Quarantined With Infertility: What Couples Need To Know

The world has been turned upside down the last few months due to the Coronavirus pandemic. If you are quarantined at home with your partner right now and also struggling with infertility, there are a few key things that will make this weird time in your relationship a bit easier to get through if you keep them in mind. 

No doubt you have already endured some extent of hard things together. Sharing the dream of starting a family together and then finding out it is harder than you thought is one of them. When you decided to embark on this life together “for better or worse”, it seems as though you’ve dealt with far more “worse” than “better.” Here are some key points to make sure you get through the quarantine without losing your connection with one another. 

This isn’t his fault. None of us are accustomed to wearing masks to the grocery store nor did we ever think that fertility treatment would be universally suspended all at once. It is easy to see this time filled with limits and barriers to the things we want. Everything we ever want is because of how we think it will make us feel when we have it. But if you understand that your thoughts create your feelings, and your thoughts are always your choice, you know that you can create any feeling you want to have right now. Security, love, hope, health, wellbeing, connection, etc. They are all accessible to you right now. You may not be able to have something physical that you want to possess, everything from extra TP to a baby, but the feeling that you think that thing will bring to you is accessible right now. 

You don’t need anything from him. This may come as a surprise because we are taught that other people make us feel happy… or sad … or loved. That sentiment is misguided and it is a good thing to understand this now before you end up stuck in the same small space for months on end. The only way to ever feel any emotion is to have a thought about it first. So feeling happy is completely dependent on a thought you create that will generate that emotion for you (not whether or not your husband actually picks up his socks and puts them in the hamper every night). Drop all expectations of him to make you feel a certain way. Now that you know that he can’t make you feel a certain way without you having a thought about it first.

Ask how he is feeling. While you may be running out of conversation topics for the everyday stuff, this question is sure to get a reaction that can help you understand each other better. Feelings are vibrations in our bodies caused by our thinking and we describe them using one world (elated, saddened, inquisitive, etc). What you are feeling is probably different than what he is feeling right now so ask him, straight up, “How are you feeling?” If he responds with a sentence that starts out, “I feel like…” he’s not giving you a feeling, rather a thought he’s having. That’s okay. See if he can sum it up in one word and that will usually help him drill down to the feeling level. Give him the opportunity to tell you. 

Give up the need to be right. Inevitably, some kind of conflict is likely to happen during the quarantine. In these situations we all want to be right so that we don’t have to face the negative emotions of being wrong. The only thing you have to gain or lose is a feeling. If you understand that, the need to be right seems less important and probably less worth arguing for in the end. 

Commit to love. Everything we do has the opportunity to create connection or push someone away from us. When you commit to loving your partner first and foremost through this time a few things are bound to happen. First, you can let go of so much more if love is your main objective and cultivate deeper feelings of love for one another. Lasting relationships happen when those involved treat it as a place they go to give, rather than a place to take. So committing to love and give that generously to your partner will feel so much better than withholding it for any reason. 

These are a few of the tools I use with my clients when it comes to up-leveling their relationships during infertility. Interested in more? Download the Infertility Mental Health Checklist now for more tools to help.

5 Beliefs About Time That Are Keeping You Infertile

If you are concerned about time and struggling with infertility, you are not alone. What you believe about it will play a huge role in how you feel and compound the experience of not getting pregnant when you want to. There are five common beliefs about time that keep my clients feeling stuck on their way to motherhood. Read on to see if any of these beliefs are running through your head now and what to do about them.

What actually is time? Time is a mental construct humans have created. It’s not something you can physically possess, own, or hold. It is a concept that exists in our minds and while there are definitions that have been created to help us commonly understand what it is (i.e. minutes, days, weeks, years, etc.), ultimately it really is something that you experience very personally and on an individual basis. 

When in the midst of infertility your beliefs about time get put under a microscope. It is those beliefs that fuel so much of the negative feelings you have about going from infertility to motherhood. Let alone, if you are dragging yourself through the two week wait every month, there are probably one or more of these beliefs circulating in your head. 

This isn’t happening fast enough. When you started trying to conceive you had a set timeline of when you wanted to be pregnant by and when you wanted to stop having kids. Infertility threw a monkey wrench into that plan and now whenever you see a negative pregnancy test, you can’t help but think that this isn’t happening fast enough. Your body and your brain are functioning on different timelines. If you can adjust what your expectation is for your fertility, then you can embrace however much time it will take to conceive. 

