“My body has failed me”
“I’m less of a woman”
“I’ve disappointed my partner”
“If I’m not a parent, I don’t know who I am”
“I don’t know how much more pain I can put myself through”
“I’m out of control”
“Will I ever be a parent?”
Infertility is defined as the inability for a woman or a couple to conceive a child after 6 months to 1 year of having unprotected sex. Infertility can also be defined as the inability to contribute biologically to a pregnancy, or the inability to carry a pregnancy to term & result in a live birth. Infertility impacts about 1 in 6 couples in Canada, a number that has doubled since the 1980s (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2013).
For some couples their infertility journey involves miscarriages, stillbirths, and/or terminations for genetic abnormalities. For other couples their challenge is in getting pregnant. While some infertility can be diagnosed through fertility testing, about 10% of the time their infertility is unexplained (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2013).
The most common analogy clients use to describe their emotional fertility journey is a rollercoaster. The highs of seeing that you’re ovulating combined with the low when you get your period. Or the excitement of learning you’re pregnant, followed by immediate dread “will this one make it?”. This can continue for months and sometimes years, and impacts most of our relationships: relationship with our body, relationship with our partner, relationship with friends/family, relationship with work, relationship with spirituality/God, etc.
THERAPY CAN HELP BY:
(a) Normalizing the emotional toll that infertility has on women and couples.
(b) Understanding your own experience of fertility challenges.
(c) Providing tools and strategies to help you and your partner better cope.
Normalizes the emotions that arise from fertility challenges. Going through the ups and downs of getting one’s period, or becoming pregnant and then miscarrying, or terminating for genetic abnormalities, is incredibly emotional. Often women are in survival mode and only months after do they appreciate all that they’ve been through emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Alexandra will provide a safe space and guidance to help your explore your fertility experience.
Helps you acknowledge and process your grief. With infertility there are many layers of grief - the grief of getting one’s period, the loss of a baby through miscarriage/stillbirth/genetic termination, facing the grief that you may not have your own biological child, and much more. Alexandra will help you navigate this grief as it shows up, as it can be very overwhelming and confusing.
Helps you navigate challenging social situations. We live in a society where fertility is assumed and couples are expected to have children by a certain age. People’s comments/questions/assumptions can unintentionally hurt, and it’s a deeply personal journey that we selectively choose when and who to share it with (you’re not always wanting to educate others on what it’s like to experience fertility challenges). Alexandra will help you to navigate these challenging situations like the return to work after a loss, how to talk to your friends/family, what to do about baby showers, how to respond when a friend shares they’re pregnant, etc.
Teaches new ways of coping. We’ll examine what you’re already doing to support yourself (you may not be aware of it yet, but there’s always something helpful you’re already doing for yourself). We’ll also explore new “tools” to add to your “coping toolbox” - these will be customized because it’s not a one-size-fits-all type of deal.