After one of JJ and I's latest therapy sessions (yes, we go to therapy) our therapist encouraged me to write this post about my experience of going through infertility treatment while both my practitioner and NaPro doctor were pregnant at the same time. Why write about this you ask? Our therapist thinks this will help me transition from practitioner dealing with infertility into practitioner not dealing with infertility yet still seeing the same amount of infertility clients.
I have to say it has been very difficult to tell clients in person (I think this is not ideal) or via email (my preferred method) that I am pregnant. I prefer to let them know in advance via email. Why? Well, because I remember the awkward moment of walking into my scheduled appointment with both my Napro doctor and practitioner and seeing a protruding pregnant belly. Yup, they were pregnant around the same time! I was caught off guard and not prepared by encountering these triggers to a deep pain I was dealing with.
It would be a lot more difficult for the doctor to let her patients know she is pregnant in advance because well how would that work really? I think the only thing the doctor can do is be very sensitive to her patients by not complaining about pregnancy related issues in front of them and ask them how they are doing. It will still be awkward and probably be a trigger for the infertility patient because your blessing is on display right in front of them as they are trying to get treatment to be able to have a blessing of their own.
With my practitioner it was much more awkward since we have an email/text message relationship. Walking into that appt. I was not expecting to see her pregnant but she was showing so it was hard to ignore. So, I smiled and offered my congratulations while inside I just wanted to get out of there. I remember not really wanting to engage in the appointment after that point.
I think it would have been a courtesy to let me know that she was pregnant and showing when an appt. reminder was sent out. Why? So that I could have time to react in an authentic way and prepare for the appointment as there was an obvious trigger there. In doing this the client has time to react to the pregnancy on their own terms and emotionally prepare for the appointment. It gives someone the space to deal with their emotional reaction and not having to just smile through a painful reminder as you stuff down your emotional response.
After both appointments I remember going into our car and crying while JJ and I drove off. I did not blame the doctor nor think that she did not deserve the blessing of that child nor was I bitter; it just hurt so much. With my practitioner I was not bitter or wishing her ill will. I was happy for her but I was sad for me. The pain of my situation in both instances was ever more before my eyes and I was caught off guard by it. Having some kind of warning would have helped me to work through those emotions beforehand. Both my NaPro doctor and practitioner have been very sensitive to our situation and are wonderful women that I admire. This is just an example of how infertility clients can be better served.
If I have learned anything from going through infertility and being a practitioner it is that those dealing with infertility and miscarriage need the space to feel free to grieve. As a practitioner we develop a relationship with our clients even more so than a NaPro doctor does. It is simply because we get to spend more time with the clients than a Napro doctor does.
A lot of times my clients get to a point where they are comfortable sharing the pain that infertility or miscarriage has brought to them and up until this point we had a shared experience. Now that I am transitioning out of infertility they may not feel as comfortable sharing their grief with me and that is ok. I would openly welcome them to share their pain but I know just seeing a pregnant belly would already put up a wall and can make you want to crawl into a hole and sleep for a long long time.
I am going to miss supporting them in this unique way of having a shared experience. I am still there to walk with them on this journey but in a different way now. Hopefully as a source of hope and an intercessor on their behalf. I can help them walk their journey and find peace with whatever God's will is for their life. I can encourage them to persevere in seeking God's will no matter where it takes them and to grow in virtue along the way. That is my role now. Oh yeah and teaching them about their fertility ;)