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.

How do you begin again after a miscarriage or failed IVF cycle?

How do you begin again?

After a miscarriage or failed IVF cycle, there is the inevitable question hanging in the air: Are we going to try again? It may be a given that you still want a baby, however the criteria for whether you are going to try to conceive and carry a pregnancy will have been affected by the recent lack of success with IVF, or the terrible end of your pregnancy. Whether you are on your own, or with a partner, the criteria you use to make your decisions may have changed and need to be looked at again.

If you are on Twitter, or you follow some of the infertility blogs, you may be familiar with some of the abbreviations used by women who are trying to conceive and have a baby. One that frequently tears at my heart is BFN:( . It means “big fat nothing,” as in not pregnant this month.  You examine and re-examine the dates on the calendar, plan your activities around the possibility that you might be pregnant by then, and spend money on pregnancy tests that you know are going to come out negative.  You may also have experienced the elation of finding out you were pregnant and whispering it to the chosen few you trusted to support you through those intial, very secretive and exciting days, only to have to return to them weeks later and explain that the pregnancy was over.

How do you begin again?

After a miscarriage or failed IVF cycle, there is the inevitable question hanging in the air: Are we going to try again? It may be a given that you still want a baby, however the criteria for whether you are going to try to conceive and carry a pregnancy will have been affected by the recent lack of success with IVF, or the terrible end of your pregnancy. Whether you are on your own, or with a partner, the criteria you use to make your decisions may have changed and need to be looked at again. You must consider your current health, age, fitness, need for medical intervention, financial position, other commitments and your doctor’s advice. Assuming that you have decided that you do want to try to conceive again, naturally or with assisted reproduction techniques, the next set of decisions will be about when you begin trying.

Your timing

“When can I try again?” is one of the first questions that will come up in a woman’s mind once she has determined to pursue another pregnancy. Opinion, even among medical professionals, varies. Some doctors will say that, all being well, 3 months is a good amount of time to wait after a miscarriage. Others will suggest that an otherwise healthy patient wait until after she has had one menstrual period before trying to conceive. I believe that readiness is a combination of having had a check-up by the doctor or nurse a few weeks after your miscarriage or IVF procedure, feeling well in yourself physically and determining that you and/or your partner are both emotionally prepared to take the risk again. Why do I use that word “risk?” While many women go on to achieve a healthy pregnancy after a miscarriage, and IVF can certainly be successful on a subsequent attempt, there is a risk that they will not be successful. Can both of you gather all your resources together and steel yourself against that possibility or do you feel painfully vulnerable?

Are you up to it?

Miscarriage and fertility treatment are both hard on the body and can cause you to feel physically depleted.  This is exacerbated by the emotional toll that they take. It isn’t unusual for a woman to feel that she wants to, or has to, jump right back in and try again and simultaneously think that going through this process again is the last thing in the world she wants to do at that moment. Have you ever felt torn in that way? The reason for this dichotomy can be that you have not recovered fully and need to build up your strength and stamina. It may be worth asking your GP for a once-over health check, paying attention to your appetite, sleep, energy levels and hormone levels.

Your emotional wellbeing

It could also be that you are putting on a front, trying to fool yourself and others about how you are really coping. What you say and what you truly feel must be congruent, or the result could be additional stress, sleepless nights and high emotion.  There may be no doubt that you want a baby, but being pregnant may be another matter entirely. Do you feel resilient; as if you have been able to pick yourself up, put your disappointment aside and look forward to the future? Or, do you feel fearful or hopeless? Your thoughts will affect your behaviour and very possibly, your outcome.

If you are trying to conceive, while simultaneously thinking that it will never happen, or that it will end disastrously, you are draining your positive energy away from your goal. You are literally telling your body, that it will not function the way it is meant to do and reinforcing that message every time you let your mind obsess in this manner. Ovulation does not occur in a vacuum; it is dependent upon signals from your brain to your ovaries. Additionally, the stress caused by negativity has been known to interrupt reproductive function, which may affect your periods, ovulation, fertilisation and/or implantation of the embryo.

Your negative thoughts, sadness, anger and stress are all understandable responses to either a miscarriage or the disappointment of a failed IVF cycle. How quickly you move through various feelings or thought processes to a state of readiness is unique to your circumstances and how you respond. You may feel conflicting emotions and be confused as to whether you are ready to try to conceive again. If so, a fertility coach can help you isolate your feelings about your miscarriage or IVF experience. This can help you prevent or reverse the spill-over into your abilities, body, medical treatment, relationship and future.

Are you both ready?

It isn’t unusual for two people in a relationship to have different ideas about whether they are ready to try to conceive again. On the one hand, the woman may (erroneously) believe that the previous attempt is her fault and feel the need to make up for it or prove herself. She may be itching to try immediately, in contrast to her partner’s more measured approach. Even if this self-blame is not present, she may feel there isn’t any time to waste. Only she can truly know how strong and physically healthy she feels, so her partner is reliant upon the information she provides.  A partner may be concerned about her health and want to ensure the safety of a subsequent attempt to conceive.  On the other hand, I have had female clients whose partners want to sweep it all under the rug and move forward as if nothing has happened. She may be unready; lacking in self-confidence and feeling unsupported.

Marriages have broken down from the stress of trying to conceive. One party may feel less committed to the idea of having a child than the other, so that when the disappointments, difficulties and costs are tallied up, they decide that they don’t want to put everything into the attempt.  The sacrifices necessary to divert money from other dreams to fertility treatment may be more than one is willing to make. To contemplate trying to conceive only for your partner’s sake, or while you are unsure, will only add to the stresses you will have to endure.

The best advice I can give any couple in this situation is to talk. Be open about how you feel, what the loss meant and how you want to proceed now. If either of you are unable to communicate effectively without someone teasing the words out of you, get someone to act as a facilitator. A good fertility coach will help the two of you say what you really think and feel; not imposing her own ideas or taking sides. Perhaps a joint visit to your GP or gynaecologist will help the two of you find mutual ground.

Just knowing when it’s right

As quickly as it came over, an emotional cloud can lift. A new day, an overheard inspiring word, reassurance from someone you trust or just some release inside of you; any of these can shift how you feel about beginning the process of conception over again.  You may not be able to explain it to someone else, but you just know you are ready.  If trying again feels right and you can maintain that feeling for a few calm days (no roller-coaster emotions and changing of mind), trust your instincts. Only you can know for sure.

Lisa Marsh is the owner of Your Great Life, a fertility coaching and advocacy business in Stanmore, North London. She also writes for her own blog; http://yourgreatlife.typepad.co.uk.   You can follow her on Twitter @yourgreatlife. Contact Lisa for individual or couples fertility coaching, via phone or office visits, or to find out about educational workshops on fertility issues from menstruation to menopause: Tel #011-44 (0)20 8954 2897 or email lisa@yourgreatlife.co.uk

Facing Many Crossroads, Together

Part Two: Coming upon a Crossroads, What You Need To Make Your Decisions

The first crossroads is likely to be when you decide to see the doctor because, despite your efforts, you have not conceived.   It isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, or culture, to expose their intimate life to the scrutiny of doctors or undergo blood tests and scans, checking for something “wrong.”  Some uninformed men may be unwilling to provide a semen sample, for fear of what the results may suggest about his manliness.

Both the woman and man may feel some anxiety about whose family line may be to “blame” for their inability to become pregnant.  If this pertains to you or your partner, you must cast these outdated stigmas aside and take some relatively simple tests to discover the cause of your infertility.  If having a baby is your ultimate goal, your value system may have to adapt to accept the help that modern medicine and technology offer.

