In general, it is legitimate to question the raison d’être of a psychologist...
If the purpose they serve is more or less obvious to some people who suffer from a clearly identifiable symptom, for others, it is more obscure.
It’s true that the perinatal domain should be able to do without psychologists or any other kind of counsellors. Indeed, what could be more “normal” (be it only in the statistical sense of the term) and universal than to want to have a child?
And, yet, in a certain number of cases, it’s not quite that easy.
Either because you are really questioning your desire and/or ability to have a child (or at least one of the two in the couple is), who will carry the child, the number of embryos that you are prepared to have placed, what will be done with the remaining ones…
Or because the child you so desperately want is showing no signs of happening, whether or not you have (already) tried MAR, whether or not you have been (sometimes harshly) diagnosed as infertile;
Or because you came up against an objective or subjective obstacle on your way to having a child (miscarriages, premature death, premature birth, difficulties with parent-child interaction, post-partum depression etc.).
In short, all of the above are legitimate reasons to stop and think for a moment, to sit down with the psychologist and try to work out what’s going on, to talk about your problems or pain, your incomprehension, your anger, your impatience, your need to know more when the doctor doesn’t have time or isn’t communicative, to get you thinking about what is getting in the way in order to move away from a potential “victim” status and go back to that of being a "subject".
For all those who have heard the following hurtful remarks on more than one occasion ... (even if they are unintentional) ... and didn’t come out unscathed
"It’s all in your head… stop thinking about it and it’ll all work out fine”
"I’ve got a neighbour who was told she would never manage either… and today she’s got two”
"Why not adopt?”
"You don’t know how lucky you are! Enjoy your lie-ins while you can”
"That means you shouldn’t have any; leave it to Mother Nature”
"Not having a child isn’t an illness! You could have cancer; that’s far worse isn’t it?!”
(variations on the theme) :
"Better to lose it right at the start rather than at 18 years of age! At least you haven’t had time to get attached"
"He was probably handicapped and you would have suffered all your life! It’s better like that"
"You always knew that before your 12 weeks is up nothing’s guaranteed"
...In the end, these phrases, which have been uttered thousands of times over, make some people feel guilty, others aggressive and can cause a great deal of harm to those they are so clumsily aimed at because, no, life isn’t fair: "bad parents" had no problem having children other than that of bringing them up and, no, nobody can guarantee that, at the end of this long journey that is MAR, the stork will necessarily deliver a wonderful reward...
So, if all that is bothering you, or you have a child but things aren’t easy or you are struggling to have one, yes, going to see a psychologist can help you carry your burden and even find the mental resources you need to keep on fighting, to experience the long-awaited success in a certain number of cases which gives us reasons to believe, even to find another form of mental fertility if after all that you need to come to terms with your lost fertility. Becoming a parent can be a difficult step at any stage, before you conceive, during the pregnancy and even after the birth!
That’s why the paramedical perinatal specialists (psychologists, haptonomists, midwives, uro/perineum physios, acupuncturists, osteopaths) are looking more deeply into these existential, psychic or technical issues, depending on their training, and using their skills to help women and couples concerned by the arrival of a child.
As for me, in my capacity as a psychologist and psychotherapist, I can offer:
psychological consultations which are both informative and a time to ask questions (as an individual or a couple),
group information sessions on pregnancy (one or several couples at a time, as you prefer)
group information sessions on post-partum (one or several couples at a time, as you prefer)