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- “Love and Infertility” CD!
- Are You a Gift to Others?
- How Can I Make These Holidays Joyful?
- The Attitude of Gratitude
- The Fertility Game Plan, Part 2
- The Fertility Game Plan, Part 1
- Planning Passion
- The Man Cave
- Flip It and Switch It!
- Infertility Support: Talking your way through it!
- The Summer Solstice
- Mother’s Day Survival Strategies!
- Inner Aphrodite
- Head Vs. Heart
- Habit of Celebration
- The Power of Breath ~
- The “Honey Do” List Strategy
- Smudge Sticks!
- You’re Angry. We Get It.
- Do You Have A Holiday Escape Plan?
“Love and Infertility” CD!
Listen in and be encouraged by Kristen’s thoughts and wisdom from Love and Infertility: Survival Strategies for Balancing Infertility, Marriage, and Life, now on CD and MP3!
Are You a Gift to Others?
Find out how to “tune in”to abundance this season – especially when fertility treatments have us run down. Thanks to Fertility Authority for this article.
How Can I Make These Holidays Joyful?
Time seems to be flying by more quickly these days, doesn’t it? And when you’re trying to create your family through fertility treatments, time always seems to be an issue. I remember the anxiety produced as each month ticked by at lightning speed. Then add the stressors of the holiday season: shopping, preparations, the family and social gatherings, and it might feel as though time is our keeper.
I remember crying while looking at December’s calendar as we began an IUI cycle and realizing that I would be in the middle of it right around Christmas and New Year’s. In hindsight I wish I had taken the holiday off. But that is looking back on our situation from an 11-year distance. When you’re “in the heat of battle,” that option might not sound, feel or seem correct for you. But I’d like to offer my armchair opinion about holding off on a cycle during the holiday season…if at all possible.
If you decide moving full speed ahead is what’s best for you, then here are some tried and true strategies that can help you bring balance and joyfulness into the season, regardless if you are in a cycle or taking a break.
Social Gatherings and Parties
Here’s a strategy that changes the event from potential failure to a winner.
Break down the event into parts. Decide which parties you are capable of attending. Perhaps you are in a position where you “must attend” and are feeling the pressure. Commit to yourself and/or your partner that you will attend the cocktail portion and then make a discrete exit. Stay longer if you are up to it. But if you feel you’ve fulfilled your goal, then leave acknowledging “another job was well done!”
Create an elevator speech. An elevator speech is a rehearsed and well-delivered speech at the ready to answer those annoying questions such as: “Do you have children?” “When are you going to have children?” and the dreaded, “Isn’t it time for you both to start having children?”
My tried and true elevator speech was “We have a whole team of experts working on that.”
Remember to use the Every Day Certainty combination by committing to the following each and every day:
Gratitude: Writing down ten things you are grateful for each day and using this as your mantra if those negative thoughts start to creep in.
Nurturing Item: Finding one special thing you can do each and every day to uplift your spirit. Perhaps it’s a hot cup of tea, a long shower or walk, or maybe a secret indulgence of a candy.
Daily Intention: A daily intention is a mini-goal for the day. Setting your intention to be open to all possibilities or perhaps finding the joy in communication exchanges. What can you intend to look for and give out during the day that will help others and yourself? After all, this season is more about giving than receiving.
And remember, the holiday season will soon pass. But if you can use these strategies to enjoy it as much as possible, you will find yourself feeling stronger as you start a new year.
The Attitude of Gratitude
I spoke to a client the other day and was preaching the good word about cultivating an attitude of gratitude to shift the energy around her fertility journey and she looked me straight in the eyes and responded with “blah, blah, blah”.
Perhaps you are feeling similar to this wonderful client of mine, the concept of cultivating gratitude has been shared before and sounds all well and good to you but today you might not be feeling it. You might be saying to yourself how can I have gratitude for….
- A treatment cycle that has abruptly been stopped?
- Another cycle that has resulted in a negative outcome?
- Or the emotional tiredness that you are feeling?
In my humble opinion,The Law of Gratitudeis the most powerful of the spiritual laws. Holding gratitude even in the most dire situation, finding that one little speck to be grateful for, can shift and change your perspective and in turn change your situation.
