Why infertility makes Christmas a tough time of year

Sarah Holland 

I’m always aware at this time of year how it must feel for someone who isn’t yet a mother or father but would dearly love to be. The festive season is so focused around children and families that you may feel lonely and at times excluded. At what should be one of the happiest times of the year, those struggling with infertility are left feeling sad and frustrated.

Parties and family gatherings can be difficult to face, and you may find that it’s at these occasions that people choose to ask “so, when are you going to have a baby?”. Add to that the fact that more and more people seem to be “only buying presents for the children this year” or tell you “Christmas is all about children really” and you couldn’t be blamed for wanting to run away from the festivities.

However with the right support and techniques there is a way that you can reduce the sadness and stress that you’re feeling, and bring back some magic into the celebrations for you and your loved ones.

Last year I made a video using the stress-busting technique EFT to help with the stress that Christmas brings to those challenged with fertility issues. Many told me it helped them through the festive season and brought back some joy and happiness for them. I hope it helps you too!

And this year I’m offering something very special that I want to be available to every single person who is trying to conceive through fertility issues and would like some nurturing support during the festive season and into the New Year. With this support I’d not only love to help you rediscover peace and joy this Christmas, but also feel hopeful and positive that 2012 will be the year that you have your baby.

Click here to find out more and how this support can cost you as little as $1!
==>> http://www.fertilemindset.com/merry-little-christmas

I look forward to supporting you at this special time of year, and I wish you love, health and happiness for 2012.

Stepping off the emotional roller coaster of infertility

 sarah holland fertile mindset

I realise that you may feel in need of emotional support as you try to conceive through fertility issues. You need support that’s effective, works quickly and can bring you the peace of mind and positive thinking that you know is so vital to supporting your fertility.

Perhaps you’ve heard about how successful EFT is at dramatically reducing negative emotions such as anxiety, sadness, worry and fear. But you’re not sure how to learn it or apply it to your own unique situation, and achieve the positive results in your emotional well-being and mindset that you know would be SO beneficial.Well here’s the good news! I have developed a low cost, fast working solution to help yo u switch your thinking from negative to positive, and support you in a multitude of ways as you try to conceive your baby.I know what an emotional roller coaster it can be when you have fertility issues, and I’d like to invite you now to take my hand as a support you stepping off the roller coaster and on to a much smoother, easier to navigate path.What am I talking about? Click below to find out!http://www.fertilemindset.com/inner-saboteur
Don’t delay in clicking above and making a decision whether to sign up. There are only limited spaces available, and the ‘early bird’ booking price ends soon. PLUS if you’re one of the next few to sign up you’ll be able to grab one of the remaining chances to have a private one-to-one telephone session with me, to work on a key emotional issue for you.

I look forward to you joining me on this exciting adventure!

With love and best wishes on your fertility journey,

Sarah Holland
Fertility Support Specialist

The Fertility Focus Telesummit is underway. but there is still time to join in!

The second interview of the Fertility Focus Telesummit was mine, on how “Creating an Effective Support Network Can Make All the Difference When Trying To Conceive.” I’m really excited by the response I have had, with many listeners emailing me afterward to thank me and/or tell me that what I shared really resonated with them. The Telesummit is completely free to listen to the live presentations, and the replays for 24 hours after each interview. If you didn’t know about it before, it’s not too late to get involved.

The 2nd Fertility Focus Telesummit, created and moderated by Sarah Holland, is running this week.  Twelve fertility experts from around the world, and 3 fertility bloggers, are speaking throughout the week on various aspects of fertility health and support.  Sarah started things off on Sunday, the 20th of March, with an introduction to the Telesummit and an explanation of how to get the most out of it.

Yesterday, Monday the 21st, saw the first two interviews; Dr Marion Glenville spoke on the nutritional aspect of fertility health, giving much of her hour-long presentation over to listeners’ questions and providing really comprehensive responses.  The second interview of the evening was mine, on how “Creating an Effective Support Network Can Make All the Difference When Trying To Conceive.”  I’m really excited by the response I have had, with many listeners emailing me afterward to thank me and/or tell me that what I shared really resonated with them.

