infertility counseling

Does Your Path To Parenthood Have Some Bumps In The Road? 

Has your journey to parenthood been more painful and difficult than you imagined? Are the intense ups and downs of trying to conceive beginning to weigh on you? Or are you struggling with big questions as you consider adoption or foster care?

Perhaps you are dealing with issues of infertility. Maybe you’ve been trying to conceive with your partner or with the help of a sperm donor but have experienced setbacks in achieving a viable pregnancy. If this is the case, you may be struggling with guilt or shame that you are doing something wrong that has prevented you from becoming pregnant. 

Or it could be that you became pregnant at one point but suffered a miscarriage. While common, the loss of a pregnancy is incredibly devastating, and you’re likely struggling with a sense of profound grief as you navigate life moving forward. 

Alternatively, you may have given up on trying to conceive or have decided with your partner that adoption or foster care makes the most sense for your family. If so, you may be juggling some very big questions and wondering what considerations to make when it comes to adopting a child into your family. 

Regardless of which obstacles you’ve encountered on your journey to becoming a parent, this process can be a sad and isolating one. It may feel as though all of the women around you have conceived with relative ease or that no one could understand the stressors involved with the foster care and adoption processes. You may find yourself constantly comparing your journey to others, lamenting how much pain—both physical and emotional—you have endured for even the slightest promise of a child to call your own. 

I’ve been on this journey myself, so I know that what you’re going through is not easy. Yet infertility and adoption counseling offers you a safe space to explore the many feelings, experiences, and questions that come up as you embark on your unique path to parenthood. 

Infertility And Pregnancy Loss Are Extremely Common But Rarely Discussed

When it comes to infertility and pregnancy loss, there remains an unfortunate stigma that keeps women from opening up about their experiences. And due to such truths being hidden, infertility and miscarriages are actually much more common than we think. 

In fact, the CDC estimates that 12 percent of women (of childbearing age) have experienced “difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term.” This number signals that many women not only feel the guilt or shame associated with not being able to conceive but have likely suffered a miscarriage as well—adding grief to the long list of emotional struggles involved with issues of infertility. 

Despite how common these issues are, however, our culture lacks a certain sensitivity or vocabulary around them. Many people don’t know how to discuss such issues and as a result, many comments end up coming off as cold or uncaring. Well-meaning questions—such as “Why don’t you just try IVF?” or “Have you considered adoption?”—don’t necessarily honor where each individual woman is on her journey. Furthermore, many obstacles, including financial burdens and social stigma, create challenges for parents pursuing infertility treatments or adoption/foster care. 

The truth is that there are many misconceptions when it comes to issues of infertility, miscarriage, and adoption/foster care. And as unique women, each of us internalizes these misconceptions in different ways. 

In counseling, however, you can learn how to verbalize your experience, express your needs, and chart a new path forward regarding infertility, pregnancy loss, or adoption. 

Counseling Can Instill You With Hope Amidst The Infertility Struggle  

Between the roller coaster of hope, loss, pain, and all the unknowns associated with charting your own path to parenthood, it’s important to have a space that belongs to you—and you alone—to help you navigate your intense emotional experiences. I have had my own struggles in the areas of infertility, adoption, and foster care, so I understand the value of counseling. Of course, no one story is the same as another, but I do know that you deserve time and space to release all that you are carrying. 

Moving at your pace and with a therapeutic plan that is designed specifically to meet your needs, we will begin the process with a general intake and assessment of your goals for counseling. We are likely to explore such questions as: When did you know you wanted to become a parent? What attachment styles did you experience in your home as you were growing up? What does your support system look like? and How have you grieved in the past? 

Based on your answers, we will use Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help you problem-solve and learn skills to change distorted thinking and behavioral patterns. In addition, we will utilize Attachment-Focused Therapy to help you identify relationship patterns and create secure, sustainable attachments. Finally, trauma-informed talk therapy will be helpful—especially for clients considering foster care and adoption—in allowing you to understand the impact that trauma has on a child’s brain. 

Depending on your needs and the approach we take, we can work together in therapy to build your coping skill sets and emotional resilience. Because there is often so much shame associated with these issues, especially when it comes to infertility, counseling can play a big role in helping you to develop strategies that will shift your mindset from being self-critical to self-accepting. And for clients in the middle of fertility treatment, these strategies can be particularly useful in cultivating a positive outlook and overcoming the physical demands associated with the treatment process. 

Regardless of what your path to parenting may be, counseling will always focus on increasing an affirming sense of self, self-worth, and a sense of hopefulness for what can be—and not just what is. Moving forward after disappointment and loss is possible, even if the outcome is different than what you had originally envisioned. But just because your plans have shifted, it does not mean that you should give up on your dream of becoming a parent. 

Your future is yours to reimagine, and I am here to help you look ahead with hope. 

Perhaps you’re considering counseling for infertility, pregnancy loss, or adoption/foster care, but you still have questions…

What good will it do to attend counseling for infertility? I just need to accept it and move on. 

Grieving the loss of not being able to carry out the pregnancy of a child is an important event to process, and the pain associated with that loss won’t just go away over time. Counseling can help you to voice your pain and begin the process of healing. And by talking to a caring therapist, you are given an opportunity to feel seen and heard in your experience while being offered strategies for re-imagining the future in a positive way.

How is talking about my miscarriage going to make this grief any less painful?

It’s likely that the loss(es) you’ve experienced have caused you a great deal of emotional distress. Therapy can help you to unpack any feelings of guilt or shame and give you a chance to work toward rebuilding a positive sense of self. 

How can I benefit from therapy if I’m considering adoption or foster care as a parent?

There is likely a long-held narrative attached to your decision to adopt or foster a child. The importance of your adopted or fostered child knowing their story holds just as much weight. Therapy can give you a chance to start imagining what that narrative might look like and express how you are feeling about the process every step of the way. 

Learn To Look Ahead On Your Parenting Journey With Optimism 

If you’re struggling to become a parent and need support with infertility, pregnancy loss, or the adoption/foster care process, counseling can offer you hope and skills for coping. I’d love to help, so please email me or call (858) 342-2646 to schedule a free, 15-minute consultation.

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