There isn’t enough time. Panic sets in when you realize another month has gone by without conceiving. You believe so strongly in the ticking clock of your fertility that there won’t be enough time to have your fertility dreams realized. Having scarcity thoughts about time will only create less time for you in your mind. Acknowledge that the time ahead of you is neutral and you get to choose how you think about it will help let go of this thought. 

I wish this was over. Probably the most common thought during the two week wait is wishing it were over. This thought often generates feelings of stress and anxiety not knowing the outcome of the current cycle. Every time a doubtful thought surfaces, you wish you could speed up time to alleviate those feelings. Know that those feelings are coming directly from thoughts you are thinking and change those anytime you want. 

I have no idea what to next. If you are approaching your fertility treatment without a back-up plan, you are bound to be stuck in the realm of infertility indefinitely. You must plan what you are going to do before you have to do it. The more you plan, the freer you will be in your life. If you do not plan ahead for the potential outcome of your cycle not resulting in a pregnancy, you run the risk of scrambling to make a decision once you do know or indulging in confusion and missing other opportunities.

That was a waste of time. We’ve all thought about it. Once cycle day 1 shows up we throw up our hands in frustration about not being pregnant. If you are making the journey from infertility to motherhood, this thought will only perpetuate your frustration. You don’t know how long it will take to get to your goal, but every month of deliberate thoughts, feelings, and actions will move you forward. When you are doing the work or taking care of your mental health in the process, no time spent there is ever wasted. 

Which of these five beliefs have you thought most recently? If one or all of them have been on your mind you would benefit from having my Infertility Mental Health Checklist. CLICK HERE to download it for free.

How To Know If Your Weight Is Affecting Your Fertility

How To Know If Your Weight Is Affecting Your Fertility

Does weight affect fertility? There is so much information available around this topic but it becomes a very personal question when you are considering is your weight affecting your fertility.

Let me tell you my story. I didn’t have any reason to think that having a baby would be a difficult process for me. I had regular periods and was considered healthy. When I mentioned to my OBGYN at my annual exam that I wanted to get pregnant in the next year, she didn’t have any concerns and gave me the good-luck green light to go ahead. 

Months of trying to conceive turned into years of trying, still with no success and I was starting to get really discouraged. My husband and I started to pursue fertility treatment but none of those attempts turned into a viable pregnancy. We were baffled. What was wrong?

We had every test done you could imagine and none of them offered significant information about why we couldn’t get pregnant. But in the back of my mind, I wondered what was throwing off the balance of hormones in my body. Could it be my weight?

I was not overweight but on the high end of the normal range for my BMI. It was worth questioning and thinking about losing some of the extra pounds to see if that would help my hormones balance. I wasn’t interested in going on a diet to drop the weight quickly. If my weight was the issue, a diet wasn’t going to solve it. Diets aren’t a permanent solution to addressing health concerns. I wanted to know how to get my body into a healthy state permanently for pregnancy and beyond. 

I wanted to lose the extra weight in a mindful, healthy way and never put it back on again. I also wanted to not feel so emotionally beat up by the infertility process, which was taking a toll on me with every month that clicked by. 

I shuffled through a list of professionals trying their approaches until I found a life coach and everything clicked. Working with her I made huge changes in the way I eat and deal with stressful life events, like infertility. Through that work, the extra weight came off so gently and easily. It wasn’t until after doing the work that I realized my natural weight was 30 pounds lighter! 

After that, the next time we went through fertility treatment we successfully conceived our son. I had an amazingly beautiful and healthy pregnancy with him. Because of the work I did with my coach I was so much more aware of my body and how it responded to what I ate. My relationship with food changed dramatically and I navigated the challenges of pregnancy with the tools I had learned from her. 

One of the biggest misconceptions is that you have to be overweight to have your size impact your fertility. This is not true! I know from first-hand experience. I was never considered overweight or obese and yet those extra 30 pounds had a huge impact on my fertility. When you improperly fuel your body you become vulnerable to all kinds of health problems. For me, a lifetime of eating flour and sugar and an undetected intolerance to synthetic folic acid were at the root of my infertility issues. It wasn’t until I started questioning everything I was doing that I even entertained the idea of the food I put into my body being part of my fertility woes.

