Tag Archive | support

Increase Fertility, Naturally: From Experience Life Magazine

Kristin Ohlson, a regular contributor to Experience Life Magazine, has written an up-to-date, concise primer on preparing your body for conception. Her article Increase Fertility, Naturally gives 9 practical strategies for cultivating a healthy pregnancy. She starts out with the reminder that, according to RESOLVE, one in 10 of us will experience infertility.

Each of the 9 suggestions (with accompanying explanation) is valuable. If you take all 9 and implement them as a package, you’ll be setting a solid foundation for trying to conceive. Of course, there may be other issues to address, but don’t sneeze at this set of 9. It’s a perfect place to start to ensure you’re creating the best possible conditions. The article is also sprinkled with useful references.

My personal favorite is Number 7. Look Beyond the Numbers.

On the web version of this article, Kristin has included a 10th (a Web Extra) to help men create the best conditions for the swimmers too.

For those of you experiencing a deeper level of frustration on the fertility path, I’m offering a complimentary guide Freedom from Infertility Frustration: 6 Steps to Relief. Visit Whole Vision Coaching to have the guide sent to you.

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Fertility Journey Survey: Findings

Many women would have liked the support of a fertility coach from the beginning of the fertility journey and believe it would have reduced much confusion, fear, frustration, overwhelm, and the slide toward depression.

In February 2012, I began surveying women about their experience with the pursuit of parenthood and the fertility challenges that came up for them. By the end of March, I closed the survey so that I could take some time to organize and reflect on what participants had shared with me.

Depending on the ability to coordinate schedules and each woman’s desired level of participation, some surveys were conducted on the phone, in person, or via an electronic form. Much of the survey content is derived from the story-telling of each journey, but there were some yes/no and categorized-answer questions as well.

While each journey is significantly unique, there are some very clear common threads, the most obvious one being the focused, driving desire to become a parent. This focus is usually directed toward becoming pregnant, but sometimes intended parents find themselves making choices from a menu they had never considered part of their palette.

Here are some of the highlights:

93% of survey respondents have had, are having, or plan to have fertility treatments of one kind or another. Treatments are defined as actions on the physical body to enhance chances of conception and delivery. These actions may include acupuncture, herbs, dietary changes, application of oral or injectable medications or hormones, medical investigative procedures, and surgeries.

67% of participants who are no longer trying to conceive and deliver their first child said they would have liked the support of a fertility coach during their fertility journey. Many sought out support from online forums and friends who had also experienced challenges. Many expressed an interest in a managed and directed support group for women specifically going through same treatment protocols provided by fertility clinics. Many also believed that having the support of a fertility coach from the beginning of the journey would have reduced much confusion, fear, frustration, overwhelm, and the slide toward depression.

On average, women tried for 3 or more years before actually conceiving and carrying to term or giving up on the idea of carrying their own baby. This includes women experiencing secondary infertility as well as those trying to have their first baby.

It surprised me that only 17% of the women I surveyed were considering adoption or had found adoption to be the right answer for them. Those who have adopted are consistently and markedly passionate about their choice, and they generally feel moved to encourage others to include this option on their list of possibilities.

In general, the use of donor eggs and the option of surrogacy were not included in the vision of possibilities even when I asked the question directly. The idea of donor eggs evoked sadness at the thought that they would not be part of the makeup of their child. Some women were turned off by the cost of these two options, which is interesting in light of the fact that almost 20% would consider adoption even with it’s high cost. However, it is informative to remember that foster-to-adopt programs greatly reduce the cost.

94% of the women I surveyed responded that they experienced a couple or all of the following feelings: failure; disappointment; betrayal.

67% of the participants believe they would make different choices if they were to rewind and start over. The most popular changes mentioned include:

~ Moving forward with life goals and activities instead of putting life on hold while trying to conceive
~ Letting the desire to be a parent affect them sooner rather than waiting for the “right” time
~ Discontinuing relationships that got in the way of pursuing the desire to become parents
~ Getting clear on the desire to be parents and seeking help sooner
~ Pursuing satisfying information and answers, no longer tolerating unanswered questions and confusion

Although there are plenty of other larger, more clinical and academic surveys done in this area, I wanted to do my own query into the things that struck me personally as important considerations. The questions I created were initially sparked from reflecting on my own fertility challenges and the desire to have a fuller understanding of the vast range of experiences encountered on this path. I have learned so much by connecting with the survey participants and their stories, and I know that the quality of the service I can provide has improved as a result of this expanded perspective.  Thank you to everyone who contributed and participated.