Getting back to my “Blah, Blah, Blah” wonderful lady, here’s the tip I shared with her:
We’re all human, experiencing a human experience. We have positive experiences and not so positive experiences. If we cultivate the practice of finding the positive in the negative then the intensity of the negative will diminish.
So here’s the tip:
On those days that gratitude is a faint flicker of light, try to remember your toes and feet; that you have them and that they are holding you up, keeping you balanced and help you travel through your day, mostly unnoticed.
Give gratitude for your toes and feet that can carry the weight of your day’s burdens, taking steps that lead you to your joy, freedom and fun. If you feel adventurous try giving thanks for your body during the month of November, given that it holds Thanksgiving Day within the month.
Remember each and every part of your body that allows you to do all that you are doing to create your family… you could start at your toes and feet and work up! Acknowledge your knees, that bend for you onto your hips, and so on! Acknowledgment and gratitude are all part of cultivating an attitude of gratitude and begins with tiny steps!
Yoga is such an amazing tool to use to cultivate gratitude for your body and brings you into your body. I encourage you to check out the CNY Healing Arts schedule and try a class if you haven’t yet, or if you are a regular, include the concept of gratitude for your body during your practice of yoga.
Happy Thanksgiving Days!
“Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.”
Many thanks to Dr. Rob Kiltz and CNY Fertility for posting my article.
The Fertility Game Plan, Part 2
What happens when those feelings and emotions hit…again?
The Fertility Game Plan, Part 1
Read about Kristen’s simple strategy that will enhance you and your partner’s communication! Written for the American Fertility Association.
Must passion only happen spur of the moment, or can it still be meaningful when added to our schedule?
Find out what Kristen thinks in her new article at Fertility Authority!
The Man Cave
Does your man sometimes retreat to his “cave?”
Check out Kristen’s article at Fertility Authority!
Flip It and Switch It!
Did you know that “sol” & “stice” are Latin words that mean “sun” & “to stand still”?
Given that both the Summer Solstice and Father’s Day are on June 20 this year I would like to offer a strategy to help change the associations to this day – get moving! Don’t stand still!
Celebrate the longest day of the year with the intention of FUN!
Plan something together which is your partner or husband’s choice, fishing, biking, walking on the beach or in the woods, seeing a movie, or perhaps surprise him with an “out of the ordinary” day!
But whatever you do, shift the focus to that of creating a memory!
Infertility Support: Talking your way through it!
Since I was a small child I was told I talked too much. In the first grade the teacher created a special code on my report card adding the number “5” to the conduct row and wrote in “talking” which is currently on my permanent school record. My mother frequently reminds me of this and it is over 41 years ago!
So, it was no surprise when my husband and I entered into the world of assisted reproductive therapies that my first means of coping about our current situation was to…more from Kristen’s article, written for Fertility Ties.
The Summer Solstice
June 21 is the Summer Solstice, the astronomical event when we hit summer and the sun actually appears to reverse direction while reaching its northernmost extreme. The Celebration of the summer has ancient ties and the people believed that the mid-summer plants had miraculous healing powers and picked them on this night. (I read this on Wikipedia).
You might be wondering why I am bringing up the Summer Solstice and it’s correlation to the fertility journey?
Here’s my personal experience. During my first year during our journey, I was no holds barred, GO, GO, GO and it went like this…more from Kristen’s article, written for CNY Fertility.
Mother’s Day Survival Strategies!
Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling without judgment. I definitely felt guilty about being confused and upset over Mother’s Day, but I did not take into account my situation and the effects the fertility treatments had on my mind, body and soul. So feel what you’re feeling without placing any judgment and then release it to the universe… either journal the feeling away or having a “hissy fit” just get that energy out! Shrek had it right “Better out than in.”
Determine which course of action will be best for you. To attend or not to attend, that is the question? Again, make this decision without judgment and from a place of compassion.
There may be ramifications for not attending a family celebration, but so be it! Right now, you have to think of yourself and your physical and mental health first!
If you plan on attending, break the day’s events down into portions and choose which aspects you are capable of dealing with.
