Monday, January 19, 2009

Counseling #2

Today was my 2nd counseling appt and quite frankly, I’m at a loss for words. The first thing she said to me was that she tried to find some literature on infertility but couldn't find any. The lady is very nice and totally empathetic, but our session was no different than sitting down with a friend having a good chat. I detailed several aspects of my struggle. I did most of the talking as I waited for something profound in return that could help me get through this trial. Nothing, nada.

When I saw there was 10 mins left, I held back, giving plenty of room to give me advice or some coping strategies, but nothing. I then asked specifically if she had any advice to help me get through and it was basically just take care of myself and try to make a decision on what to do next. I burst into tears as I felt so unhelpable. She asked me when I wanted to come back and I said, I get the sense that you really don’t know how to help me. I can’t even remember what her response was, I was too busy trying to hide my tears from all the people in the waiting room. It was pity party in the Grand Am all the way home.

Maybe I don’t understand how counseling works and had unrealistic expectations. Maybe I really do need someone who deals with infertility. My husband thinks that I’m stronger than I realize and cope well considering the cards I’ve been dealt, but he is also surprised that she hasn't nailed down a couple of focus areas to work with me on. Maybe this is right where God wants me, where He's the only thing left to reach for.

Well, my chin is up and I’m moving forward. I’ve made progress on getting more exercise, eating better, getting out of the house and spending time with God. It is helping, but there are still days where I’m absent of all those. So for now I’ll keep striving towards that and take one day at a time. Thanks for listening!


  1. I am so sorry that you were upset today. This whole process is just NOT fun and so unfair. That is how I felt when I went to counseling this summer. After four sessions (two hour round trip each time) and $$ spent, I quit going. Although the counselor was extrememly nice, she just didn't have anything to offer me, and she specialized in IF and family issues!!

  2. Hey Jill,

    I am sorry that the counseling appointment didn't sound that helpful. Don't think that it is because you are unable to be helped. It is just that you are going through an ultra hard time.

    Infertility is such a complex and difficult thing to manage. It effects us physically, psychologically, financially, emotionally, and socially. There are no magic answers. Sometimes it is best just to focus on improving one little thing at a time (like exercise or prayer) and don't expect too much of yourself. Just try to get through.

    Good on you for getting out of the house and doing more exercise this week. That is great. And blogging is a good outlet too.

    We're here for you, so hang in there!

  3. Jill,

    Don't be so hard on yourself. I wouldn't get too discouraged about the appointment. Even though she doesn't specifically have any insight on infertility...the process of healing and coping is the same mechanism as far as grieving, mourning, healing, etc....Some people have to go to counseling for many many years to work thru their issues...just remember that. I would stick with it for a few months and see where you are at that point. I know that when I first went to counseling I expected a miracle or something drastic right away, but it really is a sloooowwww process.

    Hang in there! I'm SO proud of you for the steps your making as far as getting out, eating better, etc.

    love you!

  4. Jill,

    I'm sorry you're having a rough time. I have had no experience with counseling, so I really wouldn't know what to expect either. But know that you are a strong person. You are attempting to seek help, and you're trying to help yourself. That is a huge step in itself.

    Infertility is a huge life crisis, and it's a very difficult thing to cope with. You're doing what you can for yourself, and that is great.

    Take care.

  5. WTF? Excuse my language but how could anyone NOT find anything on infertility when doing research? hello? Google it!
    I'm sorry she was so unhelpful. It's not you, it's her. Totally frustrating.

    But I'm glad to see you're taking care of yourself...exercise, eating well, fresh's all a little helpful. And sometimes all we can grab onto are small moments of peace.
    Big hugs.

  6. I agree with DAVs! I think she could have found information if she was looking. From my experience, you have to look around and maybe try a few out to find one that you are comfortable with. I think there is a particular "style" of therapy where they don't point you in any direction but are just supposed to sit there and listen to you and look sympathetic. It sounds annoying to me. I think I'd be like "what do you think?" and "what does the silence mean?" and "oh, she nodded her head, was that in sympathy or did I say something profound that I should consider?". I think I'd drive myself nuts.

    Sorry it didn't go that great. Hopefully it gets better or you find someone better. In the meantime, you do sound like you are taking decent care of yourself and I'm glad you got out to get some fresh air (and vitamin D!).

  7. Jill, I'm sorry to hear about your nightmare counselling session. I'd have been upset too. She cd have at least shown some interest by doing a bit of research - stuff on infertility is all over the place. I know people who tried two or three therapists before they were happy and comfortable. Could you try someone else? I once stopped going to a therapist in the UK when I felt like she was looking forward to my sessions as if they were a soap opera (at that time, it wasn't about infertility for me).....