The Telesummit is completely free to listen to the live presentations, and the replays for 24 hours after each interview. If you didn’t know about it before, it’s not too late to get involved.  Click here to register for the Fertility Focus Telesummit FREE!  You can listen live, and submit questions for each of the speakers, or listen at your leisure to the recordings afterward.  If you are really busy this week and know you won’t be able to listen in, OR you just want to have all 17 audio files to refer to over and over, Sarah provides the option of upgrading to a Golden Ticket so you can purchase the whole Telesummit’s talks, which will be emailed to you as an MP3 file afterward. This is an incredible value, this week only while the Telesummit is running, at US$67, including several bonuses. You can find all the information at the Telesummit website.

Because I’m a bit late in letting you know about the Telesummit and my own presentation on creating a support network, I’d like to share some of that information with you here.  Having been through several challenging years of recurrent miscarriage and secondary infertility myself, I have the benefit of hindsight telling me that I really could have coped far better if I had been more proactive about getting myself, and my husband, the right balance of emotional and practical support.  Infertility put a big strain on our marriage, and I felt very alone and fearful that I would not be able to have the children I had always dreamed of having.  We are fortunate to have come through those rough times, and to have our two children.  Using my training and experience as a fertility coach, I have developed a system to help each of my clients create a support network for their unique needs, thus easing their experience of infertility and efforts to conceive and helping them to feel less isolated and stressed.

During the call, I explained:

  • Why infertility support is so important;
  • The 5 most essential types of support every infertile person needs;
  • Why your partner is not always the best source of support;
  • How you actually create your personal support network;
  • What you can do is someone you expected to be supportive has turned out to be the opposite; and
  • How to maintain a really effective support network over a long period of time.

I’m also offering a Free Bonus to Callers from the Telesummit! I’ve created a comprehensive Worksheet that takes you through the process of creating your own infertility support network, step by step. So, if you haven’t already registered, don’t let this opportunity pass you by.

I’m listening to the other speakers throughout the week myself. I have to say, I’ve been very impressed so far. I’ve learned a lot already from both Dr Glenville and Andrew Loosely, Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist. Other expert speakers during the week include Sarah Holland on using EFT for conception, Kristin Hayward, Zita West, Gabriela Rosa, Toni Weschler, Sue Dumais, Nicola Smuts, Deirdre Morris and Cindy Bailey. Then, you can listen to talks from 3 prolific bloggers, including the authors of “From IF to When,” “Eggs and Sperm” and “Survive and Thrive.” I’m really looking forward to the rest of the week.

Fertility Yoga is a Healing Community

The main reason I created and starting teaching a Fertility Yoga class was to support my own health and well being. In the depth of my own fertility challenges, I was becoming more and more disconnected, depressed and isolated. Although my husband was very supportive he just couldn’t understand the extent of my grief. I felt misunderstood and at times, I thought I was actually losing my mind. I watched myself spiraling out of control and realized that I needed to shift something quickly.

The first class I taught filled up with little effort. Women were nervous and at the same time relieved to find some support. I experienced such a warm comfort as we shared our experiences with each other and I realized that I wasn’t alone and that other women were on a similar emotional roller coaster.

We all had such a profound experience in the first session of classes and I discovered a community of support that gave me HOPE! Within months I opened Family Passages Mind Body Studio where I continued to teach Yoga for Fertility classes as well as private yoga therapy session and a Couples Mind Body Program. I was touched by the impact the space had for women and couples and I was grateful to witness such amazing transformations in such a short period of time.

The classes provide a space for healing the mind, body and spirit. The yoga postures help support the body by reducing the effects of stress and improving blood flow to the reproductive organs. Each posture is held for 3-5 minutes and accompanied by a dialogue specific to fertility. The class allows for a deep experience of the posture and fosters a level of healing that miracles are made of.

