If you’re based in Northern Ireland, you may be interested in a talk about looking after your emotional well-being on Wednesday August 5 at Portadown. The talk will be given by Cherith Edgar and is organised by the local Infertility Network UK support group there. The meeting begins at 7.30 pm and you can find details here
I’ve just updated the list of clinic open evenings, support groups and events on Fertility Matters, so if you’re trying to decide where to have treatment or want to find out more about what might be on offer at different clinics, do take a look.
It’s really worth going to open evenings at a few clinics if you have a choice locally, as it not only gives you insights into whether a particular clinic might be right for you but can also be a great source of information about fertility problems and treatments. There will usually be staff on hand who you can talk to and who will be able to answer any questions you have. I think you can get quite a good feel for a clinic at an open evening – and that does help if you’re trying to decide which clinic you want to attend.
I know not everyone likes the idea of a support group. I was talking to Natalie at The Fertlity Podcast about this recently as sometimes there is an idea that support groups might be depressing – and having a fertility problem is depressing enough without making things worse – but actually I think they can be surprisingly uplifting. When you get together with others who are going through similar experiences it can be empowering in a way that talking online will never be. The groups I’ve been to have beeb positive and supportive, and often end up in laughter – which isn’t what you might expect. So I’d say, why not give one a try? It might not be what you expect – you can find the list of groups on the Events page!
I was really pleased to hear that the fertility support group at Complete Fertility in Southampton had a successful launch this week, and am looking forward to hearing about the new group in Fulham starting tonight – and the other new groups starting around National Infertility Awareness Week too – there’s the St George’s West London group, the Fertility Circle at London Fertility Centre and the secondary infertility group for those who are already parents too.
Some of the groups I’ve been to in the past have been hugely successful – others have been quieter – and they do seem to go in peaks and troughs. It made me think about the whole idea of support groups, and whether it’s the name that puts some people off? Would you be more likely to go along to something that was a talk on a specific fertility-related topic with the opportunity to chat to others at the same time? Or would a more casual coffee morning type event be more attractive than an actual group?
I think sometimes people imagine support groups being slightly alarming – but in fact they are quite laid back affairs where people have an opportunity to get together with others who are going through similar experiences and to talk about how they’ve been getting on. It’s not the same as talking to friends or family because these are other people who genuinely understand where you’re coming from because they’re in exactly the same place.
I’d be interested in your thoughts though – would you be more willing to go to something that wasn’t called a “support group”? And if so, what sort of event would interest you?
If you’re anywhere near Woking tomorrow – Tuesday 24 September – and want to find out more about sources of support during fertility treatment, come along to the Woking WISH group and find out more. I’m going to be there tomorrow evening. It’s a great support group with a real variety of speakers and is welcome to all – see details here and hope to see you there!