I’ve been attending an infertility support group since last spring and every woman there has kids.
It’s such a contradiction in terms that I’ve decided to leave the group.
Here’s how it started: Last May-ish I was googling IF support groups and found a newly-formed group near me that meets twice a month. I was stoked because the other (legitimate) IF support group “near” me is like 20+ miles away and just… no. I’m not making that drive, not gonna happen. So I started attending this new, closer, unofficial group.
I say ‘unofficial’ because the group isn’t on resolve. It was started by three women who attend the same church and all discovered, simultaneously, last Mother’s Day that they each suffer/suffered from infertility. So they banded together and decided to form a support group.
There’s no format or goal or anything to the group: basically, we just meet at Starbucks or a bar or some random place and hang out. Although guideline-less, I still appreciated the heart behind the women who formed the group. The group is open to the public, but I’ve slowly come to learn that no one else in the public, except me, stuck around very long.
Here’s the problem (aside from the fact that they’re all mamas): the three core group members all knew each other beforehand, whereas I just met them. So right out the gate I’m the outsider, and I’ve sometimes felt like one, too. Of those three women: #1 has adopted two bio siblings and is also currently fostering-to-adopt a third baby; #2 also adopted two bio siblings, then went on to not only have her own baby, but also was a surrogate for her sister and essentially birthed her own niece; and #3 is currently pregnant with her third (bio) baby.
Yeah. It’s like that.
Meanwhile, I’m at group like, “My dog is pretty awesome!” (which, incidentally, he totally is), while they almost constantly talk about their kids. It’s unsettling for me, and lately I’ve been wondering why I even go to group at all. It’s not like there’s much—if any—actual infertility support happening in this infertility “support” group. I usually leave feeling worse and more even infertile than I did when I arrived.
At this point, you’re probably thinking, “Marixsa, no blog post needed: just leave already!” And you’d be correct. The only reason I’ve stayed with the group is because there’s not another group near me. But at this point, I kind of think that no group is better than this group.
It’s not that the ladies are mean or are purposefully overindulging in kid talk in front of me (I hope). They often encourage fostering and/or adopting to me and will listen if I speak up about my struggles. But foster/adopt isn’t something Jake and I feel any proclivity toward. Nor is it a fix.
And I get that: the fact that most of the group has resolved via adoption doesn’t change their struggles with infertility. Adoption didn’t fix or cure their infertility, nor did it take away the pain of their miscarriages, etc. (really, the group should advertise itself as some kind of quasi infertility-post-adoption meeting). However, their void of being non-mamas has now been filled.
But for me, the non-mama void is still ever-present. And I’m trying so hard to move past that void, but moving “past” it is hard. Nor is moving past it linear. The road is fraught with uncertainty—and that, right there, is not only where I need an infertility support group but where I could likewise offer some [fumbled] version of support to another person. Problem is, there’s no one in group for me to offer it to.
Just as I’ve learned to disregard when people aphorize “Never give up!” when referencing infertility, I’m also learning that quitting support might just me the best support I can offer to myself.
Today I sent a text to the group leader telling her a (gentler version) of this post. I feel a bit of loss for leaving, but overall I know it’s for the best.
***UPDATE:**** Right before publishing this post, I checked resolve’s website, aaaand guess what? There is a BRAND NEW infertility support group that meets 10 minutes from my new home! They’re meeting next in two weeks’ time, so please say a prayer for me that this group will be better than ^^. I love when God meets a need and opens a new door.