The bottom line, you know your weight is affecting your fertility if you think it is. No one else, no doctor, friend, sister, or mother-in-law, knows your body better than you. You get to decide if your weight is an issue in your pursuit of having a baby. If it is, go ahead and make changes. If it isn’t, continue on with what you are doing. You could get pregnant tomorrow, or you could get pregnant after you lose 30 pounds. You don’t know what will happen, but which scenario would you feel better about?

I help women of all sizes get into the bodies they want before motherhood.  To get on the right track, download the Infertility Mental Health Checklist now to get started.

3 Secrets To Mastering Your Fertility Education

Back to school sales are wrapping up by now but getting stuck behind the school bus on your way to work in the morning is a sure sign that the school year is well underway. No doubt the flood of first day of school photos over the last few weeks from your friends on social media came with a painful reminder of your current fertility status. Although you may not be sitting in a classroom this fall with you head buried in books, you are on your own educational quest for answers when it comes to your fertility.

When I was a kid, I thought September marked the beginning of the new year. We’re bound to do more reflection and make more resolutions based on the academic year than any other time. You can sense the seasons transitioning and everything starting to change when summer concludes. Unlike with the traditional school year, the learning you do now is of your own drive and you get to decide what the curriculum will hold. Where is your life focus right now? If you are trying to conceive and having issues I imagine it is with trying to figure out what is up with your fertility.

In the struggle to have a baby there is so much to learn about your health in all realms – mental, physical, and emotional. Though where most of us fall short is that we only focus on the physical. While the mechanics of your reproductive system might be the obvious things that needs attention, failing to address the mental and emotional load of what you are experiencing will compound your fertility issues and prolong your journey. Mental and emotional health lead to physical health, not the other way around the way most people attempt it.

So to start out with understanding more about your fertility there are three things that I recommend you begin with to set you off on the right path for treatment.

Get curious. Become curious about everything that is going on with you in your body and everything going through your mind. The more curious you are the more questions you will come up with, and questions help prompt you to find answers. Also, when we are genuinely curious about what is happening we can keep going if things get difficult. Curiosity helps us overcome roadblocks.

Be vulnerable. Okay, okay, talking about your fertility can be uncomfortable, if you let it. We think we aren’t supposed to talk openly about the issues that surround fertility – sex, ovulation, hormones. We think that if everything magically happens then we never have to admit or talk about the experience of infertility. Meanwhile we are miserable and drowning in our own self pity. Be vulnerable enough to share with those you love that this is part of your life right now. If that is too much to take on, be vulnerable enough to seek out help with a coach or counselor to make sure you have support. Vulnerability leads to courage, an essential emotion for overcoming difficult things.

Take control. Many people struggling with infertility feel like everything is out of their control. That is not true. You are 100% in control of how you feel during the process no matter the circumstances that surround you. How? Because your thoughts create your feelings and feelings are just vibrations in your body caused by your thinking. Embrace that reality and things start to change. The way you think about your fertility is your own property to handle. You get to decide what it means to you.

Understanding your fertility and overcoming what stands in your way to getting pregnant is a resolution of epic proportions. But what I love best about autumnal resolutions is that no one else knows we’re in the process of making them. Unsuspecting because of the time of year and lack of confetti, September resolutions require us to be open to positive change. Change from within. Change from an emotional, mental, and physical sense. Change that makes us go after our dreams.

If you are ready get curious, be vulnerable, and take control of your fertility education now, download the Infertility Mental Health Checklist to get started.

How To Give Up Your Membership In “The Clean-the-Plate Club”

If you struggle with your weight, you probably have been told to clean your plate at some point in your lifetime. What seems like a benign attempt to get kids to eat their Brussels sprouts can have lasting impacts into adulthood that keep the pounds sticking to you like glue. If you are ready to let go of your membership in “The Clean-the-Plate Club” read on to find out how I recommend going about it.

“Clean your plate and you can have dessert.” A phrase used at many dinner tables from well meaning parents to make sure kids don’t just fill up on sugar at dinnertime. The problem with this method is that using bribery undermines your ability to decide what your body does and does not need. The overall message that gets relayed to the child is that your body can’t be trusted and someone else knows better than you what and how much you should eat.

