Archive for the ‘Support’ Category

My private practice seeing individuals, couples, and facilitating support groups has moved to San Marcos/Carlsbad. I look forward to supporting clients in this area going through this journey.  Please contact me for further information. amoreena@gmail.com


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PCOS, Stress and Hypnosis

Chronic stress is invisible. You can’t see it, taste it, or smell it. You may not even be aware of it. Yet it can be devastating if not brought under control.

There is a link between chronic stress and problems associated with PCOS, including weight gain, belly fat, eating disorders, reduced fertility, miscarriage, premature or lower weight births, chronic inflammation, and ovarian cysts.

Hypnosis is a great tool, if you haven’t tried it, I encourage it with all my clients.

Hypnosis helps you improve your ability to handle stress. It’s very easy to do, simply by listening to a CD or see a hypnosis therapist. The Lolo Center in Oakland has a hypnotherapist on staff.  Sometimes it just takes a few sessions to work these issues out and move on to a healthier happier you.

Amoreena Berg, MFT

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Be Honest About Your Feelings:

It’s perfectly normal to be angry about your infertility, as well as intensely sad.  The level of depression and anxiety in the infertility population is the same as in cancer, heart disease, and HIV-positive patients.

To hate pregnant women is a normal, natural, negative thought. It’s the pain and grief speaking. Mixed emotions are natural, too. You can feel happy for the good fortune of a friend, while feeling like life has cheated you at the same time.
In a nutshell, it’s OK to be angry and all right to be sad. Jealousy is part of the package, too. Those feelings don’t make you a bad person. They make you a real person, with real feelings. Feelings that happen to hurt like hell right now.

Be Selective about how and where you hang out:
What’s the one topic that dominates the conversations of all pregnant ladies and new mothers? Babies. Intelligent women with masters degrees, exciting careers, stimulating hobbies, and a passport full of stamps from around the world are suddenly unable to discuss anything except runny noses and car seats. It’s not their fault, of course. Nature gives relatively sane women a bad case of baby tunnel vision for the sole purpose of the perpetuation the human species. But all that baby talk can be total agony for someone who can’t participate. Pick social situations that you can handle.

I recommend that women get back to the interests and activities that they enjoy. Our whole life can become our fertility treatments and women feel like their not doing anything useful when they are not in cycle.

Infertility is a medical condition that takes a heavy physical and emotional toll on every woman who lives with it. Between the fertility drugs, the surgeries, the egg extractions and the acupuncture, our bodies become misused and exhausted. Add in the mindless comments from strangers, plus the way we tend to mentally beat ourselves up for our “failures” and it’s no wonder our self-esteem spirals downward and our psyches crumble.

Now, more than ever, is a time to look inward. I think it’s important to do a lot of self care because we want to do the antithesis of what will add to our depression. I recommend some form of relaxation and says to take care of your relationship since baby making can become all-consuming.

Therapy is another great option. There’s also an organization called Resolve whose goal is to “provide timely, compassionate support and information to people experiencing infertility.” It’s a national group with regional chapters set up to provide local support. And more informal support groups, such as the Advanced Fertility Issues message board on BabyZone, can give you a place to vent, get information and support, and be with others who understand your situation.

Whether the pregnancies of others make you happy, make you cry, or leave you with a mixed bag of emotions, always remember that you have the power to choose the situations and conversations you’ll join. And own up to the fact that infertility is a major life crisis that affects your well-being and relationships, so take time out to take care of yourself.

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Let’s talk about marriage and infertility.  Infertility can wreak havoc on a marriage. Even the happiest marriages can be torn apart by the struggle of infertility.

Infertility can put a wedge between husband and wife like nothing else. But trying to have a baby can also bring a couple together and bond them in new ways, if they let it.

When my husband and I tried to get pregnant, we struggled.  There were miscarriages, multiple IUI’s and an IVF. Infertility creeps into your marriage in small ways. Intimacy seems futile and unproductive, making it seem like a chore rather than love. Resentment starts. And the hardest part is, both husband and wife feel sad, frustrated and alone because they can’t discuss their feelings with their spouse for fear of hurting them.

My bout with infertility lasted 3 years, but my husband and I made it out with our marriage intact because of three things. First, we decided we were in it together. No matter what happened, there would be no blame and no fault. Second, we continued to live our lives. We tried to enjoy the moment together instead of focusing on the children we wanted and didn’t have. Third, we sought outside help (counseling and support groups) because we realized this was bigger than us and even though we were a strong couple it had the potential to ruin what we had.

There were some dark days, of course. There were days I felt utterly alone. My heart goes out to anyone struggling with infertility, and I hope somehow you are able to not let it consume you or your marriage. You will have the family you are meant to have. Talk to your husband. Talk to a counselor. Get into a support group. Get the help you need to get through this time together.

I now run support groups in Oakland and Orinda as well as see individuals and couples in the East Bay.

