The experience of infertility is a difficult, demanding, and emotionally trying journey. It can also be a hard topic to discuss with friends and family, who may not fully understand the complexities, may ask painful questions or offer unhelpful advice. Even just explaining where you are in the process can require reliving setbacks or losses. Consequently, stories go untold and pain is endured in private.
Humans are meant for connection. Going through anything distressing is made even more so when we face it alone. We need connection to feel safe, supported, understood, and cared for. We need connection even more when we are facing something stressful or overwhelming.
The Fertility Support Circle offers a time and space to connect with others who can truly relate to and empathize with each others’ struggles and pain. This group, sponsored by Conceive Nebraska through Omaha Integrative Care, meets via Zoom and provides a supportive, nonjudgmental space for participants to offer and receive guidance, encouragement, and understanding.
When members of the Support Circle hear each others’ stories, they often hear their own pain, their own hardships, their own conflicting and contradictory emotions reflected back to them. They get it. I’m not the only one! They know what it’s like. I’m not alone.
I have seen group members nod knowingly at each other’s stories, resonating deeply with the exhaustion of endless injections and medications, the paradox of feeling stressed about feeling stressed, and the excruciating jealousy of seeing other families announce pregnancies or births. The feeling of being heard and understood creates a sense of safety, a place in which all emotions and experiences are not only valid but valued.
I have watched members quietly shed tears of sadness and frustration — for their own pain and for each other’s. They sit with each other’s emotions without turning away, changing the subject, or trying to make it better. They let it be exactly what it is, let each other feel exactly what they feel.
I have also seen members share moments of humor and even bouts of laughter. They flash ironic smiles and laugh out loud together at the absurdity of some aspects of the journey.
I have heard stories of anguish, perseverance, faith and grace, patience and pain, and most of all, hope.
The most beautiful thing about the Support Circle is seeing the connections grow beyond the monthly meeting. I’ve heard of participants sending each other encouraging texts and messages of support ahead of procedures. Others ran into each other at their appointments and shared a rare moment of in-person connection and genuine joy. This type of connection is an invaluable resource in times of emotional need. Fertility Support Circle is a wonderful place to find it. The Circle meets via Zoom on the second Tuesday of each month, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. For more information or to sign up, email Johnna at email@example.com.
Johnna Hjersman Everson, PLMHP, is an integrative mental health therapist at Omaha Integrative Care. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org