If you are interested in sharing your fertility journey story with me — whether you’re just beginning, are in the middle of it, or have moved on — I would love to hear from you. Please contact me in any of the ways mentioned on my Contact Page. If you have comments or thoughts about the results I’ve presented here, please share in the comments thread below the post.

Have you been the partner, friend, or relative of someone facing fertility challenges? I’d love to hear your observations of their journey too. Please contact me using any of the ways presented on my Contact Page.

I look forward to hearing from you and thanks for reading.

Coach Louise and Coach Julie

Dear blog reader,

Coach Louise began this blog with the intention that it be a place to share stories, ask questions, get support in a safe place of understanding and compassion, as well as a source for information on the topic of infertility, miscarriage, treatments etc. I am so excited to be taking over the administration of the blog and continuing on the mission of supporting you on your unique fertility journey. If you’d like to know more about me and what I offer, please click About Julie or visit Whole Vision Coaching. I’m so glad you’re here. Most importantly, I really want you to understand that you are not alone and this part of your adventure does not define who you are.

Having experienced the frustrations of unexplained infertility personally, I recognize that the experience can be isolating when the people around you don’t necessarily understand what you are going through. It is also often the first crisis couples come up against where there is really no control over the outcome. I want to connect with you and give you as much support as possible to lead a life full of joy and balance no matter the outcome of your pursuit of parenthood. I can also help to guide you and propose different alternatives that you might not have considered yet from a purely objective point of view.

Ultimately, I can offer you a space like a comfy sofa that you can fall into to feel comforted and reassured and so much more while on this unexpectedly challenging journey.

With love,
Coach Julie

Acceptance: A Game Changer

As you continue your journey towards gaining and sustaining a healthy body image, healthy self-esteem, and practicing nurturing self-care, it’s worthwhile considering the powerful practice of self-acceptance. Self-acceptance is a conscious action motivated by a desire to feel a deeper sense of peace with your self and in your life experience.

It’s not about pretending to be perfect or denying that there are things about yourself that you might like to change. It’s the opposite of rejecting aspects of yourself that you don’t like, claiming only those that you do. In fact, it’s being genuinely face-forward about who you are right now – all the splendid and not-so-splendid parts – and accepting your true self just as you are. It’s the only place from which you can make any real change.

The Tryout
Look in a full-length mirror and say to your reflection, “I am here. This is me as I am right now.” Feel your full presence there. Press your feet into the floor right there in front of the mirror.

How did that feel? Were you curious and interested? Were you resistant and unwilling? Were you able to look directly into your own eyes and confidently make those statements? Did you feel hesitant, afraid, or in some other way uncomfortable? Did you smile or frown during the exercise? Do you think you could do the exercise in the nude?

Your answers to those questions tell you where you are with accepting your self. These answers illustrate your level of self-acceptance right now. Having taken the measure of your self-acceptance, you can decide if you will consciously take more action to self-accept.

The Practice
A good old fashion and effective way to exercise your self-acceptance muscle is by using an affirmation. For example, say to yourself, “I accept myself as I am right now.” Try this affirmation out loud in front of a mirror for three weeks. Work towards looking yourself directly in the eyes while you say it. When you can do that, next add a loving smile to your face during the declaration.

Game Time
When you can feel the statement of acceptance as truth in your heart, you’ll be ready to get into the game. Now you can look at exactly what it is that you’d like to improve or change about yourself.

Adjust your affirmation to acknowledge your desire to change while continuing to support yourself with full acceptance. For example, “This is the way I am right now, and I am willing to change.” Add a factual, non-judgmental statement of exactly what it is you want to change. For example, “I speak curtly to my husband right now, and I want to change so that I speak to him lovingly. I want to create a loving connection with my husband.”

This powerful combination of accepting what is now plus acknowledging your desire to change forges a path that takes you from here to where you want to be. By supporting yourself with acceptance, you can see a clear way towards the new you. By seeing that clear way, you can take one step each day persistently and consistently to take you to your desired goal.

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Part 3 – Healthy Body Image: 6 Places to Start

In Part 2, we looked specifically at just six areas of life experience that are influenced by body image and self-esteem. We closed this examination with the hopeful idea that accepting self as is today is the place to start, even if there are things we want to change.

But how do you accept your self as you are today? Can you find a way to reopen your heart to your present self? Below I offer six suggestions. These activities are immediately fulfilling and longer lasting than the perfect body.

