Support Groups - Self-Help is the Best Help
from the book How to Have a Baby:
by Dr. Aniruddha Malpani, MD and Dr. Anjali Malpani, MD.
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Infertility causes great personal suffering and distress. Most of this is
hidden from the public gaze, and this is why it is still not talked about
openly. The reasons for the lack of public support for the infertile couple
include: the dismal ignorance about the causes of infertility and its treatment;
and the failure of infertile couples to make their problems (and the solutions
to them) known to the public, because of their low self-esteem and reluctance to
talk about their problems, thus making this a vicious cycle.
Infertile couples are socially isolated and emotionally very vulnerable. They
need a place where they can get together and talk to people in the same boat as
themselves, to help them tide over this crisis in their life. After all, if
infertile patients will not look after their own interests, then who will?
Infertility Friends is India's first support group for infertile couples.
This is a non-profit registered charitable trust for infertile couples, where
they can get together and discuss their problems. In order to facilitate this
process, the Patient Education Library has over 30 videos, 50 books and 100
brochures on infertility, which help patients to learn more about their
Its mission is to provide compassionate and informed help to people
experiencing the crisis of infertility ; and to increase visibility about
infertility issues by public education. Its goals include: providing indepth,
reliable medical information which encourages people to make informed decisions
on options and treatment; encouraging patient self-education resulting in a
stronger doctor-patient relationship; and offering emotional support services to
reduce anxiety and help restore feelings of control, self-worth and optimism.
How does a support group help ? No one understands infertility as well as
someone who has been there. However, finding another couple experiencing the
same problem can be difficult. Infertile people simply have no way of finding
one another without help - and this is where support groups can help. Contact
with other infertile couples is one of the best ways to break through the
isolation and despair of the infertility experience. You realise that "you
are not alone" . By joining a support group you learn that there are others
who can understand the devastation of a failed cycle or the jealousy of a
friend's pregnancy. The craziness of scheduled sex, the exhaustion of endless
medical treatments and the agony of family gatherings are all well known in a
The best help is self-help; and an additional bonus many people find is that
by helping other infertile couples in their time of need, they learn to help
themselves ! Being able to ventilate your feelings and to get emotional support
can be a healing experience.
The internet has also become a very valuable source of emotional support, and
you’ll find many online communities of infertile couples, who network with
each other, and provide much needed support and practical information. These
cyberspace support groups allow you to communicate with dozens of other
infertile couples from all over the world ! The Internet provides a safe cloak
of anonymity, so you never need to reveal your identity. A good example of such
a support group, which uses bulletin boards to allow couples to "talk"
to each other is at www.fertilethoughts.net.
You can post your message online, read about other’s problems – and offer
advise as well !
Unfortunately, misconceptions about support groups prevent many people from
making use of this valuable help.
Some are concerned that joining might cause them to dwell even more on the
infertility. But the reality is that infertility can pervade every aspect of
your life and obsession with getting pregnant will occur whether or not you join
a group. Trying to shut out painful feelings will only make them worse.
Others may feel that infertility is too private or personal or traumatic to
share with a group of strangers. You may also believe that you should be able to
handle this on your own. In truth, infertility is too traumatic not to share
with others, and there is nothing wrong or weak about reaching out for help. A
support group simply provides a safe, warm supportive environment - you need
never say a word if you don't want to.
Another reason for not joining a group is concern that it promotes a feeling
of futility. The perception may be that a group is only for those who have hit
bottom or are without hope. This is far from the truth - and in fact, many
support group members have ended up with successful pregnancies thanks to the
information they obtained from the support group's library.
It's easy to believe that nothing except a successful pregnancy will make any
difference in coping with infertility - but that's not true. Joining a support
group may be just what you need to find crucial information or to deal with the
devastating feelings that accompany being infertile. Joining may be frightening
- but it's well worth the risk. You do not have to struggle alone.
59, Bombay Samachar Marg,
Fort, Mumbai – 400 023.
Voice Mail : 9721834
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Internet Address: www.healthlibrary.com/pregnant
Additional useful sources of information include:
Somerville, MA 02144-1731. USA.
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine
2140 11th Avenue South, Suite 200
Birmingham, AL 35205-2800. USA.
Ferre Institute Inc
258 Genesee Street, Suite 302
Utica, NY 13502. USA.
Infertility Federation of Australasia
PO Box 426
Wanniassa ACT 2903. Australia.
CHILD - The National Infertility Support Network
Charter House, 3 St Leonards Road
Bexhill on Sea, East Sussex, TN40 1JA. UK.
114 Lichfield Street
Walsall, West Midlands WS1 1SZ. UK.
by Dr. Aniruddha Malpani, MD and Dr. Anjali Malpani, MD.
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