People finding difficulty conceiving are being given a chance to share their experiences thanks to a new infertility support group being set up in Swindon.
Fertility coach and relationship counsellor Linda Clarke is founding the group, which she believes will help combat the feelings of isolation and loneliness many people have when they find it difficult or impossible to conceive a child.
Linda, who lives in Royal Wootton Bassett and has a counselling practice in Old Town, said: “There is a huge lack of awareness and understanding of the emotional impact by anyone who hasn’t been through it, and the only people who can truly empathise are those who have experienced the struggle themselves.
“The pressures of trying to conceive may affect a couple’s relationship, emotionally and sexually. They may even withdraw from friends who are pregnant or who have a baby, which reduces their social network at a time then they most need the support of friends.”
UK born Linda, 66, lived for 34 years in South Africa, where she trained as a relationship counsellor, life coach and hypnotherapist and set up similar support groups for women there.
Her own difficulties conceiving – she had a miscarriage, although went on to have three children – gave her an insight into the difficulties women face.
She said: “Back then there was no counselling offered, no nothing. It was an awful feeling – after 40 years I can still remember coming home and feeling so empty.”
Back in the UK since last autumn, Linda has a practice as a therapist at the Counselling and Psychotherapy Centre in Bath Road. The support group will be free to attend and Linda hopes it will be a lifeline for individuals and couples struggling with infertility many of whom may have suicidal thoughts, as they can share experiences.
Linda added: “People are often really private about having fertility problems and they haven’t told anyone else about the issue. When they attend a support group they may, for the first time ever, find themselves in a room full of people who all know how it feels not to be able to get pregnant, who all understand the mixed emotions when a friend announces she is expecting a baby, who all dread those questions about when they are going to get round to starting a family.
“It will be an open group, but I want to stress that there will be no pressure on anyone to share or say anything, unless they want to. It will be a place of safety.”
The date and times of the meetings are yet to be arranged, but Linda has also set up a private Facebook group, which people with fertility issues (couples, singles and same sex couples) is invited to join and where details of meetings will be posted.
For more information, contact Linda on 07708 961073 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.