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Archive for the ‘Infertile on the holiday’ Category

Surviving Mother’s Day When Infertile

By Tracey Minella

May 12th, 2018 at 9:44 pm

image courtesy of witthaya phonsawat at freedigitalphotos.net

Surviving Mother’s Day when struggling with infertility is the pits. No way to sugarcoat it. Mother’s Day is the hardest day of the year for those longing to be mothers.

So, what are you going to do this year?

If you have a close relationship with your own mother and she is still living, she might be able to cheer you up a bit. But even she won’t be able to make it “all better” like she used to. It’s just not that simple. And if she’s gone, that’s a really black hole—it’s so hard to be both motherless and childless on Mother’s Day and living with the unsettled feeling of having no connection to a parent or a child.

Of course, being in the company of a mother or mother-in-law who pushes your “baby buttons” isn’t a picnic either.

And being a mother who has suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth, or other infant or child loss is an unspeakable pain only those strong women will ever understand. If you know one of them, resist the urge to avoid what feels awkward and mention her lost angel by name–it will help her in some small way to know her baby hasn’t been forgotten.

On the hardest day of the year, it’s important to do whatever you want and not to be guilted, shamed, or coerced to be in the company of people who will make the day even a drop harder on your hurting heart.

Whether you’re a mother through resolving your infertility journey, a bereaved mother, a mother-to-be, or a mother-in-waiting, you ARE a mother. The day is yours; mark the day as you see fit.

One nice idea might be to plant a tree or a garden dedicated to your child or future child. Something you could watch grow over the years. Something you could explain the significance of to any future children and use as a backdrop for those milestone pictures they grow.

Here’s a mind trick for the day, or for any day: If you are currently on an infertility journey, believe you will ultimately have a happy resolution – – not because it’s guaranteed, but because it’s very possible and positivity can only help.

This is tough advice and it isn’t meant for Mother’s Day but try not to let your sadness and frustration keep you from enjoying some moments of the present. Because the future is coming and regardless of how your journey ends, you can’t get this time back. And you may look back and have regrets on how your life was “on hold” for so long, wishing you only knew back then that it was eventually going to work out somehow. So, trust that the future will be bright and make the best of these times. Hopefully, you will be right. And hopefully, next Mother’s Day will be different.

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April Fool’s Day Pregnancy Jokes are NOT Funny

By Tracey Minella

March 31st, 2018 at 1:01 pm

image: gratisography-ryan mcguire

This year, Easter and April Fool’s Day fall on the same day. So maybe there’s some hope that Easter will draw attention away from April Fool’s Day which, despite being insignificant, has traditionally been a minefield for those suffering from infertility.

What should be a harmless day of dodging innocent pranks always turns ugly with the inevitable April Fool’s Day prank post: “I’m pregnant”.

Just. Stop. Now.

It’s not only soooooo last year (and the year before that… and the year before that) but it’s not even believable or funny anymore. In fact, it never was. It’s simply hurtful to those who can’t have children. And we are not oversensitive. Infertility is no joke. It’s a disease. Would you joke about having another serious disease? Of course not.

So how about you think before typing that lame joke this year?

Think about all the infertile couples who suffer every day of the year as their newsfeeds are bombarded by countless legit pregnancy announcements, baby pictures, and other kid-related posts. We’re already going to struggle with  all the cute Easter bonnet babies and egg hunts tomorrow.

Give us a break. Better yet, post something that is actually laugh-out-loud funny. Lord knows, we could use a momentary diversion from the pain with a rare and honest belly laugh.

Don’t be the Fool on April 1st.

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Are you bothered by April Fool’s Day pregnancy pranks? How do you respond?

 

 

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Infertility and Anti-Valentine’s Day

By Tracey Minella

February 14th, 2018 at 5:30 pm

image: gratisography.com-ryan mcguire

Ugh. Valentine’s Day…another rough day for many infertile couples.

Sure you can have a romantic night alone. But there’s all kinds of stress with tonight’s “expectations”. Don’t you want to scream “I really just want a snotty, crying, feverish baby to keep me up all night!”?

Frankly, there’s been enough alone time—maybe years of it. It’s time for a bunch of kids to ruin all that. Hello, universe? We’re still waiting!