The second crossroads is deciding whether to pursue more invasive medical investigations and/or treatment.  With a clear diagnosis and readily available treatment, it is easier to decide what to do because the options are more clearly set out.  Your personal life may present the deciding factor: your relationship, finances, career, religion or emotional wellbeing may all be taken into consideration.  Many couples have to contend with unexplained infertility, where early test results were ambiguous.  If you (or your doctor) are operating in the dark, it won’t do much for your confidence.  In this case, the dilemma about which treatment to pursue may be decided by not knowing what else to do. 

Whatever your decision, the most important factor is agreement between the partners, not only because cooperation, understanding and support are vital to keeping stress levels down, but also because it could mean the difference between having a genetic child or not.  From the point that you choose assisted conception you enter a different world; one where your daily life centres on the fertility clinic. For working men, the clinical, inconvenient scheduling, financial and sexual aspects of trying to conceive while being treated, put them into unfamiliar territory and cause stress.  Women will physically experience all of that, and possibly, mood swings, pain, invasive procedures and fear that time is running out as well. 

The decision-making shifts to:

  • Are you happy with the doctor/clinic you started with?
  • Should you try less invasive treatment first, or go straight to IVF?
  • Should we try complementary therapies before, or alongside, traditional medical treatment?
  • How will you pay for your treatment?
  • When should you begin treatment?
  • Can this be managed around your work and/or other obligations?
  • How many embryos do you want to implant? 
  • How many times will you undergo treatment?

These questions may have the two of you at a new crossroads every week. While some people may sail through and others agonize, it’s more likely that some decisions will bring up unexpected issues.  Pay really close attention how you are both functioning.  Your emotional state is important: Do either of you feel stressed, resentful, guilty, desperate, depressed, or hopeless?  Is one of you leaning one way and the other in another direction?  Are you fighting? That is where mutual respect, communication and agreement come into play.

Lisa Marsh is a Fertility Coach working with people on all aspects of fertility, including female and male infertility, pregnancy loss, assisted conception, alternative means of family-building and menopause.  Visit her blog http://yourgreatlife.typepad.com or her website http://yourgreatlife.co.uk for more information.  For coaching, email lisa@yourgreatlife.co.uk

Do you want more intimacy with your man ?

Then don’t take him clothes shopping

This bank holiday Monday I visited Fosse park (along with half the county) which is a huge out of city shopping centre just on edge of Leicester. It has great shops, but boy was it busy.

I was in the enormous M & S having left my other half in the Costa coffee with his ipod. While shopping I noticed how many miserable looking men were being dragged round M& S, and being asked every few minutes ‘do you think this would suit me ‘ as there wife or girlfriend held up yet another dress, top or skirt. The look of abject misery & boredom on these poor guys faces was so obvious to any onlooker-why can’t us wives and girlfriends see it ?! I smiled to myself, as I realised that there was unlikely to be any intimacy or hanky panky between those couples that night, and the atmosphere was likely to be quite chilly. I thanked my lucky stars that there had been a Costa for dh to hang out in, and that he had brought his ipod (god he loves that thing)

I only recently learned not to take my dh shopping with me when I want to look at clothes for me. It dawned on me it was not fun for either of us, and we often argued afterwards.  He hates the whole process, and was simply humouring me. My moment of epiphany came when I started to go shopping with a girlfriend- it is so much more fun to shop with another women and such a relief to my dh. us gilrs can try on 20 items and end up buying none but we still have a huge amount of fun. This for most men is like having their toenails pulled out one by one-simply torture !

Next time you are in the womens department of a big store on a weekend or bank holiday , take a look at the men’s faces and you will see what I mean. I pity those poor men sat outside the M & S or John Lewis changing rooms.

Come on girls, take pity on your men folk-go shopping with a girlfriend, and leave the guys at home in peace

Make the time to fill yourself up

Hi everyone,

Hope you’ve had a good spring/Easter break.

 I have had a couple of days at the coast and while I was there I listened to the great John Gray on my ipod. I have all his audio books downloaded from itunes. I love to listen to them on long journeys.

This holiday I have been listening to ‘when mars and venus collide’ which gives great insite into why men and women fall out and how to avoid fights .

