Today’s post was written by our Support Group Facilitator, Nell Shanahan Schwartz, LMSW, MA.
More than just an infertility support group, the support group at the YinOva Center is now more broadly described and understood by its members as, above all, a women’s support group. It’s where women can come together to talk, yes, about infertility but also about pregnancy, miscarriage, marriage, work, relationships, and more.
We often talk about loss, as well — loss of the understanding or expectation of how things would be. How life would look. How becoming a parent would play out. Sometimes acknowledging this and sharing it in a safe space can allow for a new awareness, for new strengths to be discovered and actualized, and for new bonds and relationships to be forged that help us feel strong and, if you will, “life-filled,” despite the challenge to conceive.
More than anything, it is my hope and intent that the group members leave feeling stronger, more supported, and more hopeful. Recently, over the Winter, I shared a poem with the group about love, and specifically, love of oneself, of ourselves, especially in the midst of this process, when our bodies aren’t always doing what we want them to do.
In his poem entitled Love After Love, Derek Walcott writes:
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
I think Walcott’s poem is a great reminder of the importance of finding and nurturing peace and love within, and not solely with another (be it a spouse, child, whomever). Something we could all use help remembering once in a while. I hope you will consider coming to the table with us, and helping us sit and feast on our lives. We would love to have you.