As I detailed in my book, when faced with celebrations that I was nervous about attending, I would set a goal of attending the cocktail and appetizer portion of the event. If I made it through that and wanted to stay, I was already successful. This allowed me to not feel like a failure if I had to leave before dinner. I already had my escape plan and I was a winner!
Have a secret code word for your husband/partner… We used the phrase “these pretzels are making me thirsty.” which is from Seinfeld. When I started talking about pretzels, my husband knew I was ready to have an emotional meltdown and he would run for my coat or the car!
This might be the most important tip I can offer to those struggling to accept their own feelings while having to face social situations. In marketing there is a term called an “elevator speech.”
An elevator speech is a one to two second blurb that you have memorized and can use to sell your business to someone whom you happen to meet on an elevator or anywhere else. The door closes and in the short amount of time to get to the next floor you must convey your information in a clear and coincide manner.
How does this apply to being “fertility challenged”? One night my husband and I were at one of his client’s parties. Across the table a gentleman yelled something about my husband’s manhood, and asked, “When are you selfish yuppies going to have a family?” I glanced down at my butter knife and for a brief instant was inclined to use it! Instead, we just left; I was in tears. The outside world could see how hard my husband and I were working to achieve our professional goals, but the work we were putting into our goal of creating a family, the most important of all of our desires, was invisible to others.
After that incident I practiced my different responses:
My favorite: “We have a whole team of experts working on that!”
“You know what, I probably would have thought that same thing, but never said it out loud. In my experience, I’ve learned that how I see things might be very far from the truth!”
Why don’t you have children? When are you going to start a family?
“I would love to have children, sometimes it isn’t as easy as it seems.”
“Hey, that’s a great idea!”
I really relied on the first elevator speech to get me through a lot of tight spots. I would shorten it to, “You know I probably would have thought the same thing but never said it out loud.” This usually shuts the person up cold and the subject is immediately changed.
This month is a perfect time for all of us to call in our inner Aphrodite or Venus focusing on our feminine power.
Fertility Power lies in understanding what patterns we create that block our creative energy or flow for fertility related issues and all areas of our life.
You can take a moment and do some inner searching by answering the following question:
1) What habit can I create to connect to my inner Aphrodite?
You could wear a special shade of lipstick, a piece of jewelry, and a hot pair of shoes; paint your fingernails or toenails pink, dance or sing. Go shopping for new workout attire or purchase some temporary tattoos and use them at will!
What feels right for your to connect to that “girl” part of you?
2) How do I give my feminine power away?
Perhaps by not speaking my truth, or going along with a routine or habit instead of listening to my inner wisdom screaming out it is time to change?
Aphrodite who represents unabashed feminine energy; unabashed is defined as not embarrassed, disconcerted or ashamed. Right now, would you describe your feminine energy that way?
Go ahead and channel Aphrodite and get connected to how truly powerful you are!
Head Vs. Heart
Head Vs. Heart!
For some of us, it is easy for a challenging life situation to swirl around in our heads, leaving us feeling as though we are like an old record stuck in a groove. Almost unable to skip out of our thought pattern. One great way of quickly becoming unstuck in a moment of turmoil is to get out of your head and into your heart.You can do this in an instant by changing the words you are using and associating to the given situation.
“I can’t solve this”, “This won’t work out” and “I will not be able to ….” are examples of the language associated with a blocking pattern.What if you used “I am open to all possibilities as it relates to this situations” or “This situation needs some love”. Shifting from the negative to the positive instantly brings in an answer.
Here’s a strategy to try for your body:
For a moment, sit with your feet on the floor and breathe in and out becoming mindful of your normal breath. On your inhales and exhales say quietly to yourself, “I breath in love” and “I breath out love”.
This simple exercise shifts the focus from your head to your heart bringing in opportunity for resolution.
Habit of Celebration
Embracing the Energy of Summer is a great time to implement a Habit of Celebration—taking time to acknowledge all that you’ve done during the day to make your life work. Go ahead and make a mental list; you’ve done the laundry, worked 8 to 10 hours, paid the bills, fed the family and sent out energy to make your life work.
Here’s an excerpt from Love and Infertility where I share my family’s nightly ritual.
