Counsellor’s support group aims to help people struggling with infertility

Our client Linda Clarke had been trying to set up a free infertility support group. Thanks to the publicity we helped her achieve, the group is up and running and providing an important service in Swindon:

A Swindon-based fertility coach and relationship counsellor is setting up a free support group to help people who are struggling with infertility.

Linda Clarke, who practices at the Counselling and Psychotherapy Centre in Bath Road, Old Town, is starting the group, which she believes will help combat the feelings of isolation and loneliness many people experience when they find it difficult or impossible to conceive a child.

“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,” said Linda, who lives in Royal Wootton Bassett.

“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.”

Linda returned to the UK last autumn and her new practice and the planned infertility group mirror successful ventures she set up and ran in South Africa.

“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 anyone struggling 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 linda@lindaclarke.co.uk.