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24 Apr

How Can I Emotionally Handle Infertility?

This week I will be blogging about a topic that is very near and dear to my heart, infertility. This week, from April 20-27, marks National Infertility Awareness Week.  For those who are officially considered infertile and are going through the roller coaster journey, they are very aware every day that they are facing this experience.  For couples who are beginning to struggle or suspect that they may have difficulty conceiving, this may stir up some hard feelings or questions.  My hope for everyone is that this week can bring to light the resources, education, and support that exist for this journey.  Infertility is defined as not being able to conceive a child after twelve consecutive cycles of regular, unprotected sex.  In the United States between 10% and 15% of the population struggle with infertility and that number is growing.  Infertility, when a specific cause can be found, can be related to factors occurring in both males and females.  In fact, about 30% of couples’ infertility is male-related, 25% is female-related, and 35% is related to both partners having fertility complications.

Now that we have a few of the numbers, let’s talk a little about its emotional impact.  It’s pretty common knowledge that infertility incurs major financial costs with treatments or adoption coming with a price tag of several thousand dollars.  However, the emotional pain experienced by couples facing infertility is equivalent to that experienced by people facing cancer and chronic pain conditions.  It is a roller coaster of anticipation and devastation.  At some points you may have to live as though you have conceived, watching what you eat, drink, or do, only to follow it with the letdown of a negative pregnancy test.  This emotional pain can be difficult for some to handle and can potentially cause trouble in almost all aspects of your life.

You may want to talk to a therapist about fertility if any of the following apply:

  • You feel sad, depressed, worried, or anxious (including panic attacks) most of the time
  • You are having a hard time functioning at work or in everyday life
  • You and your partner aren’t on the same page about how to try to grow a family
  • You avoid events with family and friends  or being out in public because you find it too difficult
  • You are facing egg/sperm donation, surrogacy, and/or adoption
  • You are considering a childfree life


Infertility can be a difficult journey but you do not have to do it alone or without support.  Additionally, you do not have to wait until you feel completely overwhelmed to speak to a therapist about your journey.  A therapist can assist you in processing your feelings regarding infertility and developing healthy coping skills for the experience.  For further information I recommend the American Society of Reproductive Medicine and RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association.

24 Mar

Make the Most of your Spring Break

It’s that time of year again.  NCAA March Madness, the potential for pleasant weather and at the forefront of most school kids’ minds, spring break.  Spring break is not just an opportunity to try and hit the beach before summer arrives.  It is a time to re-energize, get necessary down time, and release stress.  When done right spring break can give the academic, physical, and emotional lift your child needs to get through the remainder of the school year.

Since the beginning of the year several circumstances have led to increased stress for students.  The uncommon winter weather had many students either delayed or away from their usual routine.  The state of uncertainty and chaos has been difficult for everyone, but especially so for younger children who need a routine environment to thrive.  Also, many students are coming out of classrooms where more academic information has been squeezed into a shorter period of time and standardized tests or midterm exams have recently been completed.

So how can you help your child maximize the potential benefits for this well needed break?  Here are a few ideas to try whether you are spending the break at home or on the road.

1.      1.  Decompression Day- Allow your child to have a day, preferably near the beginning of break, to relax and do not plan any activities for them.  Encourage them to choose activities that they would enjoy without setting expectations for them.  Conversely, if you have an activity packed day, fun or otherwise; give your child a day or two before returning to school so they aren't exhausted that first day back.

2.      2.  Meet your Introvert/Extrovert’s Needs- Depending on your child’s personality either arrange for them to have 15-30 minutes a day of quiet alone time if your child tends to be more of an introvert or one entertainment focused activity with friends or family each day if they are more of an extrovert.  This will help your child to recharge their batteries.

3.       3.  Do Something New or Be Funny- Each day try a new activity with your child or engage in an activity just to be silly/funny.  Both of these release natural chemicals in the body that boost mood and keep your immune system working well.  This could be as complex as trying a new indoor/outdoor recreational activity or as simple as having a dance contest among family members and trying to eat spaghetti with only a spoon.


If your child can get the break they really need then they will be in the best position possible for the demands being placed on them.  This makes for a more pleasant experience at home and in the classroom.