Guest Blog by Diana Palmentiero and Lenore Pranzo, co-founders of Fertility Wellness Group. Their on-line fertility enhancing workshops help empower women to write about their own fertility struggles which will eventually lead to positive endings.
Why write about your fertility story
Recently Fertility Wellness Group had an epiphany. We decided to change the format from leading support groups for women who were having fertility issues to helping women write their fertility stories. We would still be there every step of the way supporting women as they blogged/journaled/chronicled their fertility journey. The focus, however, would be on getting everyone’s individual story out in a nurturing environment.
Shortly after our epiphany, we began blogging about our own fertility journeys, albeit, after the journeys had ended. We wanted to inspire women to realize that they are going on these journeys for a reason. What that reason is may not be known at the present time. We also wanted to give them hope that their journeys would lead to positive endings, even though it did not seem like it now.
As we sit and write our blogs, we often say “We wish we had been able to do this when we were going through the ups and downs of infertility.” Even though it is 6 years later, the process is still cathartic. There are still emotions that we have not dealt with completely that are being cleansed as we write about them. “The anger of another miscarriage.” “Another month and still no positive line on the stick.” As these words are being typed, the emotions are being put to rest for us. Blogging about our journeys has made us realize that we have gone through a difficult, dark period in our lives and came out of it, better and stronger women. Every woman will come out of it, in one way or another. The idea is to build the strength along the way and realize that you are a stronger person because of it.
The one thing we do not have, that we now wish we did, is an actual blog or journal to remind us of what we went through, how we felt, the changes we were going through, etc. as we were going through the process. It might be interesting for our children to read about it later on. We went through a lot so hopefully they realize what special children they are. And now, how grateful we are that they are part of our lives.
This concept is based on a therapeutic intervention called Narrative Therapy (created by Michael White and David Epson). Narrative Therapy helps people look at their overwhelming problem, external to themselves. This makes the problem the problem, not the person. We believe that once “infertility” is thought of outside of a person then they can create a story that they have more control over. This would:
- Allow “infertility” to seem less overwhelming and more manageable
- Give the individual a way to see patterns
- Allow it to be looked at from many angles and the problem solving process can happen
- Increase the effectiveness of a support group
- Give the individual the choice of how they would evoke their story (words, photos, drawings, or other means)
- Result in something to continue to analyze and learn from
- Help create a new game plan
- Be something to be shared now or many years from now
The thoughts and feelings that occur when trying to start or expand a family, when it doesn’t happen easily, are vast. Even if we are successful in all areas of our lives, we still believe we are a failure when we cannot do this one thing that is inherent of all women. Another “failed” cycle. Ugh! Our hope is that all of our workshop attendees can turn this thinking around over the 5 weeks, one layer at a time. Ultimately, resulting in a story that one is happy to have created and shared.