By Helen Adrienne, LCSW, BCD
Published in Resolve for the future and beyond, Summer 2012
Let’s get one thing straight right away: It is normal to feel intimidated in any doctor’s office, and it is normal for your IQ to drop to zero when creating the next generation becomes an ordeal.
That being said, how do you maximize the opportunity to minimize your stress with good self-advocacy? How can you best facilitate a dialogue with your doctor so that the complications that go with treatment get clarified so you can make informed decisions?
It will help if you can organize your thoughts according to these questions:
A skilled reproductive endocrinologist (RE) with a glorious reputation may not be a good match for you in the same way that you may not have enjoyed a teacher that everyone else thought was fabulous.
Therefore you need to scrutinize if the doctor that you have chosen is right for you. Ask yourself:
It is important to honor yourself with a choice of a doctor with whom you feel a connection. Unfortunately, there may be practical considerations beyond your control (such as insurance, location, etc.). Where choice is limited, accepting what is possible becomes your job.
It is just as important to know what happens to you when you are under duress. Infertility is capable of knocking Godzilla for a loop. No matter how empowered you feel in the world, it is common to feel at a loss with the thwarting of this goal.
Anyone’s IQ is apt to disappear if they view their doctor as an “M Deity” instead of an MD. Doctors are authorities in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). You are the authority on you. Think of this as an equal partnership. Consider these details:
Of the many infertility situations that require self-advocacy, how to get your needs met with your doctor is an unavoidable prerequisite for traversing the universe of ART. Once you scrutinize your doctor and yourself, you can utilize these practical considerations:
I have seen many women develop a stunning capacity to understand the jargon of this hi-tech science. Have faith in your capacities to rise to the occasion. You could get to surprise yourself.
It is hard to believe that you are in this situation, never mind that you have to become a scientist when everyone else barely needs to know one body part from another. One of the most challenging aspects of dealing with infertility is the need to be your own best advocate when what you most feel like doing is crawling in a hole, hoping that a magical force will replace this unwanted reality with the idyllic one of your dreams.
Understandably you are in a hurry to resolve this nightmare. Lily Tomlin is famous for saying, “For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.”
Helen Adrienne, LCSW, BCD, has been in private practice since 1979. She enjoys forming therapeutic alliances with women, men and couples who are struggling with a mental, physical or circumstantial log-jam. Helen is an expert in the issue of infertility. She runs mind/body stress-reduction groups for infertility at NYU Fertility Center. Her recent book is On Fertile Ground: Healing Infertility. Helen has authored many articles for the infertility patient which can be found on her web site, http://www.mind-body-unity.com/. She is also a blogger for Psychology Today at www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fertile-ground