Infertility support: the importance of the group

An infertility diagnosis is a wound that affects individual identity, couple identity and social identity. Processing a diagnosis of this type is equivalent to a mourning process and involves feelings of rejection, isolation, anger, denial, depression and finally acceptance.

Reactions after the diagnosis of infertility

It is a further difficult mourning to process because it does not involve a real loss but the loss of the self projected into the future.

We are convinced that we can have a child if and when we want and an infertility diagnosis makes all these expectations fade, causing strong emotional suffering that undermines the system of values, projects and hopes.

The initial reaction for the couple is a shock reaction . After this predominant feeling of rejection and anger we move on to a feeling of revenge. The crisis derived from infertility has important personal repercussions on self-esteem, on the perception of one’s body and can produce a sense of inferiority, depression and anxiety.

Feelings of envy, inadequacy, shame, anger, fear break out in the moment of diagnosis and are exacerbated in the moment of waiting and in the case of, unfortunately frequent, failures due to medically assisted procreation techniques.

Infertility for the couple

Infertility involves a profound readjustment of the couple especially in the expression of sexuality. The crisis triggered by infertility can invalidate the spheres of communication and sexuality and give rise to a situation of conflict and isolation, compromising the quality of life.

The unsaid and the unsaid is frequent in couples due to modesty, shame and difficulty in expressing one’s feelings. In fact, there is a certain reticence and reluctance, an alexithymic attitude (inability to name emotions) which helps to distance oneself from the pain deriving from one’s own wounded parenting.

Intrusive procedures, the sensation of strangers entering the couple’s intimacy, and scheduling of sexual activity can diminish desire and reduce the ability to indulge in erotic experience.

Infertility can therefore create conflicts and alienate partners but it can also be a great test of strength that takes the form of re-choosing each other as a couple in addition to the plan to have a child.

The help from the group

The groups contain within themselves the potential to promote dynamics of mutual aid among the members. Thanks to the shared purpose, the participants get to know the resources they possess and make use of these resources to face their own inner discomfort.

The group represents a space for sharing and support , allows you to let go by talking about your own experience, implements mutual collaboration and emotional support.

Sharing the problems related to infertility leads to experiencing a sense of relief inherent in the sensation of no longer feeling alone. The experience of the support group is a strong experience that allows you to live interpersonal relationships characterized by a human color and by a communicative exchange on an emotional and sharing basis.

The meetings aim to support the couple by containing the high level of accumulated stress, the sense of inadequacy and the triggering of a process of self-evaluation.

The main purpose is to activate a process of constructive elaboration of one’s infertility condition by separating the sense of personal identity from that of maternity / paternity.

Infertility is often covered up in secrecy and associated with shame and a feeling of personal inadequacy. The opportunity to be part of a group with other participants facing similar problems, sharing emotional experience, as well as feelings of stigmatization has exceptional relevance.

Kathryn Barlow is an OB/GYN doctor, which is the medical specialty that deals with the care of women's reproductive health, including pregnancy and childbirth.

Obstetricians provide care to women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, while gynecologists focus on the health of the female reproductive system, including the ovaries, uterus, vagina, and breasts. OB/GYN doctors are trained to provide medical and surgical care for a wide range of conditions related to women's reproductive health.

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