Friday, April 18, 2008

Support Groups

I am, in theory, a big fan of support groups. I love the idea of sharing the suffering among other people who understand. I want to commiserate and complain and know that other people are feeling the same pain that I am. It's cathartic for me. It makes me feel better.

I went to a few infertility support groups while we were doing IVF. Though I didn't go through the IUI process, having had three miscarriages and determining that I was a poor responder to medication with my first IVF, I was much more a veteran than the mostly newbies that came to that group. Most hadn't starting IVF yet. I found it helpful for the most part, but I also felt like the weirdo in the corner that most people hoped they wouldn't be forced to follow in the footsteps of our losses.

Last night I went to an adoption support group. It was mostly more of the same. We have been educating ourselves for months about adoption. We have picked our agency, know what type of adoption we want and just need to get off our asses and fill out the paperwork. We have had the 4 miscarriages and 3 failed IVFs and we just don't want to do this anymore. I wanted to commiserate about the wait and the forms and the invasiveness of the adoption process. That didn't happen. For most of the people in this group, this was their first bit of education about adoption. Most people had maybe one failed IVF or were single or had other reasons to come to adoption. I spent the time feeling like the co-leader of the group because I had a bunch of the information that they wanted. I didn't commiserate; I informed. I like informing, so it was okay. I just wanted to get some anxiety out, I guess.

I don't know why I want to find more people 'like us' out there, but I do. I sort of feel lonely in our loss and failure right now. I know lots of people around have suffered great loss. I personally know people who have had late term losses and/or years and years of repeated failure, though I suppose only a handful of those are still childless now. I know how much pain and suffering infertility has caused for so many people out there. I see it all the time. So why do I feel so alone with all of this? This is just something I can't answer right now. All I know is that I am feeling quite alone in all of this these days.

Luckily I have T alone here with me, I suppose.


The Town Criers said...

It is hard to become the default leader when all you want to do is gather support yourself.

Do the Boston bloggers meet?

My Reality said...

This is lonely, even with people who are in the same spot.

Nearlydawn said...

It makes sense to want to find a group to commiserate with. It is just unfortunate that so few people educate themselves on their issues. They want to be spoon-fed.

I'm a researcher too, and am always surprised at how little other people know.

Maybe you could invite some of the more research-oriented your support groups to form a smaller, more tight-knit (get the knitting pun?) group. Maybe monthly dinners or something - somewhere you will feel less lead than contributor.

Just a thought...

Tina said...

Hi, I'm in the process of re-launching and have been reading the blog list I "inherited" and yours was on there. I have a section for adoption and TTC if you want to check it out. It's a bit on the small side since I'm trying to find and add blogs, but check it out just the same.

Good for you for actively researching. Too bad you end up teaching the ones that don't. I don't know exactly what you are going through, but if you ever need to talk, email me at

beagle said...

My reality is right. It's lonely either way, but it sure would be nice to have a few more IRL people who "get it." My agency just started a support group. The first meeting everyone stayed pretty clammed up. We'll see what the next one brings.

I wish we lived closer!

niobe said...

I'm so, so sorry you feel alone. I know I'm in a completely different situation, but I wish I could give you some support.

Here's something I say to myself that helps me a little. When I'm looking for support, often what I'm looking for is another me -- another person with similar experiences and similar reactions. Sometimes, when I'm in the grip of some really strong emotion -- say, immediately after a loss -- I can identify strongly with others.

However, over time, our experiences and emotions diverge as more and more things, both good and bad happen. We lose that intense bond and more differences start to emerge.

Also, if your experiences and losses are not all that common, it may be harder to find someone IRL who's in enough of a similar place to identify with you. But I'm absolutely sure that there bloggers out there who (while not in precisely the same situation) would have a lot of support to offer.

Samantha said...

I'm sorry the support group didn't provide the support you are looking for. It's tough to find yourself the veteran and leader when what you are looking for yourself is some guidance. I hope you'll be able to find some group of people who can help you out, at least in the virtual world.