  8. Jill,

    I had a very poor experience with the first person I sought counselling with and she supposidly specialized in IF. Every other sentence out of her mouth when I was trying to pour my heart out to her began with "Studies show that...". I felt that I could never fully open up and discuss the real issues that were bothering me b/c all she would do was quote stats at me. After that, I tried a mind/body fertility program and the counsellor that ran that program was a little better but she was a little strange sometimes. She was definitely better than the first but sometimes she would go down a train of thought that didn't feel like it was the issue and not let go of it. My 3rd counsellor, is the one that I really like as she really gets it. I found her through the mind/body program that I mentioned and for the first time, I felt that someone understood and could give me some ways to cope. Even the validation alone she gave me helped immensely.

    I know you have probably looked around already and I'm sorry if I am repeating steps you have already tried, but there are a list of IF therapists listed on the AFA site ( and they list Deb Levy in Lone Tree and she is at CCRM. Perhaps she would be willing to do a phone session with you or recommend someone in your area.

    When therapy works, it really is comforting to work through those issues with someone else who understands. That being said, trying to force yourself to go to a session that you don't find helpful adds stress you don't need.

    Maybe you could request that the student who sat in on your first session attend all of your sessions as she may be able to guide your discussions better?

  9. Jill
    I know that our local clinic (NFC)has a therapist that they recommend, I wasnt aware of this therapist until recently, it says her area of interest is grief and depression but I would hope being affiliate with NFC she would know something about IF, try giving them a call. I hope this helps.
    I have been seeing a therapist that deals with bereavement but I find that our conversations are also laced with IF and she isnt too sure how to handle it either, but she is definately trying to understand and help me.

  10. Oh Jill! I'm so sorry your 2nd appt was a big disappointment. I can't believe she couldn't find any info on infertility!

    The thing with counsellors they do let you do most of the talking and that is supposed to be the healing part of it, but they usually do point out things when you are talking to make you say, "oh yeah, i didnt think of it like that" or see it that way etc It's still quite early being only your 2nd session, so I really hope your sessions become more of what you need or you find one that can provide you with what you need!

    I agree with your dh too - you are stronger than you give yourself credit for!

    Take care,

  11. In vancouver at the childrens hospital they have grievence counsellors. Most peopele with fertility issues and miscarriages etc. go see one of these counsellors. Regular counsellors dont "get" it. Maybe they have some of these at your local hospital or a social worker there can connect you with one. I'm so sorry that you had to waste your time with a useless counsellor :( good luck with your search and please dont give up. if you no you ned help and keep trying to find it, eventurally you will

  12. I'm so sorry for the huge disappointment, Jill. I had to leave my first "IF" therapist because she rarely said anything and often just sighed and said Awwww alot while I cried. When I looked for a new one, I must have called and spoken to at least 10 asking all of them what their experience with IF was and what their therapy "method" was. It led me to someone else who is so much better suited for my needs. IF is such a tricky beast and we really need someone who "gets it". I hope you are able to find one who better suits your needs. They really can be helpful!

    Many hugs to you. I'm sorry this all has to be so hard.

  13. {{{BIG HUG}}} I'm sorry that this counseling session wasn't what you had hoped for. I've never been to counseling before, but I feel that there aren't any in my area at least, that is truly knows what suffering from infertility is like. I just don't feel that there are any counselors that REALLY get it, unless they've been through it. Please continue to take care of yourself. That's all we can do right now.

  14. I am so sorry about your session on Monday. I thought after the first one that maybe you had found someone who could help. But now I feel like you need to run fast in the other direction and try to locate someone else. This too is hard because I know you feel like you have already bared your soul to one person so do you really have the strength to go through that again. The answer is yes, you are one of the strongest people I know and as always before I am right here on this roller coaster with you. I love you and I really believe with the right person they can help you sort through all the emotions and feelings you are struggling with. I don't know where I would be emotionally right now if I had not had a good counselor 20 years ago. I still have days that the anger rises up because of what was done to me and the girls, but he did help me with ways to make that anger more constructive. That is really their job, not to tell you how to feel better or hand you a solution but to help you work through what you feel you need to deal with. Of course it's also their job to interact with you, not just sit there a be a bobble head either. LOL I know the last time we spoke you were having trouble dealing with the anger and I don't blame you. But as we both know until you can get past that or use it in a different way, it will be hard for you to decide when and how you want to proceed.
    I am always here for you and Kerry and support you in every way.

    Take care

    Love ya

  15. Hey Jill,
    I can totally relate to your counseling experience... There's nothing worse than expecting some kind of answers, help, protocol, instructions (whether it's an MD or a counselor, psychologist, etc.) and end up feeling like you got NOTHING!!! I do agree with you~ in that when you have nothing else, God is still there and still ready and waiting for you to rely solely on Him. I know that's hard for me to do sometimes... And it's really nice when you can get a person-- like someone in the flesh-- to provide you with some direction, support, answers!!!
    As the others have said, maybe you check for a different person to see, maybe you give her another shot... Just know that whatever you decide, you're taking positive steps to move forward and stay healthy--mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally. It all takes time.
    Sending you big hugs and prayers. Enjoy your weekend, too!
    The Other Jill


Thank you for your comment! Hugs, Kerry and Jill