A big part of this is not expecting your man to ‘fill you up’. We need to learn how to fill ourselves up and not to expect our partners to do this for us.

There is a list of about 100 ways to do this and they are all fun.

Here are some examples:

  • take a long soak in the bath
  • talk with girlfriends
  • have a manicure or pedicure
  • have a facial
  • have a massage
  • read a good book

I highly recomend the book-a great listen for a long journey

Is eating in the new going out ?

I have heard this phrase bandied about quite a lot recently as a credit crunch beating tip.

 I must admit we have cut down on how often we eat out as have many of my friends, & we do all tend to go for special offers & deals such as early birds or lunchtime offers.

I do like to have one night off cooking at least once a week. We used to go out but recently i have been buying the meal deals from wither M&S or Tesco. You know the ones-dine in for 2 for £9-£10 (including bottle wine and desert) 

 M&S started the trend & Tesco quickly followed. M&S even did a meal deal for 4 for mothers day-what a good idea-my brother bought one to cook for his wife & kids (he rarely cooks)

 My dh is a great cook-much better than me, but I do most of cooking in the week & I like a night off. For the last 6 weeks or so I have added a meal deal to my weekly shop, and we have not been out in the evening for a meal since Valentines day ! We are loving it so far and we are saving about £30 a week by not eating out that one evening a week!

We have been out for lunch which is usually much cheaper. I am a huge believer in making time to date your partner. For one the chances of having sex are greatly increased after you have been out for dinner or had a relaxing ‘date at home’

These dine in for two are a great stress free way of having a romantic meal in with no stress. There is very little washing up & they offer really excellent value for money.

Guys what have you got planned for your significant other for Valentines Day ?

Dont tell yourself it doesn’t matter and she is not bothered.

Its not true-she is bothered. 

You will earn so many brownie points if you do something special for her

Ideas us girls love:

Cut flowers allways go down well and make us feel really pampered

Favourite box of chocolates-not too big a box though or she will just feel guilty for eating them all if she is anything like me

Dinner for two out at a fancy restaurant-lets face it ,an evening off cooking, washing and tidying up is great

Cook a romantic meal for her-I love when my dh cooks for us-he is a great cook

An item of jewellery she covets always goes down well

Hire a romantic film to watch together-Sex and the City is great if she has not already seen it

Give her a cd of love songs or even better compile a romantic playlist for her on itunes

Really nice toiletries or perfume beautifully wrapped & presented

Use your imagination. This does not have to be difficult or expensive, and the credit you will get for it is so worth the expense and effort.

You know what she loves-you can do it. Have fun making her happy-you will be so glad you did

Girls-what have you got planned for Valentines day ?

I have just booked a table for DH and myself to go out for dinner just the two of us for a romantic meal.

Just hoping his cold gets better !

 My thinking was a long hot soak in tub before we go out for both of us, dress to impress (sexy underwear-the works), romantic candelit  dinner & wine for two, and then home for an early night and some loving.

I have got him a small valentines gift which is a dvd of his favourite comedian-they do say laughter is the best medicine (we will get rid of that cold)

Plan something special for your sweetie, to show them how much you love and appreciate them.

If you want to buy yourself a little gift for valentines day that will help you understand your other half better I can highly reccomend the ‘men are from mars women are from venus’ books by John Gray. I love them and find they help me to understand my dh & vice versa. I have most of them on my ipod as a audiobook.

Whatever you decide to do for valentines day-be kind to each other and show your sweetie how much you love and appreciate him

Will daily sex cure a low libido?

Just read this really good honest article about sex in marriage.

If your sex life is flagging I highly reccommend reading this

Two years ago, my wife and I made it our new year’s resolution to have sex every day. The reason was simple. Utterly worn out by the arrival of our first child, we had pretty much stopped having sex. I was 33, she was 30, and our erotic life needed not so much a jump-start as electrotherapy.

Read the full article and the results of their sexperiment here http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/men/article5598881.ece