Wednesday, May 22, 2013

ICLW and Daydreams

Welcome ICLWers!  You can find my welcome on the tab at the top.  Short story: I'm a therapist who dealt with infertility for a long time before I said enough to ART and decided to adopt.  Been through the ringer just like you, and I get it.  Welcome!

Shameless promotion:  If you're interested in participating in infertility research (and entering to win one of six $15 Amazon gift cards), please click on the link to the right or the tab at the top to complete my PhD research survey.  Thank you!

Update 6/23: The survey is now closed.  Thanks to all who participated!

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Last post I wrote about the dreaded Mother's Day fiasco...er....fiesta that most IFers scramble to avoid to whatever degree they can manage.  Understatement: It's a difficult day.  

That said, there are so many fabulous things that one can do on that day (or leading up to it) to help squelch the emotional intensity, and I posted an email that I received from a local infertility/adoption counseling center on just that topic. 

I mentioned that I wasn't sure about #4, which says something about attending a baby care class.  My first response: "WHAT?!"  My next response, "Hmmm..."  

I have a theory.  It starts with a RESOLVE support group I used to attend years ago wherein the facilitator suggested bringing a pregnant woman to the group; someone who had dealt with infertility and was now pregnant.  Her idea was that she wanted attenders to get in that space where this could actually be them.  "Imagine what it would feel like, if this were you," she said.  

I, like most everybody else, resisted the idea right away.  But, we remained open-minded.  Kinda.  

Fast forward many years later, and I'm reading the suggestion of attending a baby care class with thoughtfulness.  How could that possibly help?  Obviously, being around others who have babies or whose babies are imminent (through pregnancy or adoption) does not seem like the infertile's cup of tea.  

Then it struck me -- and this is where I realized I'm seriously owning my hippy self -- It's the Law of Attraction.  It's manifesting.  Most people have heard of The Secret by now; It's one of the most popular books written on the subject.  In very basic terms, universal law says that we attract what we put out.  So, for example, if we put out to the universe, "I am a mom," the universe says, "Okay, let's make that happen."  

So, theoretically, attending a baby care class tells the universe, "I am an expectant mom.  I need to take this class, because my baby will be here soon."  And then the universe moves mountains to make that happen. Does that make sense?  

Okay, so here's where my therapist hat comes on:  Is it really great for one's psyche to get all into the art of manifesting parenthood only to be hurt and disappointed when reality hits?  The answer as usual: It depends.  It depends on who you are, how you view your world, where your thoughts are, how you respond to your thoughts, etc.  There are a million different variables.

If, however, you feel like this might be something you're interested in, check out Flowdreaming.   Flowdreaming is a tool for manifesting that allows you to essentially daydream about what life will be like once you have the thing that you want.  There's even an app (I have no idea what I ever did without my iPhone).  Good stuff.

Going to a baby care class personally seems a bit too intense for one struggling to be a parent.  Sitting in a room with a pregnant woman: Intense.  Dreaming about parenthood?  Hmmm...

I'd love to hear your thoughts about this.  Would you go to a baby care class?  Would you practice flowdreaming or essentially daydream about what life would be like as a parent?  How do you think these things would affect you?

Until next time...

Be well,
~M

Friday, May 10, 2013

More Mother's Day Coping

I received this lovely email the other day from the Infertility and Adoption Counseling Center and knew I had to pass it on.

I'm not sure how I feel about #4, but I understand how it can be helpful for people.  Warning: The Stuck documentary is extremely emotional (even the trailer); be prepared, if you watch it.

I hope you find some of these things helpful for Sunday.