I love to witness women coming in the door feeling defeated, confused and stressed and by the end of the class they leave feeling relieved, calm and supported on their journey. It is the most rewarding class as an instructor that I have ever taught in my 18 year career. It is like a yoga support group. There is comfort just walking in the door and realizing they are not alone. There is peace in re-connecting to their own inner guidance/intuition as they realize they no longer need to desperately seek answers outside of themselves.

They begin to befriend their body again, follow their guidance, find a sense of calm and discover a strength that will help them through their journey. I watch them come alive as they begin to take back control of their life. The learn how to identify and process their emotions and they use the mind body tools to shift their experience outside the class. They bring their yoga practice off the mat and into their lives each day, and their experience of fertility shifts and transforms.

Most importantly I don’t see women as “infertile” or “broken” or “failures”.

I see women as the Mothers I know they are.

I hold FAITH for them!

I BELIEVE in them, no matter what!

You can be a Mother! I know with my whole heart, that one way or another, you too, will bring your baby home into your arms. I will hold FAITH for you until you BELIEVE it as deeply as I do! Because when you BELIEVE something is possible, impossible is nothing.

To learn more about Sue Dumais and her Fertility Yoga classes and resources visit www.familypassages.ca

Proper Etiquette When Speaking About Fertility

Many couples struggling to conceive tend to keep it to themselves. They often don’t share with work colleagues, friends and even close family. Many of my clients haven’t even told their own parents. Times where they found the courage to share some of their fertility challenges, responses from others feel insensitive and in some cases feel downright hurtful. Once bitten twice shy, they quickly realize that telling others about their fertility is not in their best interest. Whether is it for fear of judgment or worry of what others might say, in time, their fertility journey becomes very isolating.

Unless you have had a personal experience with fertility challenges you can never truly understand the depths of this deeply emotional journey. How do you respond in a supportive way when you have never had issues with your own fertility? What can you possibly say to woman that has just had a miscarriage that would feel comforting and supportive? Each week I hear my fertility clients say over and over again that other people in their life “just don’t get it”. People often dismiss their worries or anxiety by responding “Just relax and it will happen”. What they don’t realize is that the psychological distress is high, making it difficult to “just relax”. A common response is “Don’t worry you can always adopt”. As if adoption was a simple and easy alternative.

Recent research has shown that for many women fertility issues can create levels of anxiety and depression equivalent to women with cancer, HIV status or heart disease. So telling a woman that she can always adopt would be like telling a breast cancer patient, not to worry she can always get another breast. Obviously you would never do that, but to a woman with a deep desire to have a baby, it can feel that insensitive.

I know that people don’t intend to be hurtful and I remind my clients of that on a daily basis. I remind them that they are not hurt by what others are saying, they are feeling hurt because of the meaning they are placing on the words that are said.

Here are some of my client’s interpretations of the comment about adoption.

“It’s not going to work anyway I might as well give up.”

“I am a failure.”

“No one believes I can get pregnant.”

“I might as well accept defeat.”

What do you Say?

So what can you say or do to be supportive? I have created a list of suggested responses to specific challenges couples face on their journey. Keep in mind that sometimes the best response is no response. Often they just need you to listen.

Click here to read more and/or to download the full article.

Finding Support for Your Infertility

How do you find the support you need for your infertility?  Regardless of how you came to be infertile or what your goal, it can be a challenge to find someone who not only empathizes with your situation, but also is prepared to be there for you on either an emotional or practical level. You may wonder why, for something so fundamental to your happiness, someone wouldn’t want to be counted in your support network. 

Why You May Not Be Getting the Support You Need from Logical Sources

  1. They believe that you must be responsible for your infertility somehow.
  2. Your partner is ambivalent about becoming a father or mother.
  3. You want to be a single parent.
  4. You are not married to your partner.
  5. You are in a gay relationship and they believe every child needs a father
  6. They are infertile also and worry they will lose you to a baby and mom-friends.
  7. It’s your boss. Doctor appointments and maternity leave will inconvenience them.
  8. People think you should be grateful that you already have one child.
  9. They are jealous of the attention and sympathy you get for your infertility.
  10. They are too wrapped up in their own life to realize you need them.

Those people may not realize they are being unsupportive. What is obvious to you may not occur to them.  An example:  your mother phoning you daily with details of her friend’s daughter’s pregnancy.  “What do you mean? I thought you would be happy for her.” Or, someone may think if you needed them you would ask and you haven’t.

They may be judgmental.  “Well if she hadn’t (pick one) a) taken such a stressful job, b) had that abortion years ago, c) waited so long or d) gained so much weight, she wouldn’t be in this situation now.” In fact, almost the entire list comes from people judging you and your condition by their own values, rather than stepping into your shoes to think what it must be like to be you.  However, you may be able to turn their attitude around.

First, look at your own responsibility for the situation and take ownership of it.  In that way, you will be less likely to assign blame, feel resentment and put other people on the defensive.

  1. Have you failed to let people know about your infertility? (Most can’t read minds.)
  2. Have you made it so much a part of your identity that you sound like a broken record?
  3. Have you not been there for them when they needed your support?
  4. Have you isolated yourself from all your friends who have children?
  5. Have you held back on congratulations toward a sister-in-law, cousin or colleague who has had a baby?
  6. Did you previously fail to show empathy toward someone else who was infertile?
  7. Do you whine too much?
  8. Have you lost your perspective?
  9. Have you made sex seem like a chore, obliterating the romance and passion in the bedroom?

If you don’t keep up your work, friendships, social or sport activities, you may become “out of sight, out of mind.” If you no longer accept invitations, people may assume you no longer want or need their company.  Though it may seem logical to you and very unfair to compare the situations, a friend who has had a difficult pregnancy or birth, postnatal depression, has a colicky baby or has had a miscarriage, may feel that you have not supported her when she needed you.  It isn’t your friend’s fault that you haven’t yet had a baby of your own.  Messages can be misconstrued and feelings hurt on both sides.  All relationships need to be nurtured in order to thrive, so give to get.

How to Find The Right Kind of Support

The trick to getting support is to first list the type of support you need, and then identify who can provide it.  For example:

  • Someone who will listen and keep it confidential
  • Go with me to the doctor
  • Someone who’s also infertile and knows what it’s like
  • Friends I can go out with, to forget my problems
  • Cover my workload when I need time off
  • Friend(s) who won’t need an explanation or take it personally when I opt out of get-togethers and baby showers
  • Give me my injections  
  • Pass the word so that I don’t have to get into it 10 times a day
  • Friend who will rescue me from upsetting conversations
  • Help me with my food and fitness plans

Now, split your list of needs into two, under the headings: emotional support and practical support. Connect the tasks with the names of people you know. Then ask yourself a very important question: “Is it reasonable for me to expect this person to provide this support.”  Consider:

1.     your relationship

2.     their nature (sensitivity, generosity, etc…)

3.     their availability

4.     their reliability

Next, look at acquaintances in an outer layer of your life.  A colleague at work may also be trying to conceive.  You may click with a nurse at the clinic.  That other woman you always see in the RE’s waiting room may be happy to go for a coffee. A friend of a friend may have had the treatment you are considering and be happy to answer your questions. Reach out when you feel strong enough or the need is big enough. Infertility seems like a personal or sensitive subject that people may wait for you to bring up the conversation. So go for it; you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

When No One Close at Hand Will Do – Infertility forums are wonderful resources for information, camaraderie and supportive conversations.  They all have a “personality” of their own, so cruise them for a few days to figure out which one is a good fit for you.  There are also hundreds of blogs written by infertile women (and a few by men) to which you can subscribe.  Again, cruise the blogs until you find an appropriate few, keeping in mind that they are the product of someone else’s personal experiences, attitude and knowledge level.  After a little while, if you keep reading and commenting on the forum(s) or blog(s) of your choice, you will feel a part of that community.  Be careful though not to take someone else’s experience or opinion as valid medical advice unless they are medically qualified.  Always check with the doctor treating you before trying anything that may interfere with or delay your chances of treatment.

