Infertility involuntarily changes your life. You’re not in the driver’s seat and the roller coaster climbs slowly and plummets quickly. With all this mental and physical motion and commotion, every day can seem like a year when your quest for a baby is thwarted. If you relate to this description, take note: You may not [...]
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: [...]
We are dual process thinkers. We have two interrelated systems running in our heads. One is slow, deliberate and arduous (our conscious reasoning). The other is fast, associative, automatic and supple (our unconscious pattern recognition). … Most of our thinking is below awareness.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.