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Infertility can seem pretty heavy and depressing at times, right? Sometimes, we have a feeling of futility when we try a zillion different things and nothing seems to produce the results we’re looking for.

What can we do with this? Well, one thing we can do is laugh about it. Yes, laugh!

I don’t know about you, but I always feel much better after having a good laugh about something. It seems to relieve the grimness and heaviness of even the worst situations.

Medical research has proven that laughter has physical, psychological, social, spiritual, and quality-of-life benefits. For example, laughter can help to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Too much cortisol damages your body and increases belly fat.

Another benefit of laughter is that it costs nothing and has no side effects!

So have you laughed today? Did you laugh yesterday?

The therapeutic effectiveness of laughter result from spontaneous laughter (triggered by external stimuli or positive emotions) and by self-induced laughter (triggered by yourself at will), both occurring with or without humor.

The brain cannot distinguish between these types of laughter so it doesn’t matter what you do to laugh. It doesn’t matter how or why you laugh. The important thing is to just laugh.

Watch a funny movie or read a humorous book. Have someone tell you a joke or funny story. Play an amusing game with someone.

You don’t necessarily need humor to laugh. You can laugh by intention. For example, you might try “laughter yoga”, a group exercise where you simulate laughter with eye contact and childlike playfulness, which soon turns into real and contagious laughter. Maybe there is a local laughter yoga group that you could join.

Mora-Ripoll R, The therapeutic value of laughter in medicine, Altern Ther Health Med. 2010 Nov-Dec;16(6):56-64.
Shahidi M et al, Laughter yoga versus group exercise program in elderly depressed women: a randomized controlled trial, Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2011 Mar;26(3):322-7.

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I feel like I need to address secondary infertility given I am seeing much more of it lately and for most people this is hard for them to understand.

Secondary infertility is also defined as an inability to get pregnant after about a year of frequent, unprotected sex. The difference here, though, is that secondary infertility refers to trouble getting pregnant after having already gotten pregnant and had a child in the past.

This can lead to frustration just as infertility for couples who do not have children, as it may leave couples even more confused as to why they cannot get pregnant after having done so already. It often sneaks up on people and can lead to a good deal of stress just like infertility can be stressful for couples who do not have children. Note that secondary infertility may not be present if one’s partner has changed since their first pregnancy.

The causes of secondary infertility are similar to those of primary infertility, as it may include problems with the production, function or the delivery of sperm. As for female infertility, it may be caused by fallopian tube problems, ovulation problems, endometriosis or various uterine conditions.

Don’t forget that changes in various lifestyle habits or risk factors, such as advanced age, weight or taking medications may affect infertility after having already gotten pregnant. Certain problems or complications from a previous pregnancy may lead to problems with getting pregnant in the future.

Whether you’re experiencing primary or secondary infertility, it’s important to seek consultation with a trained healthcare professional specializing in fertility and reproduction. You may be put through various tests and evaluations to help determine the cause of the problem so that you may begin considering and exploring different treatment options.

Don’t be too embarrassed to seek help. Secondary infertility is nothing new to fertility specialists. They deal with it all of the time. A good support system can also go a long way in dealing with secondary infertility, so talking with your partner, friends and others you trust can be helpful, too. I find groups or individual therapy critical for clients going through this.  There is no need to feel guilty because you have one child already…it is still a loss every month and can be more isolating because not even the women that are struggling to have one child will understand.

Treating secondary infertility is the same as treating primary infertility. Fertility drugs may be used to boost egg production, while intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) may be used to achieve pregnancy, too. Surgical procedures may be necessary to repair damaged or blocked fallopian tubes or to remove certain fibroids or endometriosis deposits. Just like with primary infertility, the preferred treatment methods for secondary infertility vary depending on the cause of the condition. For this reason, it’s important to seek professional consultation.

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The mistake, commonly made by most people and it’s a doozie; “Just relax,” while big among well-meaning bystanders, minimizes your friends/daughters/siblings fears and frustrations.  It ignores the many possible medical angles of infertility, asks her to do the undoable (when was the last time you relaxed when told to relax?) and, last but most, implies that she’s to blame for not getting pregnant because she’s too uptight.

We know, we know, you didn’t mean any of these things. But you need to tell them that explicitly, as you apologize for your thoughtless response. And “thoughtless” is the right word for it, versus “shallow.”

When you do apologize, you’ll get a chance to respond thoughtfully. To inform that response, read up at resolve.org, the website of the National Infertility Association. Under the “Support & Services” menu, select the page for family and friends.

While the complexities this page lays out are real and emotionally fraught, the purpose in understanding them is simple: so you can acknowledge their fears, offer your nonjudgmental support, and follow their lead on what they do and don’t want to discuss.

The infertility topic may be new to you and/or have you feeling self-conscious, but the blueprint is the same: get informed, validate, don’t judge, follow her lead.
Read more: http://www.seattlepi.com/lifestyle/advice/article/Hax-What-not-to-say-to-people-struggling-with-2167362.php#ixzz1Z6yBOtnI

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