all the difference. It can be as simple as asking a friend to help you schedule a doctor’s appointment if you just don’t have time to call the office.

A support system can help you tackle all the things you want to do to better understand what’s going on and reach your goals. 

Where should I seek support?

There are many places to seek support, such as: 

  • A therapist or counselor: Mental health professionals provide a safe space for you to express exactly how you’re feeling. 
  • Support groups: There are many groups online and across the country that meet to discuss fertility related struggles. 
  • A friend or family member: While they might not relate to exactly what you’re going through, confiding in a friend or family member can lift a great weight off your shoulders. 
  • Your partner: If you are going through infertility with a partner, express how you’re feeling, and listen to what they’re feeling, to open up a dialogue and navigate the experience together. 

Support systems: the bottom line

Infertility is difficult, both physically and emotionally. If infertility is taking a toll on your mental health, you are not alone. Take some time to think about how you can seek out the support you need to feel the best you can on your fertility journey. 

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