That may have been a good strategy when you were eight years old to prevent you from eating ice cream all the time, but now as an adult that method of bribery isn’t necessary. If you are still cleaning your plate every time it is put in front of you without thinking much about if you really need or want what is there, then there is work to be done. The food as bribery mentality you grew up with transferred the idea that you’d rather listen to an authoritative message from someone else rather than tuning into and responding to your own intuition. When using food as bribery, the action of eating no longer is about the food itself. Instead the assumption is about appeasing someone else so that you can get or have something, tangible or intangible.

To stop overeating you have to understand what message you are telling yourself about what it means to have a clean plate at the end of the meal. Does it mean you’ve been good? Does it mean you aren’t wasting food? Does it mean you care about children starving in third world countries?

In reality, it doesn’t mean any of those things. No child with less access to food than you is better off if you eat every bite on your plate. No one will give you a badge of honor for not leaving behind any crumbs. And no, it is not better to eat the food for fear of it being “wasted” if you leave it behind. It’s not your job to ingest it, store it as fat, and carry it around with you indefinitely. The only thing that it does mean for certain is that you’ve put more food into your body than you need.

The best way to move away from this kind of eating is to ask yourself questions and be truthful about what it means to have a clean plate in front of you. Can you remember back to the first time you were told to clean your plate? Can you remember how you felt once you did? Did you feel like you would be pleasing someone whose love and attention you wanted by doing it? What happened when you didn’t clean your plate?

Take time to answer those questions for yourself. See what you uncover. It may surprise you.

I help women permanently lose weight to improve their fertility and their lives. Want help letting go of your membership in “The Clean-the-Plate Club”? Download the Infertility Mental Health Checklist now to get started doing the work on yourself.

Becoming Your Own Infertility Reporter: An Insider’s Perspective

When you talk about your infertility experience, are you more of a reporter or a judge? Instead of going at it with a gavel in hand, pick up a Steno pad and start taking notes. Believe it or not, learning how to be a reporter will help lighten the emotional load of what you are going through.

Reporting is sharing the facts of what is happening. No fluff, no emotions. The facts are indisputable and the entire world would agree if asked about them. Some examples of this are:

  • I had a miscarriage.
  • The doctor said I should try IVF.
  • I’ve been trying to conceive for 34 cycles.

When you judge your story, feelings and attitudes are added in. This is usually where we operate from most. Some examples of judging statements include:

  • My body can’t get pregnant on my own, I must be broken.
  • I though I wouldn’t have a problem conceiving, I was wrong.
  • Infertility makes me feel like a failure, I must be one.

When we report on an issue it brings clarity and helps move us forward. This is immensely helpful to get out of a rut or story you’ve been trapped in. Report on what is happening often. Take stock of the facts and share it widely if you’d like. This perspective won’t leave you feeling sad or upset about the situation.

But be aware of when you are not just reporting but also judging yourself. When you judge yourself, you are pointing out what is going wrong and you find all of the problems that exist. That view doesn’t give you much room to come to a place of acceptance. It gives you even less freedom to grown and evolve.

Why is it important to evolve and grow? Because no matter how you achieve motherhood, you will inevitably need to change somehow. The person you are now will carry over somewhat but the person you are becoming will shine through most. When you take this attitude of growth, it is an easier transition. You are gentler on yourself and less critical when you fail. You are learning constantly and that is part of becoming the next version of yourself. It is important in becoming a mother.

I should also note, you can report your infertility situation without judgment and still not approve of everything you are going through. Of course you have feelings about your experience. That’s part of being human. Those emotions are good indicators of what you are thinking about everything you are facing. Anything you are feeling is directly linked to the thoughts you are thinking. But know that everything you are thinking about it is optional. Aside from the facts, all of those thoughts can be changed and you are capable of redefining your experience.

Need help moving from judge to reporter of your own infertility story? Download the Infertility Mental Health Checklist to get started.

Coaching vs Therapy During Infertility

You may know you need help to get through the experience of infertility but deciding what kind of help you need can be tricky. Mental health professionals abound and while you may already have an idea in mind, here are some suggestions to understand the difference between therapy and coaching when seeking help. Knowing the differences can help you determine which would be most helpful for the experience you are having. 

