Tuesday, November 16, 2010

If you go to see a counselor (who is maybe 60ish and definitely not pregnant, haha) about dealing with infertility, she might ask you if you've tried natural progesterone cream.


She honestly did say that, and I had to shake my head and appear very honestly interested in her advice.

All in all, my session was generally good, but nothing earth shattering as I hoped it would be. Don't counselors have the "how to" manual on living well with infertility? What, one doesn't exist? Is it because "living well" stands obnoxiously in stark contrast to "infertility"?

We talked about how I feel abandoned by my friends, especially since I'd felt so close to them in school. We talked about how sometimes it feels like I'm not good enough for God to give me a baby, even though I know that isn't true. We talked about how my childhood was, and the fact that I've never felt inferior until my friends started being wildly prolific while in the meantime the only thing I can make is an apple crisp. We talked about how Mr. A is great.

She told me that I should not feel bad that I feel sad about being childless. She told me I should any time I feel attacked by infertility, I should take a moment and meditate, picturing myself in a warm safe place where I feel beautiful and happy (Labor and Delivery suite? Oh wait, ....) She told me I should email my friend who left me out of her pregnancy announcement and tell her that I was very hurt she hasn't told me, but that I am very happy for her.

I have never been to a counselor before, so I think I expected too much. I expected me to say "I feel left behind" or "I feel inadequate" or "I feel less worthy than people with kids" and she would give me things I could do or think to (I guess) fill my thoughts and life with other things so I wouldn't have the space or time to consider our three empty bedrooms. (She did give me a couple concrete suggestions, but I think I had the bar too high.) Or maybe that isn't the point of counseling, to fill your life with good things so you don't have time to deal with the bad things. Maybe the point is really to just talk about the bad things enough so that you become so comfortable with them that they're not so bad anymore.

Hey, maybe I just gave myself a breakthrough.

I should write myself a check for $120.

I made an appointment for next week, but I am not sure I will keep it. This is more expensive than acupuncture, and I'm not sure I will perceive it as helping as much. On the other hand, I am feeling really great right now, so maybe it helped more subconsciously than I'm aware of.

The one thing that she did say that perked up my ears is when she was reviewing all of the blessings I recounted for her. She said "you have a husband who loves you, two great dogs who depend on you...." I never thought of my dogs depending on me, even though I guess they do. I know people who humanize their dogs can be a little wacky, but if I remind myself that they depend on me, maybe that will help me feel a little less useless, in the realm of not "mothering" anyone/thing.

Long story short, I think every infertile should try counseling once. It would be amazing if you could find someone with infertility experience, but even if yours hasn't struggled with it, you still might be able to come away from the session with a couple foods for thought. I'm glad I went today :)


Adam and Julia said...

I am glad it went okay for you. I went to a counselor this time last year for infertility and life. She had "been through" infertility, but not really. I felt like I was telling her what she wanted to hear and not really getting much from her. I hope your shrink is better than mine was. I quit seeing mine after about 2 months. Good Luck!

the misfit said...

I think you're right. I am really bad about getting the logistical parts of these things underway, but I sure wouldn't mind seeing a counselor once - especially one who had dealt with infertility. I could go to the counseling service at work, but - I'm afraid they'd just recommend sensitivity training for my coworkers. That's not really what I'm looking for.

(I think it's interesting what she said about emailing your friend, though. MY reaction would be to put her in the "bad friend" box and LOCK IT FOREVER. Last week, my spiritual director told me that I plan for people to fail me - I sometimes schedule their failures down to the month [and I have been right] because I can't deal with being vulnerable enough to let them hurt me. So I shut them out before they can. While that's a brilliant point, I don't think his suggestion that I stop is very helpful. I know they're going to hurt me, and infertility is hurtful enough. Why let them make it harder? Anyway, my point is, she and he are on the same page: she thinks you should put yourself out there in a way that indicates an expectation that the friend will be a GOOD friend. I think all fertile friends are BAD friends in potentiae - but there's probably a reason that she's a counselor and I'm not!)

lowfatlady said...

Sorry it wasn't all you hoped it to be. Maybe it would have been better if she was experienced or knew more about infertility.

Hillary said...

I think you should make an appointment with a different counselor, if possible. I have heard it's important to "click," and it doesn't really sound like that here. I'm sorry it wasn't what you had hoped! :(

Trisha said...

I'm glad it went ok for you! I think you hit it when you talked about talking to someone who has BTDT. We've talked about that with adoption agencies and social workers, if you haven't been in this situation, you don't know how it feels to just wait. Anyways, maybe that's what we need to do! Are you going to email your friend? I don't know if I could do it or not. Interesting though. Hope you continue to have good days and know that I'm praying!

Coco said...

I'm super glad it went well...and that she wasn't pregnant. With my luck, I'll still be TTC at 60. :) And I think maybe look for a different counselor who really gets it from the start. Yeah, counseling feels slow... sometimes you feel like you aren't making progress. It's just that you slowly feel better. They don't give you magic thoughts and stuff, the point is to help you get to your own unique answer, not to have perfect answers ready for you. But it is a bit liberating to be able to "let the uglies out" and feel validated. Still... I don't know if it's worth it to pay for it out of pocket or not... tough call. Maybe a once a month session just to vent? Haha. Schedule for the day you have to POAS every month, that should make for a lively session. :)

hollytraveling said...

I'm glad you got something from it, even if it's not what you'd expected. I've toyed with counseling but I'm really not sure about it. I think it would be better with someone with some experience like you said.

Jessica said...

I felt the same way after I went to see a counselor. I only went twice and then decided it wasn't helping. I think there is a major need for infertility counselors!!

Lisa said...

I'm glad you went and had a semi-productive time at least!

Leah said...

I found the best counselor who had also suffered from infertility. Going to her was life changing for me. I guess I was lucky that I found such a great one. Sometimes you have to look around a bit, but so worth it. :)

Leah said...

I found the best counselor who had also suffered from infertility. Going to her was life changing for me. I guess I was lucky that I found such a great one. Sometimes you have to look around a bit, but so worth it. :)

When I look at my infertility and my "ah ha" moment, it was definitely sitting on the couch of my therapist.