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Infertility support group at Linden Oaks.

Naperville Sun HealthAware column:

New program supports those facing infertility
August 6, 2013
About 1 in 10 women ages 15 to 44 in the United States has trouble getting pregnant or maintaining a pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control. And, 7.4 million women in this age group have at some time used infertility services.

Despite being part of this large group, a woman dealing with infertility often feels isolated, according to Lisa Grimes, a therapist at Linden Oaks on the Edward Hospital campus.

“Family members — even husbands — can’t understand what you’re going through,” Grimes says. “There’s a strong feeling of loss. You don’t even enjoy going to the mall with all the pregnant women and babies in strollers.”

On Friday, Linden Oaks will offer “Parents in Waiting,” a three-hour, single-session program, to provide emotional support and coping strategies to women dealing with this challenge. Linden Oaks will host the program once a month 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Fridays at the Linden Oaks Outpatient Center, 1335 N. Mill St., Naperville.

Grimes and fellow Linden Oaks therapist Michelle Scoles will facilitate the group. Both women can speak to infertility from personal as well as professional experience.

Grimes and her husband, Todd, tried for several years to get pregnant after the birth of their first child, Max, who’s now 8.

“The pain is just as real with secondary infertility (trouble conceiving after having had a child),” Grimes says. “It’s a consuming process, with all the doctor visits, tests and countless at-home kits to check ovulation.”

Fortunately, Grimes had the ear of colleague Scoles, who had grappled with her own fertility problems before eventually giving birth to two children.

“I struggled with both primary and secondary infertility,” Scoles says. “After years of infertility tests, treatments, surgeries and miscarriages, I was able to conceive my son through IVF and daughter through fertility medications.”

Grimes’ quest also ended well. She had a successful second pregnancy, and is the mother of 4-year-old twins.

“Michelle’s support was incredibly helpful when I was going through fertility treatment,” she says. “We talked about how great it would be to start a support group to help other women find the courage and strength to get through this.”

The two women eventually worked with staff from Linden Oaks, including Linda Huelke, behavioral health integration coordinator, to get “Parents in Waiting” off the ground.

The program will feature discussion and optional creative activities.

“Some women might choose to just listen and observe during these parts of the program rather than share, and that’s OK, too,” Grimes says.

The evening also will include what Grimes calls “a thinking component.”

“This means we’ll encourage them to look at how they’re thinking about their experience,” Grimes explains. “We want them to ask, ‘Is there a way I can reframe my thoughts about this experience that will be more self-nurturing?’”

The final component of the evening will focus on meditation and other relaxation exercises.

“At some point, ‘Parents in Waiting’ might expand into a multi-session program, and possibly extend to couples,” Huelke says. “In the meantime, it would be great if the women in the group continue the support by keeping in touch with each other after the program.”

The fee for the program is $30. To learn more, call 630-305-5175. To register, call 630-527-6363.

Learn about other Linden Oaks support groups.


(630) 527-3000

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