In(fertility) & Family Planning
Rebuilding the connection in your couple
Struggling to have a biological child is a complicated grief process because it's often an invisible loss
Complications having a biological child is a hard grief to process, especially since others around might not understand, it’s an invisible loss. In our Western society, there are no rituals or public ways to honor this kind of loss, and as a result, many people feel alone and silenced in their pain. This can be a struggle that impacts people’s self-esteem and bring up all sorts of messages about worth and questions about their future. My clients often express how being invited to baby showers or hearing about a friend’s pregnancy subsequently can bring up feelings of shame and guilt for feeling envy.
Infertility can impact one’s confidence at work, with their peers, or with their partner. The reason this can be such a hard blow to the psyche is that society bombards us as children with messages about how when we grow up we will have our own family. This expectation and pressure can also come from well-intentioned parents and friends. Part of our work will be centered around making sense of your new fertility identity and going over options of what moving forward looks like.
Partners can respond very differently to grief and distress creating tension for the couple. While one partner might avoid the pain by pulling away from the relationship, others might cope by becoming increasingly attached to their partner. When this cycle is happening, it is important to recognize it and work with it so that both partners can better understand how to support one another. I use attachment-focused therapy, a research-validated approach based on the principle that people all seek to connect with each other and do much better when they are in secure, connected relationships.
Preparing couples for IVF treatment
-Establish family goals and vision
-Make sure you are moving forward as a team
-Prepare for the emotional/physical costs of IVF
-Learn stress-management and self-care techniques
-Educate couples about what to expect psychologically during treatment
-Create ritual around intercourse to keep sex meaningful not mechanic
-Create plan B beyond biological pregnancy
-Process the personal, relationship, financial and/or existential pain caused by infertility
Adoption and surrogacy
There are many different options available to consider when family planning. Adoption and surrogacy can be great potential routes to pursue as well as IVF. It is important to find what the best fit for you is and consider every option and rule out which one makes the most sense given your situation and needs. Whatever you decide to pursue I am here to help you process all the emotional roadblocks and support you on your journey to building a family.