Therapy is usually where people start when they have something they are trying to work through. It seems like a natural choice to sort through a problem you have and it is pretty widely known as a resource for help. The primary focus for therapy is used to help people move from a place of dysfunction to a place of function in their lives. If you are having trouble taking care of yourself on a daily basis you may be in a place of dysfunction that therapy is suitable to help with. 

Therapy is usually diagnostic based where a therapist will diagnose a non functioning problem that needs to be solved. Therapy seeks to heal emotional wounds from the past and looks to the past as the place to find the answers. Recovering from past traumas is a common reason people pursue therapy and in many instances it is completely appropriate for someone to stay in therapy until those resolutions are met. 

Coaching, on the other hand, is appropriate when someone who is functioning is looking to take themselves to the next level. They want to improve on who they are and become a better version of themselves in some specific area of their lives. During coaching you focus on things like self-exploration and self-knowledge which can lead to professional development, performance enhancement and better self-management overall. 

Coaching is very future focused. Unlike therapy and looking to the past, coaching focuses on the future and who are you becoming in order to solve the problem you are facing. The pursuit of motherhood, something in the future, is a good example of this. Coaching advances a person’s potential, focuses on solving problems in the now and rarely talks about the past. Trying to get through the current moment? Coaching can help you do that. 

Most people facing infertility are not dysfunctional. They get up and go to work regularly. They have friends and meaningful relationships in their lives. They are looking to improve themselves to become mothers in whatever way that is necessary. That was me.

I spent 14 months in therapy for infertility before I was ready to move on. Why that long? Because it took me that long to find the tools of coaching on my own where I started to feel better and do better in my life. Each week at therapy I would lament over my infertility situation and blame other people for things not improving. It wasn’t until I learned from a coach and took ownership over my own life experience that I was able to make any amount of change. Once I made that switch of support and perspective I was able to stop overeating, improve my overall health and fertility, keep going with fertility treatment, conceive and have a healthy pregnancy.

If you are struggling with infertility and attending therapy but don’t feel like you are making any significant progress towards motherhood or feeling better, coaching is the route you should consider. You’re ready to look at the future and make meaningful decisions to become a better version of yourself. Life coaching is an option for people who are highly functioning and yet still suffering in their lives. That is where I was at with infertility. Going about my daily life and feeling torn to pieces on the inside about not being able to conceive. 

If you are still working on healing from the past, therapy is an appropriate tool to use and there are many therapists that focus on fertility grief and loss that can help you. But if you are ready to focus on creating the future and moving onto motherhood, then you are ready for coaching to help you get there. . 

Ready to take yourself to the next level and work on improving who you are before motherhood? Download the Infertility Mental Health Checklist now to get started. Imagine if that is all that his holding you back from your dreams of motherhood?

The Most Important Relationship To Focus On During Infertility

During infertility most of our relationships suffer in some way. Be it with your spouse, your mother, your sister, or your coworkers, how the experience of infertility is impacting you will influence how you show up to each of those people. But no matter how you appear to them, it is the person that you see reflecting back at you in the mirror whose relationship you need to focus on most of all.

Relationships make up the fabric of our life experience. The people who you surround yourself with are what your life and life stories are based on. How much of your life is based on the people you have in it? Probably a lot.

But what are relationships anyway? You can’t physically hold it in your hand or give it away. Simply put, a relationship consists of all of your thoughts about another person. That’s it. All of those sentences in your mind about another person make up the basis of your relationship with them. It is entirely up to what you think about them, nothing else.

So knowing that our relationships are based on what we think, it should be easy to have great relationships with everyone, right? Not so much. Despite the dozens of relationships you surround yourself with every day, the way in which you think about yourself is the most significant relationship you will have in your life, even beyond infertility.

So what do you think of yourself every day? Do you think of yourself as being strong and capable? Do you compliment yourself and point out your best features? Do you hold yourself in high regard? Do you give yourself grace when you are struggling with something?

The experience of infertility has a way of making you confront your relationship with yourself. How you think about yourself will matter significantly in this process.

If nothing else, commit to loving yourself. This is a big one. Commit to loving every part of yourself that you can, no matter what the circumstances might be. Remember, circumstances are always neutral until you think about them. The beauty is you always get to choose what you want to think about everything that is happening. You can always choose who you want to be.

Need help getting your relationship with yourself in order? Book a free strategy session with me and begin building the relationship you need with yourself to move beyond infertility and onto motherhood.