Self-care
Groom and dress yourself lovingly every day. Simple things like applying lotion after a shower to arms, legs, and torso in a gentle, massaging way can help you reconnect and feel good about yourself. Wear clothes that fit well, in colors and styles that you like and feel good in. Limit or completely eliminate getting on a scale. Tune into how you feel more than what you weigh.

Hobbies
Schedule some time every week, or at least every month, to engage in an activity that you find fun and that reignites your creative juices.

Friendships
Reach out to people you know and like; create opportunities to get together and share some fun time. Don’t worry about bothering them or how busy they may already be; and if they are not available, do not take it personally. Just keep reaching out to people you know and like and find someone who can join you for an activity as simple as a walk and chat, for example.

Self-appreciation
While facing yourself in the mirror, declare your appreciation for the things you do well and the qualities that you like in yourself. Start out with one day a week and work up to making it a daily practice. Find at least one positive thing to say to yourself in the mirror each time.

Healthy food choices
Take time to buy, prepare, and eat nourishing and healthful food. Even if you are cooking for just you, act as if you are feeding someone very important and deserving of a great home-cooked meal – because you are.

Feel-good movement
Turn on some fun music that makes you want to move your body. Find ways to move that feel good, for example, swimming or yoga. What physical activities did you enjoy when you were a kid? Find ways to reconnect with that side of yourself.

There are many ways to practice self-acceptance and self-nurturance that will create the foundation from which to support your desired changes. You can have the life you want. Start today by appreciating who you are now. As you do this, you will be able to move toward the life you want for yourself with positive energy and an attitude of joy.

Part 2 – Your Body Image: Healthy or Harmful?

In Part 1, we considered the general impact of body image. Even if it seems that body image doesn’t have an impact on your day-to-day life, take a closer look and you’ll notice that it is an underlying element in virtually every area of your life.

Relationships with friends and family
While you’re focused on whether or not you look good enough, you could be missing out on the opportunity to build relationships and share a good time. For example, have you ever opted out of a dance party or a beach outing because you felt uncomfortable about how you look?

Romantic relationships
If you’re uncomfortable with how you look, you’re likely to create distance between you and your significant other, putting obstacles in the way of intimacy. You may also miss out on opportunities to make a romantic connection because you’re too uncomfortable to connect with new people.

Success at work
Although appearance is not directly connected to job performance, the way you feel about yourself and how you look does impact your self-esteem. Your ability to confidently present yourself and your ideas produces success; whereas, shrinking and hiding in your cubicle, no matter how hard you are plugging away, will not progress your career. You must be able to connect with others confidently.

Physical health and emotional wellbeing
When you are uncomfortable with something, it is a natural inclination to ignore it or move away from it. If you are not feeling good about yourself, you are more likely to neglect your self-care, which ultimately results in declining health and wellbeing. When was the last time you moved your body in a way that feels good to you in exercise or dance or with massage? When was the last time you had a wellness check-up with a doctor?

Spiritual health
When you are feeling good about yourself, you are enlivened with the desire to reach out to others and connect. You’re more ready and able to help others and contribute to the greater good. This includes cultivating whatever spiritual practices nurture your soul.

Home comforts
A poor self-image is often reflected in how you care for your environment. Do you let clutter build up? Are there house repairs or cleaning that is way over due?  

The first step in having self-esteem is to accept your body and your self as you are. You may like to change some things, but that doesn’t mean you can’t accept and love yourself today. Here is your beginning place.

Acknowledge how you feel in your skin right now. Acknowledge this is your body and your self. You are doing the best you can with the knowledge and skills you have. Hold your present self in a heart space and create a desired vision for your future self at the same time. In this way, you can support your own evolution.

Join me for Part 3 to learn specific ways to be comfortable in your own skin today while moving toward your vision of the future you.

Louise Crooks discusses Fertility Issues & Coaching on Conscious Choices Radio today!

Hi Everyone!

There is always hope!

There is always hope!

Just a heads up for anyone who would like more information on the journey we go on as we deal with fertility challenges!  I have been invited to talk about Infertility and how coaching can support you going through this experience – so I am sure a lot of your questions will be answered!  If they are not, please comment on this post, with your question.  Please also comment if you liked what you heard, and want to know more.    For anyone who does post a comment on this post regarding the show, I will be giving away 5 Resolve magazines  (Resolve), that just landed on my desk today, to the lucky individuals – I will do a draw to decide who receives these great resources of info!  They have an article called ‘The Light at the End of the Tunnel’ which immediately draws my attention as its very much in alignment with my coaching philosophy!

Listen to the recording on this link  Conscious Choices Radio

Warmly,

Coach Louise

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