One in eight couples (6.7 million) struggle with infertility. Although this feels like a high number, infertility can feel isolating and shameful. Infertility carries with it the same psychological or implications as a cancer diagnosis, HIV diagnosis or chronic illness diagnosis. But it’s taboo to talk about, so many women suffer silently.
Podcast guest, Cathie Quillet, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Published Author, & Speaker who specializes in infertility and pregnancy loss, along with the treatment of those in the seasons of pregnancy, postpartum and adoption. She is also the host of the Thrive (In)Fertility Podcast.
In this episode, Cathie shares her story of having a series of miscarriages and gynecological conditions that required her to have a hysterectomy at 32 years old. She shares how she coped during the time and after healing, how she wanted to help others with infertility.
Cathie discusses the trauma of infertility – emotionally, psychologically, and physically. She describes its effects on relationships, the medical costs associated with fertility treatments, the impact on self-worth. Cathie leaves us with advice on what to say, and not say when someone you know is living through infertility.
- In brain scans of people that have infertility, their brains light up like they have post-traumatic stress disorder, but the world misunderstands and says, “just relax”.
- Reproductive trauma was coined by Janet Jaffe and Martha Ourieff Diamond. There are repeated events you experience that impede this feeling of safety that you once had over your life. Repeated events like every day one of your cycle, every time your pregnancy ends (again) or every time you get another diagnosis.
- The divorce rate inside of infertility is twice as high as the national average and it breaks relationships. There’s an apathy around sex, the carrying partner is doing a lot of work, the financial stress, and different conflict styles.
- One third of infertility diagnosis is female factor, 1/3 is male factor, the other 1/3 is unknown/unexplained.
- Cathie sees a lot of self-blaming more than partner blaming or shaming.
- If someone struggles with infertility or pregnancy loss then conceives, postpartum depression and anxiety can be heightened after delivery.
- Listening to someone who is living through infertility is important. You can say, “I don’t know much about it. Can you tell me what that’s like for you?” Then, listen and be there for them.
- Instead of asking someone, “do you have kids?”, ask what they like to do on the weekend or ask, “can you tell me about your family?”
Books: Not Pregnant: A Companion for the Emotional Journey of Infertility, No Matter What Happens, Thrive Through Infertility and the Peace (In)Fertility Workbook.
Cathie Quillet is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Published Author, Public Speaker & barren Mom who specializes in infertility and pregnancy loss, along with the treatment of those in the seasons of pregnancy, postpartum and adoption.
Cathie is a member of Resolve and is a trained member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine and is trained by Postpartum Support International. Additionally, Cathie is the Counseling Advisor for Waiting in Hope.
Cathie is the author of the books Not Pregnant: A Companion for the Emotional Journey of Infertility, No Matter What Happens, Thrive Through Infertility and the Peace (In)Fertility Workbook. She is also the host of the Thrive (In)Fertility Podcast.