We Are Celebrating Mothers To-Be Day

"Never let the odds
keep you from doing
what you know in your heart
you were meant to do."

-H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

When you are struggling to become a mother, Mother's Day can be a difficult holiday. I would encourage you to try to celebrate yourself on this day for striving towards motherhood and commend yourself for all of the stamina and hope and diligence it takes to face the challenges that come with fertility obstacles. Perhaps use this day as an opportunity to renew your vigilance around your pursuits of parenting and reflect on all that you potentially have to offer by bringing a child into the world. What you are contending with is arguably some of what will eventually contribute to your parenting skills. Your self parenting is part of the path to effectively parenting down the road. What is one nice thing you can do for yourself today?

At Integrative Fertility we are celebrating you today.

Putting all Your Eggs in One Basket: How to Make Difficult Fertility Decisions

There is no right or wrong in the decisions you make for your fertility treatments. It is more about gathering good information from your reproductive endocrinologist to work with and incorporating that into what is right for you.

Having said that, it can be incredibly overwhelming to be faced with a growing number of options and can be hard to make decisive decisions. The best method that I've seen is letting oneself remain conflicted until some clarity emerges - not an easy thing to do when you're actively wanting to move forward!

In western thought we tend to be very dichotomous - this or that, which often breeds inner turmoil, confusion and convoluted decisions (for example: do I or don't I want to pursue donor egg?). In eastern thought we can expand this to hold mutually conflicting ideas as this AND that - giving equal precedence to things that seem to be opposite ideas (for example: I do want to pursue donor egg and I don't want to pursue donor egg). Ironically, this approach often helps the right path emerge faster than resisting either idea!

This is a hard practice in the throws of a time-sensitive process. That's why Integrative Fertility has therapists standing by to provide a forum for working through these entanglements to help you get closer to pragmatic decisions that feel right for you.

All of the therapists on our list specialize in working with fertility issues, and they are always happy to chat with you about their individual sessions or groups to help you determine if it's the right match for you. So, if you're grappling with some tough decisions, don't hesitate to give them a call (plus since you're an Integrative Fertility Member, you get 10% off of their services!)

Beth Jaeger-Skigen, LCSW
1197 Valencia Street
San Francisco, California 94110
(415) 317-4893

Robyn Alagona Cutler, MFT
4570 18th Street
San Francisco, California 94114 

 Peggy Orlin, MFT
55 Francisco Street, Suite 500
San Francisco, California 94133
(415) 834-3095   

 Wendy Sue Horn, LCSW
2425 Fillmore Street, Suite 100
San Francisco, California 94115
(415) 691-7123

A New Year's Poem for Beginning (again and again).

Start close in,
don’t take the second step
or the third,
start with the first
close in,
the step
you don’t want to take.

Start with
the ground
you know,
the pale ground
beneath your feet,
your own
way of starting
the conversation.

Start with your own
give up on other
people’s questions,
don’t let them
smother something

To find
another’s voice,
your own voice,
wait until
that voice
becomes a
private ear
to another.

Start right now
take a small step
you can call your own
don’t follow
someone else’s
heroics, be humble
and focused,
start close in,
don’t mistake
that other
for your own.

Start close in,
don’t take
the second step
or the third,
start with the first
close in,
the step
you don’t want to take.

~David Whyte, River Flow: New and Selected Poems

Tips on How to Cope with the Holidays

Tips from Therapist Beth Jaeger-Skigen, LCSW on How to Cope with the Holidays

Holidays can be stressful - even in the best of circumstances. Expectations are at a peak. Pressure comes both from the outside and within to break out of the normal routine - to celebrate and to enjoy! But for the person experiencing infertility, holidays can be the most difficult time of the year.

You certainly can't make the pain of infertility disappear miraculously but by planning in advance and acknowledging that the holidays may be uncomfortable, you can prepare yourself and improve your chances of having a pleasant holiday season. Here are some suggestions for getting through the rest of the year.

Attending Holiday Parties
DO: Be selective about accepting invitations to parties and holiday celebrations (especially the ones you know there will be children or pregnant women at). Remember: you don't have to say yes.

DON'T: Feel guilty about not participating in all the traditional family events. You're going through a difficult time, and you need to concentrate on helping yourself and your partner get through the holidays.

Visiting Family and Friends
DO: Plan to spend time with couples or friends who don't have children. Consider arriving just in time for the holiday dinner rather than the night before if you find it painful to be around your young nieces, nephews and cousins.

DON'T: Rely completely on family traditions to fulfill your present needs.

DO: Spend time doing things you like best.

DON'T: Pretend that there's nothing wrong and carry on with “business as usual.”

Sharing Your Feelings
DO: Decide in advance how you will handle difficult and insensitive questions.

DON'T: Be caught off guard by unexpected or embarrassing questions about your plans for having a family. Plan your responses, but don't feel that you have to disclose all the details of your situation either!

Lending a Helping Hand
DO: Try to help others in need. Visit an elderly or bed-ridden relative; volunteer at a hospital or nursing home; or participate in a holiday program to help the homeless. Cheering up other victims of the holiday blues has a rejuvenating effect.

DON'T: Close yourself off to positive feelings and new experiences. You may find that you have a special ability to make others feel good, even though you're not feeling upbeat yourself.

Staying Tuned-in to Your Partner's Needs
DO: Set aside time to share your feelings with each other.

DON'T: Get caught up in the whirlwind of the holidays and forget about each other. You need each other's comfort more than ever.  

Check out Beth's site for ongoing fertility groups: