How many of you once bounced around looking for someone — anyone — with counseling credentials who knew even a smidgen about what you were going through? Someone who actually heard you when you explained your dogged pursuit of parenthood…and now your need for a bit of guidance as you pivot to a life without children? Let’s see a show of hands.
Not surprised in the least. That’s what led one therapist — after her own experience with infertility and, in particular, her difficulty finding help — to add infertility to her specialty.
Listen to Marni’s story (and learn how you can make a difference and expand the body of knowledge on this topic.) In addition to working full-time, Marni is a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice:
“I sought out a number of therapists, all of whom were unable to hear that I was not interested in adopting or using third party reproduction. All thought it was a ‘not interested yet,’ and seemed to be on a mission to convince me that ‘a child is a child.’
“Who knows – maybe clinical training vanishes around this subject; perhaps I had bad luck. In the end, I ended up working through much of my grief and sadness alone, with the support of my husband and whatever reading I could do on the subject.
“I have always admired how “out there” you have been with your struggle, which is incredibly brave and courageous. My dissertation topic is Living Without Children After Infertility. The dissertation topic will attempt to discover how women who sought treatment for infertility, were unsuccessful, and for whom adopting or 3rd party reproduction was not an option (for whatever reason) rebuild their lives after ending treatment. There are shorter term studies about this, most of which include women who have adopted, but nothing longer-term. I am curious to discover how women not only fare over the longer-term, but most importantly, how they get there – what is their process? What helped, what didn’t? Are there any patterns for women who are doing better? Anything that stands out for women who aren’t doing well?
Marni just received IRB approval, and is at the recruitment stage. She needs to interview 10 women who fit the criteria. If you have any interest in helping, you’ve landed at the right blog post. You’ll find more detail below:
You may qualify for a research study examining the long-term process of pursuing parenthood with medical assistance to living without children if you:
• Experienced infertility
• Completed treatment at least 3 years ago (“treatment”, for purposes of this study, is defined as any type of medical intervention to enhance fertility, e.g. using Clomiphene or other ovulatory stimulant, IUI, IVF, etc.)
• Are living without children
• Are between the ages of 35-60 (all women, of any sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, or marital status, are invited to participate).
Participation involves one 1-2 hour interview to be done at your convenience. Participants will receive a $10 gift card to Starbucks and travel expenses. Principal Investigator: Ram Cnaan, Ph.D.
For more information, please email Marni: infertilitystudy1(@)gmail(dot) com. All inquiries are strictly confidential. The study even has a Facebook page: Infertility Study.
I cautioned Marni that getting women to open up on this topic is difficult. That’s when she assured me:
“I completely understand any hesitation to go on record. Since this is a dissertation topic that required Institutional Review Board approval from UPenn, I am held to the highest standard of confidentiality. Please know that all interviews are strictly confidential; no personal information will be known by anyone but me.“
If you personally don’t qualify, you may know someone who does. Would you care to join me in making history?