She sits in my office and cries, she says the words that I am so used to hearing from my patients: “Everyone else is getting pregnant, I am the only one that is not able to get pregnant. Why is this happening to me? What have I done to deserve this? What have I done wrong?”
These questions are perfectly normal for patients that are struggling with childlessness, as they think that they are the “only one” that is suffering from this.
When we feel that we are the only one we feel really lonely!
For the last four years I have held different therapy groups. These groups of six women, whom do not know each other, meet each other every other Monday to talk about how their childlessness affects their lives. I have seen these women change from lonely and frustrated women into less lonely and much happier women, they have done this by sharing their thoughts and feelings with others in the same situation. Suddenly they understand that other women, like themselves, have the same emotional reactions to childlessness.
We are used to being a part of a group during the whole of our life and ever since we were small children. We are a part of a group in kindergarten, in school, at our work, in our neighbourhood, in our family and with our friends.
Many of my patients feel lonely because they feel that they are not part of a group that they expected themselves to be a part of; the parent group!
The group of people that follow their children to kindergarten every day, the group of people that meet at the weekends to have fun together with their children, the group of people who talk constantly about their children.
The childless woman feels the ‘need’ to join this group of parents!
We all have the need to feel “normal”, we feel normal if we do the same that other people, in the same age group as ourselves, are doing. We feel normal if we feel what other people are feeling!
If we struggle in life we search for others that have experienced the same struggle so that this will help to make us feel “normal” and less lonely.
If someone close to us struggles we tell them stories about ourselves, or others, that have experienced almost the same so that the one close to us will feel “normal” and less lonely.
The need to be part of a group, the need to feel normal and the need of feeling less lonely is a big motivation through fertility treatment, a child can help us out of an abnormal situation!
The patient looks at me again and says:
I look at her and say:
It is not only you! You are a part of a big group of people that suffer from childlessness, but what is great is that you actually have the possibility to choose treatment and enter the group you want to be a part of; the parent group, let us talk about that!