In her newly published book Maybe Baby, SUE SAUNDERS shares her insights, experience and practical help for those navigating assisted fertility.
Author and counsellor Sue Saunders experienced infertility trauma herself, which drew her to working as a counsellor at a fertility clinic for almost 20 years. She was inspired to write this new guide on coping with infertility when one of her clients remarked that she couldn’t find any books on the subject.
Sue says, “My client told me she never intended to come to counselling, but she couldn’t find any reading on the subject to help her with the emotional side of treatment. She told me I would have to write the book.”
Maybe Baby covers a broad range of topics from exploring treatment options such as IVF, donors and surrogacy, to gay couples or single women navigating the various ways to become a parent and the emotional journey that comes with all of these scenarios.
“I really wanted to write a book that would be useful. That people could dip into when they need it. Around 25 per cent of people dealing with fertility problems seek counselling, so there’s that other 75 per cent out there who may be looking for information and support. It’s not meant to replace counselling, but to stand alongside it,” says Sue.
Sue says that experiencing grief is extremely common and particularly when peers are beginning to have children. This is when friends and families celebrate gender reveals, christenings, baby showers, or naming ceremonies. It’s these rituals that can be incredibly difficult for those who are struggling to become parents.
The difficulties often extend to the wider family. Parents and siblings may not know how to talk about the issues or not want to announce their own pregnancies or milestones for fear of upsetting their loved ones. In these instances, Maybe Baby can be an excellent resource for those with family members or friends who are experiencing infertility or undergoing treatment.
The book’s structure works through a series of scenario-based stories under each topic, and each chapter ends with practical suggestions under the headings, Things to think about and Things that can be helpful.
HOW TO HELP
- Think carefully before asking people when they are going to have children. This question is always asked with good intentions, but it can be very painful for some people to answer.
- New Zealanders are very focused on being child-centric. When you’re socialising, try to talk about various topics and avoid a lot of talk about children.
- If you have a friend struggling with these issues, try to think about activities that will enhance their wellbeing. Perhaps go for a walk with them or take them out for coffee.
- There’ll be times when people don’t want to talk, so let them know you won’t keep asking, but you are always available if they do want to share.