Then there’s your friends. The ones with kids (which is basically ALL of them, right?) who complain how they don’t want to stay home with their little ones and can’t wait until the sitter arrives tonight so they can toast each other over a peaceful candlelight meal. That’s rough–especially when you’d give anything to have a baby hanging on your neck as you pay the Dominos delivery guy.

You can’t win. You don’t have the kids– yet. And the emotional and financial stresses of infertility take the romance out of your time alone.

So, what do you do if you don’t want to do the traditional Valentine’s Day stuff?

Why not take VD to the extreme and get all silly about it? Over-do it. Do the candy, the flowers, the candles, the rose petals, the satin sheets…the whole, cheesy cliché of it. And then laugh at yourselves. You know the laugh I’m talking about. “Your” laugh. It’s that special thing between you where one can just look at the other and you laugh uncontrollably. You could both use it.

Or do the opposite. Anti-Valentine’s Day. Defy it. No card or gift. No succumbing to the pressure of Hallmark’s holiday. Save a rose garden somewhere by rejecting flowers.

Need inspiration on how to practice extreme defiance of all things traditionally Valentine-y?

  • Skip the primp and be the low-key version of yourself.
  • Run 80 errands for the benefit of people other than yourself.
  • Have that annual GYN exam that’s overdue. It’s the easiest day to get an appointment. Who needs a card when you can have a prescription for a mammogram and a sonogram?
  • Hit the golden arches for lunch. Because nothing says Valentine’s like a Big Mac meal. Go on, supersize it.
  • The Finale: Invite your mother-in-law for dinner.

Bet your day’s looking better already. No need to thank me.

Seriously, just make it whatever you and your partner need it to be today. Don’t succumb to society’s pressures about how you should look, act, or behave. Play it up– or down. But do take a moment to be thankful for each other to lean on during these hard days. Don’t ever downplay that.

And have faith.

Because maybe next year, you’ll be greeting that Dominos guy with a baby hanging on your neck. (How’s that for extra cheese?)

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So, what are YOUR Valentine’s Day plans?

 

 

 

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Coming Out for the Holidays

By Tracey Minella

December 29th, 2017 at 4:24 pm

image credit: jeshoots.com

“Coming out” has a special meaning in the LGBT community. And all members who are “out” remember the way it ultimately happened—and the stress, fear, worry, and hesitation that surrounded that revelation. And the liberating feeling that followed… regardless of the initial response.

Heterosexual couples “come out”, too. But their “coming out” is in reference to breaking their silence about suffering from infertility. Similar feelings–stress, fear, worry, and hesitation. Now, mix that with a bit of unwarranted, social stigma-based shame over not being able to conceive naturally. Come out, and you get the same liberating feeling.

But sometimes, LGBT couples have to “come out” twice.

Consider this: You’ve met someone special and are ready to start a family.

Obviously, biology is a problem. Everyone knows that. It’s why LGBT members—even those who might never have had any problems conceiving if they were heterosexual– need the services of an infertility specialist. In virtually all situations, LGBT unions will require a “missing piece”—either a donated egg, sperm, or embryo—from someone outside the partnership in order to have a baby that’s connected biologically to at least one member of the couple. At a minimum, lesbians need donor sperm. Gay men will need two pieces—a donated egg and a gestational carrier’s uterus to carry the baby to term.

But sometimes, it’s more than basic biology or just getting the “missing piece”. Sometimes, there are issues with the “non-missing piece”. For example, a gay man may have a sperm issue, too. Or a lesbian may have poor egg quality, uterus issues, or other female infertility-related problems.

For these community members, it’s time to come out …again. This time as infertile.

Cue those hard feelings again. And now add in the worries or doubts that—despite great IVF success rates– you could possibly not be able to have children. Because when you are infertile, you just worry. It’s what we do when something so important is outside of our control.

So as the holiday season is in full swing and some family interaction is likely, consider dropping the truth bomb before the ball drops. Free yourself from the burden of the secret and come out about your struggle to conceive. You never know who may step-up and help in some way.

If you need help coming out to your family and friends, Long Island IVF’s caring counselor and Mind-Body expert, Bina Benisch, M.S., R.N., specializes in helping heterosexual and LGBT couples trying to conceive with the many challenges this journey brings.

Coming out may not get you the emotional support you need—but then again, it may. Either way, it’s liberating.

