Fertility Communities & Why You Need Them.
Here at Garden Acupuncture we specialize in fertility and we know how important it is to not go through the process alone. Your significant other, friends and family may not always understand how you are feeling and keeping things bottled up isn’t always the greatest way to go. So where do you turn? We are excited to share a free resource called Fruitful.
Elyse Ash is the brilliant founder and CEO of this beautiful community of fertility warriors. Fruitful is a free mentorship program that matches those going through their fertility journey with a supportive individual who has experienced it first hand.
Building a Strong Support System While Trying to Conceive
By Elyse Ash, Founder of Fruitful Fertility
Infertility is a complicated, emotional, messy-as-all-get-out experience for 1 in 8 couples. And for good reason; infertility can quickly hijack your life.
Because when you’re trying to conceive, you’re also trying to deal with relationship stress, financial disagreements, hormonal imbalances and oftentimes mental health struggles, too.
And while your usual support network of friends and family members may try to be there for you, it’s really tough for anyone who hasn’t been through infertility firsthand to understand. Usually you just receive a string of platitudes like, “Try to relax,” or “It’s going to be fine.” Even your bestest best friend probably doesn’t really understand the level of despair you feel when you get your period.
This empathy gap and lack of understanding is why 61% of women going through infertility don’t tell ANYONE about this struggle; not their moms. Not their friends. No one. Which is absolutely heartbreaking, because the only thing worse than going through infertility is going through this mess alone.
The good news? Today, suffering in silence is completely optional. There are many ways to find new TTC (Trying to Conceive) friends who know what you’re going through and can help support you in a real, meaningful way. You don’t have to be an extrovert or even look anyone else in the eye! In fact, there’s a whole underground world of women sharing their journeys and supporting one another right under your nose; and it’s kind of amazing!
So how can you build your TTC Tribe of fellow infertility warriors who can help emotionally support you on your journey? Here are a few awesome ways you can start connecting with other women who know what it feels like to spontaneous burst into tears when you walk past the baby section at Target.
1. Fruitful – Fruitful is a free fertility mentorship matching program. Individuals struggling emotionally with infertility are paired with a mentor who has experienced it firsthand but is now on the other side. The service is free and a great way to talk one-on-one to someone (either via text, phone, email or in-person) who truly understands the struggles of TTC. The benefit of having a mentor? It’s less competitive than going through the experience with someone else actively trying to conceive, and mentors are also able to offer the perspective, knowledge and guidance that only comes with a bit time and of distance.
2. Instagram – The Instagram #TTC community is another great option for finding support. Just search the hashtag #TTC or #IVF or any other fertility code word and you’ll see hundreds of women (some anonymous, some loud and proud) sharing the most intimate details of their journey – from positive OPKs to confessionals about ditching their friend’s baby shower. It’s also a great place to read other women’s stories and find “cycle buddies” who are also going through what you’re going through. The only downside? Lots of BFP pregnancy test photos, bump pics and ultrasound scans…so if you’re easily triggered, this is a huge downside.
3. Private FB Groups – Private Facebook groups are another great resource for finding others going through the experience, but it offers a lot of the same pitfalls as Instagram (potentially triggering posts and photos from others TTC). Perhaps the greatest downfall of Facebook groups is that even if the group is private, it’s still connected to your personal account. And as you probably already know, nothing on Facebook stays private for long.
4. Support Groups – In-person fertility support groups are another great way to find fellow infertility warriors. Listening to someone tell their own story, and in turn sharing your own, can be incredibly powerful. There’s something about really hearing someone’s story first-hand and seeing their pain, hope and beauty that makes you feel less alone. The only downside is the availability of these types of groups in more rural areas and also, it can be terrifying for introverts to share their story or even go to the support group in the first place.
Are there any other resources you’ve found useful? Please share your favorite fertility communities and why you love them in the comments below. And remember, you do NOT have to go through infertility alone.
About the Guest Post Author: Elyse Ash
Elyse Ash is the founder and CEO of Fruitful Fertility. She and her husband Brad have been trying to conceive since September 2014 and live in Minneapolis with their cat Puck. Elyse loves poetry, hockey, social justice, Beyonce and pretending she’s into yoga.