Personal Views

The unmet need

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: (Published 15 September 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:641
  1. Bernice Lieberman, unit counsellor
  1. Manchester Fertility Services, Manchester

    When a man discovers his infertility, the shock, pain, and sense of failure are enormous. He is emotionally traumatised and grief stricken. One courageous man asked to meet others who were also unable to father a child. He identified the need for men to express their thoughts and feelings.

    One man locked himself away and did not speak to anyone for days

    The response to the men's group has been overwhelming. Each group meets for six sessions on Friday afternoons. This time, chosen by the men, is important, as they have to interrupt busy careers and schedules to give themselves an opportunity to meet.

    One man had a burning need to talk. The group listened intently and, through the bravado of laughter, the group understood the underlying abject pain. This has become important: to tell, to be listened to, to be heard, to be acknowledged, and to be supported through the grieving process. Another was very quiet. He was encouraged by the group to …

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