Couples Therapy for Infertility
Bridgitte Green, Infertility Counseling Specialist
Infertility, Birth Trauma, Miscarriage, and Impact on Relationships
I am passionate about working with individuals and families experiencing:
difficulty becoming pregnant,
pregnancy loss, and
a child's death.
I have personal experiences in this area, and I am aware of the guilt and shame often experienced by individuals when pregnancy doesn't occur as expected.
I became a mother after the premature birth of my son at 26 weeks, adoption, and foster care after experiencing miscarriages. My son is now an adult with Autism; however, I was unprepared for his birth and recovery, which forever changed my life and parenting. Therefore, I understand getting pregnant, completing a pregnancy, and parenting are difficult for everyone involved. I welcome couples and individuals to this safe space to share their stories without fear of judgment as feelings of guilt, loss, and shame are expressed.
Unfortunately, this is an area where shame is often so great infertility may never be shared with others in your support system. Infertility subjects relationships to stress and disappointment as couples navigate treatment, uncertainty, and often unexpected feelings toward successful pregnancy and childbirth. I have the skill and personal knowledge to support clients who experience pregnancy loss, stillbirth, miscarriage, pregnancy, and birth trauma.
I am here to listen and assist as the trauma and anxiety of infertility issues are navigated. Family and friends may be a source of support, but it is often challenging to connect with someone who has not experienced infertility issues. Couples must communicate openly and honestly with each other as they move toward their goal. I use the word “goal” because the dream often changes as the journey is navigated.
Couples Therapy for Infertility
Infertility is a challenging and emotional issue that can have a significant impact on a couple's relationship. Couples may experience feelings of guilt and resentment, communication deficits, an impaired decision-making process, empathetic lapses, power struggles, impact on sexual intimacy, mixed or hidden agendas, feeling “not on the same page,” gender differences with antagonistic coping skills, secret-keeping, and even toxic caretaking. These challenges can be overwhelming, but couples therapy can help.
In couples therapy for infertility, your therapist will create a safe and non-judgmental space for both partners to express their emotions and concerns. Your therapist will also help you identify your goals for treatment and navigate the complex decision-making process.
Couples therapy for infertility can be divided into five stages:
Understanding the Problem Stage:
Understanding you and your partner is the first step in couples therapy for infertility. Your therapist will create a safe and non-judgmental environment to assess your relationship dynamics, communication patterns, coping mechanisms, and individual emotional states. They will use this information to develop a tailored treatment plan that addresses your specific needs and concerns.
Fundamental Skills Stage:
The skills stage involves learning essential coping skills, stress management techniques, and effective communication strategies to help you manage your emotions and communicate with your partner effectively.
In the exploration stage, your therapist will help you and your partner explore your feelings and attitudes about infertility. This includes identifying fears, doubts, and hopes. Your therapist will also help you identify any unhelpful patterns or behaviors that may be contributing to your relationship struggles.
Once you and your partner have a better understanding of your situation, your therapist will work with you to develop a treatment plan that addresses your physical, emotional, and relational needs.
Finally, your therapist will evaluate your progress and make adjustments to the treatment plan as needed. This process helps you identify any lingering emotional or relational issues that may require further attention.
Important Differences to Understand
Men vs. Women
Gender differences can play a role in how individuals cope with infertility struggles. Men may feel pressure to provide for their partner and family, while women may feel a sense of loss or grief over their inability to conceive or carry a child. It is important for your therapist to understand these differences to provide tailored support and guidance.
Heterosexual vs. Same Sex Couples:
Heterosexual and same-sex couples may also face different challenges related to societal expectations and alternative methods of conception. Your therapist who understands these differences can provide tailored support and guidance.
Short-term vs. Long-term Impact:
Infertility struggles can have both short-term and long-term impacts on your relationship. In the short term, the stress of infertility can lead to conflict, communication breakdowns, and emotional distance. In the long term, unresolved emotional or relational issues related to infertility can erode the foundation of your relationship and lead to resentment, anger, or even divorce.
Couples therapy for infertility is a critical tool in managing the emotional and relational challenges that come with infertility. Your therapist can help you and your partner navigate the five stages of therapy and tailor the treatment plan to your unique needs. They can also help you address the emotional and relational challenges of infertility by providing support, guidance, and education.