While training our facilitators for the Mind Body Program for Fertility, Dr Ali Domar, Assoc Prof Harvard, Director of the Domar Center and creator of the Mind Body Program for Fertility highlighted her findings that women dealing with the challenges of infertility had depression and anxiety levels equal to that of cancer patients! Naturally we were shocked by these findings, but having worked with women living with infertility we now know she was right.
Women who come to our program are displaying extreme levels of depression, anxiety and stress. On intake we measure these levels and then again at the end of the program, so we can see the clinical difference our program makes.
We spend a lot of time in our program encouraging women to tell their story. At the beginning of each session there is sharing time. During this time women can tell their history and struggle, listen to others and support those who need it. This is a very special part of the program.
At the beginning some women may not want to share their journey, and that’s totally fine, but we do find as the weeks go on and the trust builds in the group, sharing becomes easier.
During one of the earlier sessions in a recent program, I think it was around Session 3 or 4, I heard one of the participants in my program say as she was leaving – “one of the things I’m loving about this program is that we laugh a lot. I don’t get to laugh much in my life anymore, but I look forward to coming each week, because I know there will be tears, but there will also be laughter, and that I can handle.”
Spending time with others who ‘know’ what you are going through gives permission for not only the bad to come out but also the fun.
We believe that while we can’t necessarily change the grueling tasks of fertility treatment, the bloating, the bruises, the pain, we can ease the emotional suffering. We can provide a space to learn about turning off and looking for what went well today. We can provide a safe environment where every part of infertility can be explored, examined and discussed, without it being overwhelming or taking away your true sense of self.
You can learn to laugh again, you just need others who understand what you are going through to help you.