Professional Support – Last, but not least, there is an advantage in having a specialist fertility coach if you are not coping well with your infertility.  The criteria to look for in a coach include training, rapport between the two of you and their ability to teach and motivate you to achieve the positive changes you are after. While coaches don’t absolutely need to have personal experience with a client’s issues to be effective, I believe that it is a genuine advantage in the area of fertility coaching. A fertility coach who has herself had difficulty conceiving, will have an authentic understanding of the emotional, physical, financial and social aspects of the fertility rollercoaster ride.

There is plenty of evidence that your state of mind can affect your fertility.  If you are overly stressed, feeling negative, comfort-eating, arguing with your partner or not sleeping, you are not creating the best possible state of wellbeing for conception, pregnancy and childbirth.  A fertility coach will look at the whole person to determine which small changes in your attitudes, actions and lifestyle will make a difference to your overall wellbeing.  From that better place, you will work together to find the best way to create and build your family. By aligning your goals with your value system, your coach may also be able to help you determine whether to undergo or continue fertility treatment, if and when to stop trying to conceive, end fertility treatment or consider an alternative path to parenting, such as egg or sperm donation, surrogacy or adoption.

In the end, it’s your choice of how open or private you will be about your infertility and that will directly affect what kind of support you receive.  Just remember support comes in many forms and from many places and sometimes must be earned. Be understanding; over time, supporters can be more or less active in your life as their own circumstances change.  Giving support is not a job description; it’s a gift.

Lisa Marsh is the fertility coach  and owner of Your Great Life in Stanmore, North London.  For more information about her, go to http://yourgreatlife.co.uk. Subscribe to her blog at http://yourgreatlife.typepad.com or to arrange a coaching session, in person or via telephone, please contact her at 020 8954 2897 or lisa@yourgreatlife.co.uk

You can also follow Lisa at http://twitter.com/yourgreatlife for helpful Fertility and Miscarriage Support Tips, as well as other information about news in the field of women’s reproductive health.

We all needs friends-but where do you go for support when TTC

There are times in life when we really need the support of our friends and family. But does the quality of this support make a difference. Simple answer is yes-hugely so. When you are going through a stressful or difficult time in your life for whatever reason you need friends who will support you, listen to you and be there for you.

Are your friends drains or radiators ?

A friend of mine recently apologised for being a drain and not a radiator. At least she had incite !

The company of some friends makes you feel great, while others leave you feeling drained or even angry or sad. Of course we all have our off days, and no one can be a radiator of joy all the time but some friends are just plain exhausting.

What kind of friend are you ?

Characteristics of radiators;

  • Their positive upbeat attitude pulls you up even when you are feeling down.
  • they are good listeners
  • they do not hog the conversation (conversation should be a two way thing)
  • they are not totally self absorbed
  • they like people
  • they see the good in most situations
  • they are up more than down
  • you feel great after you have been with them
  • you enjoy their company

Characteristics of drains:

  • they have a negative attitude to lots of things
  • you feel exhausted, angry or sad in their company
  • they hog the conversation
  • they are totally self absorbed
  • they put other people down frequently (if they do that to others they probably do it about you)
  • they do not really like people
  • they see lots of negatives in a given situation

Try and make sure that you have plenty of radiators around you, and that you do your best to be a radiator to others.

Trying to conceive for some can be a very stressful time if things seem to take longer than you had hoped, and often it is difficult to talk to family or friends about the stresses that you are under. Where can you go for support and friendship then ?

A lot of women find the support and friendship they crave in the fertility forums. Here you can talk anonymously to others who are going through a similar situation to yourself and share in their highs and lows. Seeing others succeed can be very encouraging and also you can pick up lots of useful tips from others trying to conceive.

See the links at the side of this blog for links to the UK fertility support forums