Over six combined years, I experienced infertility. Mostly I muddle through by myself. So much of it was not good. Some would label the experience a success because I had children and I understand that way of thinking. But there were other failures along the way that cast a long shadow.
A couple of years ago, I was facing another issue I just couldn’t seem to manage on my own. I shared bits about it with a friend and she suggested I attend a group program for people facing the same issue. I signed up because I trusted her and doing it alone wasn’t working. Again.
One main feature of the program was on-line group meetings when we could listen to each other ask questions that the leader would answer. The format was shockingly simple and immediately effective. Not all questions related to my situation or sometimes I knew how to deal with the situation, which was reassuring. More times I learned because the situation was similar or because even in a different situation, I had the similar (negative) responses and could learn from the answer.
When I was experiencing infertility, it would have saved years of misery to have opportunities like that. How can I deal with my pain when my spouse is ready to just plow ahead? How do I figure out what is the best next step? I want to try again but also need time to heal – how do I know when I’m ready? And the waiting – All. The. Time – I think its making me insane. What can I do?
For some types, joining a group to discuss a difficult topic is a quick yes. For others, the idea is terrifying or something less than an easy choice. The power of groups is how they can remove isolation and provide an opportunity to learn. Curiosity is amazingly powerful and protective. You might think, “What if I am the one [fill in the blank]?” If that or just being open is a little scary, the learning mindset can help keep your vulnerability in check. There is only so much protection you can use to cover your vulnerability until it will work against you. When it comes to learning how to cope, you have much more to gain than lose.
So consider this your official encouragement to consider giving groups a chance.
Many of the speaker programs Hasidah offers are in-line with this group learning model. You have little to lose if anything, but so much to gain. This month Hasidah is hosting Ask the Therapist. You can ask questions in advance or at the program and get answers or just listen in and learn. Every month Hasidah also offers peer meet-ups. It does not have the expert for questions, but with the curiosity mindset, you will learn and connect… and heal.
Whether you attend one of these programs or chose something else, seek to acquire skills that help you, have experiences that inform you, learn questions and answers that can teach you, and gain Jewish wisdom that can guide you. Knowing you are not alone and harnessing the power of connecting with others can lead you towards healing and wholeness. Get some group power!