Accepting Infertility VS. Giving Up On Motherhood

The decision to stop fertility treatment hits us all in the pursuit of a baby. Whether it is driven by finances, energy, or getting pregnant, you’ll need to make a decision at some point about moving forward.

“Should I keep going, or should I stop trying altogether?” is the most common question that comes up. Accepting infertility as the end of the road or continuing to pursue motherhood are big decisions. But how do you know if you’ve made the right decision or if you are just giving up on your dream of having a baby? Here is a helpful way you can know for sure if you are or not.

If you give up on your dream of motherhood, you decide not to continue to pursue it, even though you still could. At this point you have stopped believing that you will ever achieve your goal at all. Giving up usually feels negative and rushed. We usually choose to give up because of the temporary relief it offers us from those negative feelings. But in the long therm, giving up still feels negative.

However, when you have no control over some part of your infertility experience, acceptance is an appropriate path to take. You can accept your infertility diagnosis and still pursue motherhood. Accepting something you have no control over requires your active participation and effort. Giving up on your dream is a passive alternative. Both are okay, but always recognize which you are doing.

The best way to know which path you are on is to take stock of what you are telling yourself. If you have thoughts like:

  • I just don’t want to work on this anymore.
  • I just can’t do this anymore.
  • This is no longer possible.
  • This is too hard.

Mostly likely you are harboring some amount of resistance to moving forward. To release that resistance you may quit to feel the relief, and thus give up on the process. Too often we give up on the things we are pursuing and call it acceptance so that we don’t have to feel the negative emotion that comes with it. More often than not we give up too early before seeing any meaningful change occur.

Instead of giving up, accept what you can’t change in this immediate moment and then go ahead and decide what you want to change in the future. You may be in the space of accepting that this IVF cycle didn’t work and then deciding to make lifestyle changes to improve your fertility in the future.

When you are in the space of acceptance you think “I can accept and I want to
accept that getting pregnant is something that I can’t control.” Instead of thinking, “I have
given up on getting pregnant because I don’t want to work on it anymore.” Know where your motivation is coming from and what perspective you are taking. If you are uncertain with where you are at, check in with how you are feeling. Negative emotions usually follow giving up.

Are you facing the decision on what to do next and struggling with it? Book a free strategy session with me and let me help you in your process.

Overcoming The “What If” Woes Of Infertility

No doubt if you are struggling with infertility you have asked yourself “What if?” more than once when trying to make a decision. So many questions come up and it is easy to get sucked into the “What If Woes” of the process.

It is easy to come up with questions that can undermine your progress to your goal. Most of them do start with “What if…”. No one has a crystal ball to tell you exactly what will happen on your fertility journey but we like to make predictions based off our “what if” thinking. To us, these answers seem like facts and inevitable parts of the process.

But all of those “what if” statements set us up to think of the worst possibility. What if the worst thing happened that you can imagine? Conversely, what if the best thing happened that you can imagine? Either scenario is possible. That is the beauty of thinking about the future. It can be whatever you want it to be in your minds. It doesn’t have to be pessimistic or bleak. It doesn’t have to be sad.

When we get stuck in the What If Woes we are more likely to not take action towards our dreams. They paralyze us and convince us that we’re better off staying where we are rather than going after what we want. Our brains are hard wired to do this. Thousands of years of evolution has lead to the What If Woes. We think that they keep us safe. We think they are for our own protection but ultimately they don’t really do us much good.

If you are ‘what if-ing” your way through infertility with questions like:

  • What if this cycle doesn’t work?
  • What if I spend more money and don’t get pregnant?
  • What if my body just can’t do this?
  • What if I never become a mother?

You are priming yourself for the worst case scenario. But the truth is, you are living it already. Think about it. You are already experiencing the worst case scenario. You are prepping yourself for the doom and gloom rather than embracing the possibility of what could happen.

So what if you keep trying and it fails? You already know what that feels like. Failing at what you are going after is not the worst case scenario. Not going after your dreams and the things you want because you are afraid of the feelings that will come up if you don’t achieve them is the worst case.

What are you afraid of? What is holding you back from moving forward? If you feel stuck make an appointment with me and let’s chat. Don’t get stuck saying “what if” and missing out on the life of your dreams.