Approximately 6.4 million people experience infertility, yet most people don’t want to talk about their experience. Because infertility feels traumatic and shaming. It shakes our world. Research shows that a diagnosis of infertility feels as devastating to women as a diagnosis of cancer. Merriam Webster’s definition of trauma is “a very difficult or unpleasant experience that causes someone to have mental or emotional problems usually for a long time.” Hearing the diagnosis elicits numerous emotions – shock, disbelief, fear, anger, insecurity, shame, just to name a few. Thrust into a world of medical decisions can be overwhelming. If you choose to share your news with family, you may not get the support you anticipated. You and your partner, if you have one, may not be on the same page in terms of next steps and you’re noticing that communication is getting difficult and you feel alone. Self esteem and identity have been turned upside down. You don’t recognize yourself.
I often work with individuals or couples after they have finished building their family and are parenting and are now beginning to think in earnest about talking to their child about their beginnings.
There is a shift in the transgender community in that the previous generations transitioned later in life, often past the reproductive years. Now, transgender individuals are expressing a desire to have biological children. A meeting with a qualified mental health professional can bring clarity to decisions for the present and the future.
These are some of the areas we can explore together:
- Sorting through all your emotions so you can more clearly make a plan of action
- Coping strategies
- Decision making – egg/sperm/gestational surrogate
- Same sex parenting
- Selective Reduction
- Talking to your children about their beginnings
- Living childfree
- Single parenting
- Pregnancy after infertility
- Disposition of embryos
- Judaism and infertility
- Stress Reduction
- Grief and loss
- Transgender family building
- Male/Female coping differences
- Postpartum Depression
As a staff mental health professional at a reproductive medical clinic in the Northeast for 11 years, I have been conducting psychoeducational sessions to egg, sperm, and embryo recipients as well as intended parents using a gestational carrier. I also do psychosocial assessments for young women wanting to be an egg donor, as well as gestational carriers. I now continue to do these consultations and assessments in my private practice.