Counselling for Infertility Challenges
Our team works with individuals and couples dealing with a variety of fertility-related issues, including struggling to conceive, pregnancy loss, and decision-making around IUI, IVF, egg & sperm donors, and surrogacy. There are significant emotional impacts from navigating these options and trying to determine what your next steps. To learn more about these A.R.T., we’ve created a handout that further explains what you can expect, as well as tips for reducing stress while trying to conceive.
We know that infertility can have significant impacts on a person’s life and relationship, and together with your therapist, you can make a plan for navigating these challenges.
“I feel like my body is failing me.”
“I’ve disappointed my partner.”
“Will I ever be a parent?”
“I don’t know how much more suffering I can put myself through.”
“I’m doing all the things I’m supposed to, why isn’t this working?”
Infertility is defined as a lack of conception after a year of unprotected sex for women under 35. This timeframe is shortened to 6 months for women over 35 (SOGC, 2020). 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 (PHAC, 2013).
The trying to conceive journey can be an emotional 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. It 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.
How Can Therapy Help?
Normalize the emotions that arise from fertility challenges.
Going through the ups and downs of trying to conceive is incredibly emotional. Often women especially are in survival mode and only months after do they appreciate all that they’ve been through emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Our counsellors offer that safe space and guidance to help your explore your fertility experience, no matter where you are in your journey. Both individual and couples’ support sessions are available.
Acknowledge and process your grief.
With infertility there are many layers of grief – grief after getting your period, grief with the thought of not having your own biological child, grief when you see others getting pregnant. Illuminate counsellors will help you navigate this grief as it shows up, as it can be very overwhelming and confusing. Many clients have described the far-reaching benefits to their overall mental health of having a safe space to make sense of these feelings.
Navigate challenging social situations.
We live in a society where fertility is assumed and couples are expected to have children by default. The comments, questions, and assumptions from well-meaning people can be hurtful. This is a deeply personal journey to decide when and who to share it with. We understand these nuances of fertility challenges. Out and will help you to navigate challenging situations, such as family pressure, what to do about baby showers, how to respond when a friend tells you they are pregnant.
Teach 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. Developing a sense of internal resliency can help you to feel more able to navigate the challenges ahead, whatever they may be.
Ready to Get Started?
You don’t need to go through this alone. We have a team of counsellors that can help you deal with your fertility challenges, whatever stage that you are at. If you’re not sure what kind of support you need, we’ll be happy to match you with a counsellor that’s the right fit.