Feeling chicken about Mother's Day? You are not alone.
Mother's Day is difficult if you are struggling with infertility or had a miscarriage or pregnancy loss... are waiting to adopt... placed a child for adoption...are an adopted person thinking about your birth mother.
And unrelated to family building and adoption, Mother's Day may also bring up feelings about difficulties in your relationship with your mother or your child or about having lost your mother or your child.
10 Tips for Coping with Mother's Day 
  1. Avoid restaurants as many give out roses assuming ALL women can handle Mother's Day.
  2. Avoid family gatherings if seeing siblings' pregnancies or children trigger feelings that are too painful.  Keep in mind you won't be missing Mother's Day every year, so it really is OK not to go if it is too much for you this year.  
  3. Social survival tips if you must go to family gatherings - Keep the 'celebration' brief; have a code word with your partner or a friend that you need help changing the topic or to take the proverbial walk around the block.  
  4. If you are dealing with infertility or waiting for a baby through adoption, focus on the fact that you will become a parent if you stick with the process and get the support you need.  Sign up for a baby care class. These classes are uplifting!  IAC Center offers 3 different kinds of baby care classes and private classes are offered as well.
    1. Baby, Toddler and Child Care for Parents through International Adoption - June 2nd in Pennington, NJ
    2. Baby Care for Adoptive Parents of Newborns - August 9th in Montclair NJ
    3. NEW Baby Care for Intended Parents through Gestational SurrogacyMay 18th and September 21st in Montclair NJ
  5. Help children that do not have mothers - This spring there are 2 amazing events posted on the IAC Center Calendar under FYI: Special Events
    1. Attend a benefit at the beach:  The Alliance For Children Foundation is honored to present nationally acclaimed Singer-Songwriter Lori McKenna to benefit homeless Haitian Children at the historic Dreamland Ballroom in Oak Bluffs, MA this July 27 
    2. THIS WEEK you can see the award-winning documentary film STUCK and participate in the movement fostered by  Both Ends Burning, a non-profit dedicated to international adoption reform.  The film tells the stories of four orphans from Haiti, Vietnam and Ethiopia and their heartbreaking struggles to come home to their families. To learn more about how you can help, to view the trailer, purchase theater tickets, or download the film for personal viewing, visit www.stuckdocumentary.com.
      The film is being shown for one day in each of these locations: 
      1. New York City, Thursday May 9, 2013 at the Clearview Chelsea Cinema
      2. Princeton on Saturday May 11,2013 at The Montgomery Theatre 
      3. Cherry Hill, NJ on Mother's Day, May 12th, 2013 at 7 p.m. at AMC Cherry Hill Theater
  6. Take care of your self.  Tend to your own needs and feelings both physically and mentally. Exercise, get enough sleep, eat healthy, relax or make the time to do something you enjoy. Stress begets stress if we don't take care of ourselves.
  7. Have a support system of people that 'get' you and with whom you can be real. This may be friends, family or a support group of like-minded people. See:IAC Center Support groups  Even a small dose of validation can be extremely uplifting. 
  8. You may prefer private counseling to sort out your feelings, improve relationships or choices you are really comfortable with. Sometimes just a few sessions are necessary.
  9. Master Flow time: We all need some activity in which we can literally lose ourselves, stop thinking about our concerns, and just have a good time. I love cycling along the Delaware River, baking, reading or just about anything outdoors when the weather is good. Taking time away from what bothers you can work really well to refresh your perspective.
  10. Tap into your creativity: Writing, art, music, dance, creative movement, drumming, etc. are all ways to access your deeper feelings and ideas. Taking time out for the creative arts may even help you to find solutions to problems and to connect with what is really important to you. Look for our next newsletter in which I will talk all about a brand new IAC Center Program calledThe Creative Circle that I would love to start this summer. My vision is we gather together at the Center - indoors or outdoors depending on weather - and people pursue the creative art of their choice. Sharing the work would be optional as some people would enjoy it and others would prefer to keep their explorations private. Both choices are fine, whatever works for you.  In addition we would bring in specialists to stimulate and teach the participants - memoirist, a yoga teacher, etc. If you are interested please email me directly as I am beginning to assess interest, format, etc.  

Signing off thinking about chickens, my wonderful long-awaited daughter raising hens and a rooster, and that if you are coming to the Center in Pennington and want some fresh as in laid-that-day eggs, let me know that too. We have lots!!
Wishing you all a Happy Mother's Day!



Friday, May 3, 2013

It's Around the Corner...

I was reading through some old posts about that fabulous (eh-hem) holiday that most people in the infertility community have some trouble with:  Mother's Day.

Oh yes...it's back.

Some women struggle, because it is a reminder that they are not yet mothers.  Some women struggle, because they already are mothers and believe they should feel grateful for what they have; the guilt can overshadow the joy.

Partners struggle, because they don't want to see their wives/girlfriends/loves-of-their-life hurting anymore.

I was going to write a whole new post about how to cope with this one day a year, but last year's post is still totally appropriate:  The Holiday You've Been Waiting For (and waiting, and waiting, and waiting)

In short: Be kind to yourself. You deserve it.


Until next time...be well,
~M