Guest Blog by Lindsay Agne, founder of Full Circle.
There has been alot of talk about VULNERABILITY lately. Brene Brown and her TED talk brought a spot light to that word and it spread like wildfire. SHAME is another biggie. Why is there such a stigma around infertility? IS it that despite the numbers showing that 35% of infertility is male related, 35% unexplained and 30% female related, it is still thought of as mostly a women’s problem? Why can’t we tell our families, our co-workers our friends we have known since grade school? Why do too few women and men utilize infertility support groups? Because there is no pink ribbon for the broken uterus. There is no national banding together, three day walk to raise money, sweatshirts, hats, water bottles or commercials of women smiling and holding hands.
Infertility is silent. And with that silence comes so much suffering. We are taught not to tell anyone of a pregnancy until at least 12 weeks just in case we lose it. We allow ourselves approximately ten minutes of rejoicing before we rein it in and focus on worrying about/goggling every side cramp and hiccup. We do this mostly by ourselves so that we don’t have to make anyone feel badly for asking, if we do have a miscarriage. WHAT? Didn’t you just experience a horrible loss? Shouldn’t people, all people, be compassionate about that? Shouldn’t people be able to look you in the eye and say, “I am so sorry”? Every woman who has walked into my office has been weighed down by carrying the responsibility for “the infertility”, whether anyone expressly told them to or not.
Women come in twisted in knots. They are holding everything in so tightly you could bounce a quarter off their backs. We work on off- loading. We work on letting go. We work on unclenching fists and breathing, which is hard to do when your heart is in your throat! Slowly.. they begin to tell people. One person at a time and the person often whispers…”me too”. Lasting connections are forged. Vulnerability means letting yourself be truly seen by another. It means being brave when you least want to be.
Allow yourself a day where you just stay in bed with the curtains closed and then GET UP. Call a friend, make a date for tea or a walk. Do yoga. Seriously, do not worry about the fact that you do not have the most recent Lulu Lemon top! Get in that yoga studio with other people and begin to thaw. Allow someone into the deep, dark, corners of your grief. You will see you are not alone.
Lindsay Agne, LICSW, developed Full Circle after working as a social worker for many years in the fields of surrogacy, infertility and medical social work. Lindsay spent five years at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston as a medical social worker and covered OBGYN units as well as post -partum and NICU support. Lindsay also worked for six years for Circle Surrogacy, a full service surrogacy and egg donation program in Boston. Full Circle began as a way for Lindsay to begin to help people on an individual basis. Lindsay listens to each individual story and develops an action plan to begin to address many of the issues right away. Lindsay uses a systemic approach to therapy that involves: talk therapy, coaching, nutritional assessment, and exercise evaluation as well as referrals to psychiatrists, acupuncturists and new mother groups.