Sunday, June 12, 2016

When Your Therapist Moves Away

I love my therapist. She has been there through this journey for the long haul -- I met her as the support group facilitator before fertility yoga in about 2010, 2011ish. I loved her no-nonsense style, her emphasis on nurturing and her lack of floaty-positive-thinking-will-get-you-through-this. (It can help, at times, but if positive thinking could influence pregnancy outcomes, I'd be writing an entirely different blog...for years.) I started seeing her privately after a few months of group, and so she's seen me through:
- ectopic debacle
- miscarriage
- decision to go donor eggs
- decision to switch clinics
- decision to go sperm donor
- decision to end treatment
- decision to begin the adoption process
- processing all of this, all the decisions, all the losses, all the ways it impacted every aspect of life

It's not a small feat. She has done phone sessions when I could not meet in person and even came to my house when I was bedridden after the ectopic-surgery-asthma-attack-angry-suture-sites situation. She helps cut the bullshit. She says things like, "Stop shoulding on yourself" and "sometimes you just need to sit in the shit. You can't stay there forever, but it's important to just be there in the awfulness to start to heal." She's wise.

And she's leaving.

I am beside myself, because I really want her to be there when this all comes together, which hopefully results in us becoming parents through adoption. I want her to be there through an actual match, through the fearful waiting period around the birth, for the milestones that come with passing surrenders and revocation and finalization, for navigating whatever form of open adoption we have available to us... all of that. And she won't be, not in person.

She has offered up Skype/Facetime sessions as a transitional thing, and given me the name of another therapist who actually specializes in adoption. I'm not ready to move on though, even though she's moving away. Maybe over the summer I'll get a consultation with this other lady, but it's a hard act to follow.

I don't want to tell my story all over again to someone new who hasn't lived it WITH me.

I don't want someone who will tell me how brave and how strong I am after all I've been through -- that's nice, but I come for therapy because I DON'T feel so strong or so brave and it helps me gather tools to become that person who handles a pile of horseshit with a sense of humor (albeit a dark one) and with grace, hoping that under all that shit there's a pony just for me. I want someone who will drop an f-bomb and not flinch when I do it, who realizes that the last nearly-seven years of hell are WORTHY of f-bombs and it's a freaking miracle that I haven't had to go to wherever the celebrities go when they suffer "mental exhaustion." I feel exhausted, and I need to save some energy up for the baby who's out there, SOMEWHERE.

I know that life goes on and things like this happen. It was funny, because a few years ago my therapist said, "I have to tell you something" and I was like, "Ah. You're pregnant." I was right. And it was fine -- I've had another therapist become pregnant and then leave the practice at my previous clinic, but my current one was like, "if you can deal with it, I'm here for you." And I could, and she was. BECAUSE of who she was. This time she said, "I have to tell you something," and I sat a second and said, "Ah. You're moving." Right, again.

HOW CAN I LOSE THIS PERSON I CLEARLY HAVE A PSYCHIC CONNECTION WITH?  The Skype makes it like a "Goodbye, in person only" when I have my last session later this month, but I know. It won't be the same.

I've had my head thoroughly in the sand, actively steering conversation away from transitional threads, because I didn't want to think about navigating all this without her. Now I have no choice--just one session left. I was so hoping that something would come through before she left, but that seems unlikely in the space of a couple weeks.

Just one more way to leave things unfinished, to have these threads out flapping in the wind.

A huge thank you to the woman who I absolutely credit with saving me in my darkest moments, for making it possible for me to communicate that I get angry instead of sad because it's easier to lash out than to sink into the pit of despair that infertility has brought me time and time again. Who helps me to say no and take care of myself as everything unraveled, to see it as self-preservation and not selfish to back out of things where I knew there could be hurt (family reunions where everyone has children of one kind or another, out of town parties when we're prepping for homestudy, etc.). Who helps me sort through all this mess and figure out how I will deal no matter where we land in our journey, and to help me examine how all this might affect my parenting, for better or worse. Who helps me strengthen what is already strong between Bryce and me, who helps us together through tough decisions.

It's just so hard to say goodbye, even if it's "for now" or "until we Skype again." There's so much history, so many layers to the work we've done. It's hard to think that even notes could do it justice with someone new. So I keep my head in the sand a little longer and keep the transitional online sessions while figuring out if the new person is a good fit, and try not to compare her to my therapist who's leaving. That would be good for no one, because I can't imagine anyone being as good a fit for me as she was is. I can only hope for a new connection, and hope that I don't need quite as much support in the years that are to come, that I can phase therapy out, having been given the gifts that my therapist has offered over the past 5 years or so.


  1. I know first hand how important a good therapist is. I wouldn't be here without David and Dee. It took many tries to find them. And we haven't found anyone like them since.

    I could reason that she's moving on because you're ready to fly solo. That life happens and sometimes we have to make the best of it. But the truth is none of that is true. That transitions happen at the worst of times and somehow we get through it, though usually with many scars.

    I'm so sorry your therapist is leaving. That you have to make this switch. That it comes when you still need her.

  2. Here's to the transition to the next newest normal is smooth.

  3. Oh I'm sorry your therapist is moving. The end of an era. I hope that the new person will be a good fit for you.

  4. Oh honey that sounds so rough. I never found "my" therapist. I went to a few and they helped but they also did a lot of that positive mind, visualizing, crap that I just wasn't in the mood for. I even had one act like she was some sort of medium when I addressed the sudden death of friends and a family member and she acted like she knew how they were doing on the other side. It's definitely not easy to find the one you can connect with like you have yours but even if they give you a small piece of information that helps you then it's not a loss.

    Here's to hoping that you're right and that maybe you just won't need her as much for the next leg of your journey and you'll have a smooth transition into a new therapist who can give you what you need for what's coming up. (HUGS)

  5. Sorry to hear that your therapist is moving. It sounds like she's been amazing! Hope the transition goes as smoothly as possible and that you're able to find the right fit.

    Good though that she's available for a bit with Skype during the transition. The video-chatting services these days can be such a lifeline.

  6. This is rough, Jess. But maybe the switch could be a good thing. A new therapist for a new stage of life? We move a lot, and this is how I deal with all the loss of old beloved people and the meeting of new ones.

  7. I'm sorry to hear about your news that your therapist is moving. It sounds like a big loss. I'm sorry to hear about the timing. Good-byes can suck.

    Hope that you are able to find another therapist that works well with you and you get the support you need.

  8. I can absolutely, 1000% understand how this could be so devastating and difficult for you, and how daunting the task of finding someone new seems to be. Because either click or you don't. There really isn't any in between. Sending lots of good thoughts your way.