“After we’ve eaten dinner and cleaned up the dishes, we crank up Cher’s song “Believe” and sing at the top of our lungs, dancing around like hotties from the seventies. We look forward to that moment, as it reminds us to believe in life’s opportunities. What I didn’t realize is that you can see into our kitchen from the street, and one night I arrived home after dinner and, passing our house to pull into our driveway, I could see Mark and Cole dancing away. From the outside looking in, it looked like complete mania, but I knew what was happening, and it warmed my heart.
What little ritual can you create that would have its own secret meaning, puzzling to someone looking in from the outside?”
Create the Habit of Celebration!
It’s the time you can dance and celebrate the day’s accomplishments. Find that one thing that you could do for 10 minutes that energizes your spirit.
Take a moment and look at your daily life. Is there a time during the day that you can integrate a celebration?
The Power of Breath ~
The energy surrounding events in our life is there regardless of our awareness, both positive and negative energy. Healing the stuck feeling associated with a moment of trauma in your life requires your attention or focus and then action.
Healing From Within: The Power of Breath…
(Exercise Courtesy of Lisa Knox)
Take a cleansing breath and close your eyes.
On your exhale release the fear that you are holding, fear associated to a given circumstance or trauma. (A negative pregnancy test, a lower than expected egg retrieval, a life transition, divorce, death, miscarriage)
On your inhale breath in divine energy, you might want to visualize white light being drawn in and ask the divine to help you release what is blocking you from moving forward.
On your exhale release your fear again.
Inhale the peace of the divine, let your shoulders relax and melt into your breath.
Call in white light from above. Slowly open your eyes when you’re ready.
The “Honey Do” List Strategy
Is a powerful strategy to help couples feel connected, understood and a sure fire way to help meet each other’s needs. The “Honey Do List” strategy came at a point in our lives when we thought our marriage might be a tragedy of our infertility situation.
Faced with the devastating reality that we had gone through surgeries, tests and three IUI’s (intrauterine inseminations) and hearing the news all of us fertility challenged couples long to hear, that we were indeed pregnant, and to lose that pregnancy was a blow too difficult to comprehend and overcome.
We knew we needed help and sought guidance from all types of professionals. But none seem to be making a difference.
Then I remember an incident that occurred years earlier on the high seas. Mark and I were on a romantic cruise and at the end of each day Mark would check off our daily activities and file it in a folder. I remember chuckling about how he read each offering and then put a big check mark next to it to indicate he had completed the fun.
Through that image the “3X5 Honey Do List Strategy” was born. Here’s how to get started:
I used the colored 3X5 cards but you can use the white ones if you’d like. Each day you exchange cards with your partner. On the left hand side of the card number 1 through 3. Then list three things you’ll need from your partner today. For example:
Kristen’s “Honey-Do List” Card
- Call me three times today to check in. (Using the weather check strategy from Love and Infertility, LifeLine Press, September 2004)
- Go to bed with me and read.
- Have dinner together.
Mark’s “Honey-Do List” Card
- Greet me when I come home from work.
- Remind me why you married me.
- Listen about his day.
After completing each request, put a check by the number and at the end of the day exchanged completed index cards. We put a quote or a song lyric on the back and made this simple exercise a gift that we gave each other daily.
That little index card had a profound change regarding how we approached our marriage and how we perceived each other. I thought Mark was aware of what I needed to feel loved, understood and working as a team through our current situation and was withholding it, how crazy is that?
In reality, we both were dealing with our emotions and trying to understand and help the other with really no way of knowing what the other person truly needed. This exercise insured that we knew and could fulfill those needs.
We went from feeling as though we were failing on all fronts to making our relationship a priority and success.
My favorite way to change the energy of my surroundings is by “smudging.” I am an avid smudger and rely on this practice to bring peaceful energy to my home.
Smudging is the name given to the burning of wands made from a combination of sage, cedar, sweet grass, lavender and copal. Wrapped with 100% cotton string, each wand is considered a sacred herb used for centuries by Native Americans in the smudging ceremony. Today, people are smudging to receive the benefits known to our Native Americans ancestors for the purpose of cleansing and sending out prayers.
I use a ceramic bowl, filled with beach sand to hold my smudge sticks and they reside on my desk. If you’re near the beach, bring a plastic sandwich bag and fill it up with some soft beach sand, find a special bowl and try this to experience the benefits of smudging.
