By Andreia Trigo, Fertility NLP Coach and Nurse Specialist
While most under 18s are living normal lives, going to school, spending time with friends, listening to music and worrying about things that later in life are not that significant, there is a small percentage of children and teenagers having to face the harsh diagnosis of infertility
This may be the case for several reasons such as congenital abnormality, hormonal imbalance or cancer.
All of the above are already hard diagnosis by themselves, when we add an associated infertility to it, the suffering can be unbearable.
Why is coping with infertility so difficult?
At a young age, we are still developing our identity, who we want to be.
We are developing our relationship with ourselves and with others.
We are establishing the standards of what we accept to ourselves.
Feeling we are different and feeling uncertain about our reproductive future when we don’t have a strong identity yet is very challenging. To feel that an option we hadn’t reflected about, or that is not in our immediate plans, has been taken away from us is too difficult to cope with.
How can we help young people going through such challenges?
Family and friends are a great support network. Ways they can help include:
- Supporting and listening
- Being open to talk about it
- Giving reassurance of unconditional love
- Helping keep the child/teenager’s standards high
The clinical team, including doctors, nurses, counsellors, and coaches can help in a different way:
- Supporting and listening to concerns
- Discussing fertility preservation if applicable
- Educating family and the child/teenager about alternative forms of parenthood that might be pursued later in life(fostering, adoption, assisted conception, surrogacy)
- Helping with opening their minds to other ways of experiencing what’s happening
- Strategies to manage emotions
- Process of thought modification
- Identifying values and beliefs that form identity.
Providing this kind of support is crucial to help young people develop the necessary coping mechanisms that allow them to make sense of what’s happening, create perspective, find meaning and go on to live a meaningful life.
Are you a young person who has been diagnosed infertile or are you someone older who knew from a young age you would have problems conceiving? Let us know your story, email firstname.lastname@example.org