Long Island IVF has been helping the LGBT community become parents for decades. With a staff that includes both heterosexual and LGBT employees, we pride ourselves on understanding and satisfying each couple’s unique family-building needs. We are proud to partner with the LGBT Network in bringing cutting-edge reproductive medicine education and family-building technologies to Long Island’s LGBT community. If you are ready to learn more about your parenthood options, please contact us to schedule an initial consultation with one of our physicians in one of our conveniently-located offices throughout Long Island and in Brooklyn.

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Hanukkah Wishes for the Infertile

By Tracey Minella

December 12th, 2017 at 9:52 am

 

image: digitalart at freedigitalphotos.net


With the festival of lights now underway, everyone at Long Island IVF wishes all those who celebrate it a very Happy Hanukkah.

 

Like many holidays throughout the year, Hanukkah and its traditions can bring both peace and stress to those suffering from infertility.

 

Seeing the little ones squealing as they spin dreidels can be hard to take when all you want is a child of your own. Same thing goes for the gelt collection—chocolate-covered or otherwise. Of course, many of you are anxiously awaiting the day you can pass these rich traditions on to your own children.

 

The stress can even make you over-indulge in the fried-food favorites of the holiday. And no one would blame you if you did. Especially if having a mouthful of latkes is your way to avoid answering Aunt Muriel’s nosy baby questions.

 

For those who are frustrated or losing faith due to the delay in your family-building plan, I hope you’ll draw strength from the Hanukkah story and embrace the light from the candles as they are lit each evening.

 

When you feel you have only enough left in you to go on for one more day, you can.. and will… somehow inexplicably, go on for much longer than you ever thought possible. So, keep the faith.

 

And for many, you will witness a miracle.

 

 

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Long Island IVF “Coming Out Infertile” Day Workshop

By Tracey Minella

November 13th, 2017 at 8:46 am

If you’re suffering in silence, you’ve got a date with us tonight.

Are you dreading the winter holiday season that’s only a week away? More silent suffering with your secret struggle of trying to start or build your own family? All those nagging questions about when are you finally going to have that baby? Being surrounded with nieces and nephews and their wish lists? Surprise pregnancy announcements at almost every gathering? Ugh.

Well, Long Island IVF can help. We’re proud to sponsor the third annual “Coming Out Infertile” Day on November 13, 2017 with a “Tired of the Secret?” special workshop for those suffering in silence from infertility. All are welcome and its free. No need to be a patient. If you haven’t registered yet, there is still time to come down.

Coming Out Infertile Day was conceived to encourage those suffering from infertility to “come out” to their families, friends, and/or employers if they feel ready to do so… and to help them with the tools they need to do so. And most importantly, to come out in a way that feels right for them.

Infertility is a devastating disease that affects 1 out of every 8 couples. In addition to the pain and fear that comes with this diagnosis, many couples feel the unwarranted stigma of shame and guilt. Consequently, they keep their infertility a secret—even from their family and closest friends.

They are often afraid…or don’t know how… to tell their families and friends (or their employers) that they are having trouble getting or staying pregnant and need treatment. So they suffer in silence. Often for many months or years.

The holiday season, with its focus on children and families, is a particularly hard time for infertile folks who are easy targets for nagging personal questions about baby-making plans. So, a week before the emotional onslaught is the perfect time to offer help “coming out”. You can come out today or plan to come out on Thanksgiving or some other time during the holiday season that feels right.

Coming Out Infertile Day…seven months after National Infertility Awareness Week in April and right before the stress of the holidays…is a timely public reminder of the pain of infertility and a chance for those suffering to come out and get support.

Long Island IVF is offering “Tired of the Secret?”—a free Coming-Out Infertile Workshop on November 13, 2017 from 6:30-8:30 pm at its offices at 8 Corporate Center Drive, Melville, New York. Led by our own Mind-Body medicine expert and psychologist, Bina Benisch, MS, RN, who specializes in counseling infertility patients, attendees will be given the support they need to come out infertile in a manner that’s right for them. Are you ready to tell just your parents? Or your best friend? The whole family? Need to know how to break it to your boss? We can help. The workshop is free but pre-registration is requested, so register here.

It’s time to end the stigma of infertility. It’s time to unburden yourself from the added weight of this secret and get the support you need. It’s time to #comeoutinfertile.