Here’s what I do:
Begin with an opening prayer asking God for his presence. Walk into each room of your home, pausing in each corner and asking that the white light of love and healing fill the space. When each room is completed, say a closing prayer for God’s presence in your day and in your life. I find that on those difficult days, taking a moment to invite a change of energy has the same effect on my mind, body and soul as meditation.
You’re Angry. We Get It.
Try this recipe to move through the pain.
(From Kristen’s article, written for The Fertility Authority)
During a recent conversation with one of my coaching clients, I noticed was that she was just plain angry. After six years of trying to conceive, her journey was filled with heartbreak. She’d had surgery, clomid cycles, IUI and progressed to IVF where she achieve three pregnancies that resulted in miscarriages. (More from Kristen’s article, written for The Fertility Authority)
Do You Have a Holiday Escape Plan?
The holiday season can be a stressful time, even when things are going swimmingly. But add on the pressure of trying to conceive, and it can be especially hard to see this time as the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year!”
Here are some tools that can help ease the stress of the “festive” gathering and help you deal better with the holidays this season.
To Go or Not to Go?
Determine Your Pain to Pleasure Ratio
The first step is determining your pain to pleasure ratio with regards to the gathering. Does the pain of attending outweigh the benefit of going?
You can do this by asking yourself these questions:
Will this event cause me to overstress?
How am I feeling when I think of this event?
Will I be uplifted or will I feel anxious?
If you decide not to go . . .
Here’s a secret I’ve learned from experience and one of my most frequently used mantras: “Ten years from now, this will not matter.”
At the moment, your decision may feel so important, but — I promise — years from now it will not be as emotionally intense and/or will probably be forgotten.
If you decide to go . . .
Ask yourself about your intention. Intentions are a large factor in managing your situation. An intention is like a mini goal for the day or the encounter.
What is your mini-goal for the event? You’ll want to set it for two reasons. First, you’ll want to beam out into the universe what you’d like to have happen and how you’d like the situation to play out. Second, by establishing an intention you set yourself up to win!
Coping During the Event
Say you and your partner need to attend your partner’s office party. You don’t feel up to it, he does, and you are at an impasse as to what to do.
Break the event down into parts.
Decide which parts of the event you are capable of attending. Perhaps you are in a position where you “must attend” and are feeling the pressure. You and your partner can commit to attend the cocktail portion of the party and then make a discrete exit. Stay longer if you are up to it, but if you feel you’ve fulfilled your goal, then leave acknowledging, “Another job was well done!”
Or, just attend the dessert portion of the event, stating that you have a prior committment but will come later.
Create an elevator speech.
An elevator speech is a rehearsed and well-delivered speech at the ready to answer those annoying questions such as: “Do you have children?” “When are you going to have children?” and the dreaded, “Isn’t it time for you both to start having children?”
My tried and true elevator speech was, “We have a whole team of experts working on that.” Or you can try, “Babies come when babies come.”
Create a Red Flag Phrase
You may be fearful that if you go your husband’s holiday party and need to leave, he won’t understand.
I understand that fear. My husband Mark and I ran into a similar dynamics of misunderstanding the other’s “pain to pleasure” ratio. Here’s how we solved it. We came up with a Red Flag Phrase. Ours was a line from Seinfeld, the television show: “These pretzels are making me thirsty.” When either of us used it, it meant no questions asked — we had to leave.
I remember being at a party and feeling as though I was going to faint because the pressure of holding myself together got too great. It was right after we lost our pregnancy and the talk was mainly about children and babies. I handled it well at the beginning, but it just went on and on and I began to feel dizzy and sick to my stomach.
I walked up to Mark and whispered into his ear: “These pretzels are making me thirsty” and at first he asked if I wanted a drink and then he realized it was ”get the coats” time.The key is using your mutually agreed upon phrase only in times of need and to be clear that the request needs to be fulfilled without questions.
This Too Shall Pass
Remember, the holiday season will soon pass. I hope you can use these strategies to enjoy it as much as possible. If you do, you will find yourself feeling stronger as you start a new year.
Please feel free to email me and I will send you an EveryDay Certainty Pocket Companion.
(written for www.fertilityauthority.com)