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What do you do when no one understands your fertility challenges (or other health conditions)?

27/11/2012

I thought it was just meOne of the many books next to my bed at the moment is Brene Brown‘s I thought it was just me (but it isn’t): telling the truth about perfectionism, inadequacy and power.

It’s a summary of  ideas that Brene found through a series of interviews with a large cohort of women focusing on what causes shame and how to be resilient to it.  When pregnancies don’t happen easily or don’t go to plan many men and women experience shame. As an acupuncturist with a strong interest in fertility and pregnancy support, I hear about this phenomenon from my patients on a regular basis.  I hear about their reactions to the plethora of unsolicited advice that is freely given by friends, family and total strangers. The advice often only makes them feel worse.

Fertility is not the only area where this unsolicited advice flows freely.  A friend of mine experienced the same thing with a skin condition she had on her face.  People with cancer and autoimmune diseases are often subjected with horror stories about their disease from people who ‘mean well’.  Anyone with a mental health condition could probably relate to similar experiences.  If it isn’t a horror story being shared, it is often a controversial drug protocol from a current affairs program or their cousin’s hairdresser’s pool cleaner’s nail technician’s home remedy.

A link to www.infertilityeducation.org is given in the chapter on speaking shame.  It includes a brochure titled what infertility feels like which was created for people with fertility challenges to give to friends and family to better express how they feel about their situation in the hope of creating more supportive relationships through open communication.  This idea could be applied to any situation in which you feel misunderstood.  It doesn’t have to be that you give the physical brochure out but just reading the content could give you some inspiration to structure your ideas to better communicate with the well wishers around you.  After all, most of them do want to help, they just don’t know how.  On the flip side, this sentiment also helps us to develop compassion in our relationships with the other people around us who are also facing life’s challenges, and that can only be a good thing.

For further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health at her Broadbeach clinic and is the Chinese Medicine Senior Lecturer at the Endeavour College of Natural Health Gold Coast campus.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. 28/11/2012 5:39 am

    I love Brene Brown’s work – and love this post! x

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