Relieving Nightmares with Daydreams: Coping with Infertility

By Helen Adrienne, LCSW, BCD Infertility. The experience is a bad dream that couples may not wake up from for many months or even years. When it becomes clear that pregnancy is elusive, life as it has been known becomes unrecognizable. As solutions are sought, the world gets dark. Friends who are popping out [...]

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How To Locate Your Resilience When The Stress Of Infertility Feels Traumatic

Anyone who has ever frolicked in the ocean is wise to learn how to avoid getting knocked over by the waves. When a breaker threatens to inundate you with its powerful churning energy, diving under it keeps you safe. Conversely, to passively stand in the path of this impending blow can lead to feeling [...]

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Response to: “Selling the Fantasy of Fertility?”

Did anyone see the Op Ed piece in the NY Times, Selling the Fantasy of Fertility? While infertility is making its way into public consciousness, this article represented a skewed opinion of the good work that fertility research and clinics are providing. You might be interested in reading the article. Then check out my response: [...]

Silence as an Antidote to the “Noise” of Infertility

At the time of this writing, The Museum of Modern Art in NYC is running an exhibition called Soundings: A Contemporary Score. Artists deconstructed sound and made it visable in a variety of ways. What interested me most were the artistic contributions that made silence audible. In one case, what a dog can hear was [...]

Self-Advocacy: Claiming What You Need From Your Doctor

Let’s get one thing straight right away: It is normal to feel intimidated in any doctor’s office and it is normal for your IQ to drop to zero when creating the next generation becomes an ordeal. That being said, how do you maximize the opportunity to minimize your stress with good self-advocacy? How can you [...]

The Power of Reframing

Reframing is about deciding to look at our thoughts from a different perspective. When it comes to infertility, the act of reframing is a skill worth cultivating. Keep reading to find out why. As a rule, thinking negatively is part of the human condition. Because caveman presumed that the twig that snapped was a saber [...]

Nature Loves the Truth

Would an orchid keep its bloom in a closet without water, fertilizer, or exposure to the light of day?  Would a palm tree last very long in Siberia?  Could a herd of elephants sustain itself in a concrete jungle?  Doesn’t Mother Nature demand that each form of life live according to a certain set of [...]

Excerpt from, “On Fertile Ground: Healing Infertility”

Purchase Helen's book, On Fertile Ground: Healing Infertility. The following excerpt from my book speaks directly to those in an infertility struggle, but keep in mind that the tenets apply no matter what adversity you might be dealing with. On Fertile Ground: Healing Infertility by Helen Adrienne, LCSW, BCD Chapter 10 Gain from the Pain: [...]

Ten Commandments for Dealing with Infertility

Today’s post is shared with you from the book: Ten Commandments for Couples for Every Aspect of Your Relationship Journey. Seventy experts in relationships provided their 10 commandments for dealing successfully with everything from maintaining connection to dealing with financial and sexual issues.  Here is my excerpt: 1. Infertility is demanding. Keep your love for [...]

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Unexplained Infertility and the Mind/Body Connection: Food for Thought

When I first went into practice in 1979 as a psychotherapist serving infertility patients, the scuttlebutt was that any inability to conceive for which there wasn’t an explanation meant that research hadn’t yet clarified the person’s specific problem. Today, much has been clarified and medical experts believe that if a correct diagnosis could be guaranteed, the number of those labeled “undiagnosed” would be very small indeed, rather than the 10% to 30% or more (depending upon whose statistics you look at) who fall in this category now.

Privacy vs. Secrecy: Whom Do You Trust?

The advice to set rules makes sense. But as a therapist, when I work with people I like to frame things so that you can feel successful. It you think it is easy to set rules and then you and your partner get tangled up in issues that are attached here, you’ll only wind up feeling worse. It makes more sense to see the “whom-do-we-tell” issue as being attached to many things that you might need some professional help unraveling.

Stress Reduction Controversy

Evidence-based research is both useful and not helpful when it comes to infertility. It is inspirational when you realize that if, as the research has shown, you can rid yourself of migraines with biofeedback by using your mind to control your temperature, it is only a short distance from there to realizing that you may not be helpless when it comes to influencing your fertility. (Of course this would only have merit if there weren’t structural abnormalities.) Feeling helpless will certainly contribute to stress.

Grieving a Miscarriage

Miscarriage is a loss which has no official ceremonial protocol attached to it. Ken had it right because he and his wife created their own ritual when they planted a bulb in their yard, and took the time to honor and metabolize their feelings of loss. The symbolism is obvious and perfect.

The Concept of Stress Revisited

This entry is very simple. It is just meant to call your attention to what might be a more panoramic view of stress than you might currently be aware of. Consider my “3 A’s” approach to coping with stress: If you ACCEPT the reality, if you become more self-AWARE, and if you learn ways to ADAPT to the infertility experience, you can shift from feeling vanquished to feeling victorious.

The Stigma of Infertility

The results of a recently released study of 50 infertile couples claims that couples hold back from sharing their infertility because they feel stigmatized. While couples might feel stigmatized, in my 32 years of practice I have observed that it makes sense to hold back from sharing their infertility because it’s nobody’s business but theirs.

Probability of Pregnancy by Age

Women who are hovering around the age of 40 find the statistics that report the diminished chances of pregnancy at that age to be a real sore spot. Medical specialists feel a certain obligation to put forth the glum statistics and offer the option of donor eggs without considering the readiness of the patient. This position is not illogical from the medical point of view. The trouble is, it is unhelpful to women who want to give themselves a chance – not only to achieve a pregnancy, but to do it with their own eggs. Women resent being told that they’re too old when they feel in the prime of their lives. And this medical position also raises levels of anxiety and depression which intensifies mind/body tension which can work at cross-purposes when you want to maintain physical and emotional receptivity to a pregnancy.

Impatience and Infertility

Impatience is virtually universal when our deepest longings are thwarted. And longing for a baby generates a particular agony because of the extended period of time that it can take until the baby quest is resolved. The following is a lovely story, synopsized from the book Stories for the Third Ear by Lee Wallace. This little metaphor may serve to settle the pressure that you may be putting on yourself in an attempt to barge through to parenthood.