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What is holding you back from coming out infertile?

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How to Support an Infertile Man on Father’s Day

By Tracey Minella

June 17th, 2017 at 9:06 am

 

image: tminella


Infertile “dads-in-waiting” are no different when it comes to being infertile on Father’s Day than infertile wannabe moms are on Mother’s Day.

They want a baby.

A daddy’s little girl around whose little finger to be proverbially wrapped. A “mini-me” son to hang out with.

But society doesn’t seem to see his pain… because he is quiet. Maybe even to his wife or partner.

Women are more likely to chat with their sisters or closest girlfriends about their infertility—they cry on each other’s shoulders and talk about treatment—but men just don’t really do that. They don’t open up like that. Women talk. But guys’ group conversations tend to gravitate towards sports or politics—not how they injected their wife with a two-inch needle last night or held her as she cried over another negative pregnancy test.

Many men think they have to be the strong one– because if she sees him crumble, she may unravel herself. How unfair is that? Yet that’s how it is for so many guys and it’s completely understandable, and yes, a bit sexist, how they are willing to take all the pain on their shoulders if it’d shelter her.

Imagine that pressure to be strong and not cry? Imagine the totally unfounded but very real guilt he may feel if the diagnosis is male factor infertility? Or the stress he’s under if they can’t afford infertility treatment because his insurance or his salary doesn’t cover it? Or how he’s keeping the secret and hoping the guys don’t find out and rag on him about specimen collection or awkwardly joke about how they can help get her pregnant.

And don’t think for a minute he’s not aware of the children of other men at the gathering. Especially on Father’s Day. Kids playing catch with their dads. Dads showing pictures from the dance recital.

If his relationship with his own father is a good one, it may help to spend some one-on-one together on Father’s Day focusing on his role as the son. Maybe reflect on what kind of father he plans to be when the time comes for him—what he loved about his dad’s parenting style and what he might do differently.

Most importantly, let him do what he wants. See or be with who he wants and be sure to run interference for him with difficult people when you can. If he wants to be around the nieces or nephews, indulge his wish even if you feel differently. Or be alone together—or let him do his own thing–if that’s what he needs for that day.

And don’t ask him about starting a family. Just don’t. Ever. Especially on Father’s Day.

There is no substitution for a baby on Father’s Day, but you can give him hope for one next year. And if you think he’d benefit from talking it out with a caring infertility specialist, Long Island IVF offers group and individual counseling. Some couples have found a special connection to others who understand what they are going through and have even remained friends after their infertility journeys have resolved.

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What are your plans for Father’s Day?

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4 Tricks Infertiles Can Use to Avoid Being Grilled at BBQs All Summer Long

By Tracey Minella

May 30th, 2017 at 7:37 am

 

Image: gratisography/Ryan McGuire


After a long winter– and some still chilly temps and wet days in New York—the kick-off to summer is finally here. Barbecue season is upon us and the charcoal is waiting for fresh meat…

Don’t be the meat.

The first picnics are here and that means you may be thrust into big group social situations again, after a long winter of hibernating. Maybe not this weekend, but maybe next. Or the one after that.

Are you ready? Do you need to up your defense?

Here are 4 tips to help you dodge the naggers before they can ask “When are you guys going to have a baby?”:

Drink heavily. I don’t mean alcohol (necessarily). But if you have a drink in your hand or a glass to your mouth, it can discourage conversation. Plus, you can down the contents and excuse yourself for a refill at the first hint of unpleasant conversation. Or if the nagger really oversteps, and you happen to slip and accidentally spill it down their dress, well, that’s really a diversion.

Stuff your face. You don’t have to eat non-stop, but (like the drinking tip) keeping something in your hand or on a plate that you can pop into your mouth when a nagger approaches could be key. You can’t be expected to answer an inappropriate… or any…question with your mouth full.

Have a Plan B… and sensible shoes. If a nagger is in the kitchen where you’re helping out, grab a tray of hors d’oeuvres and make a hasty exit to the yard. Or reverse. Or seek refuge in the bathroom for a bit.

Use children as shields. Normally, the kind of people who butt into your sex life aren’t the ones who play with the 87 kids at the party. Sure, being with other peoples’ kids can hurt, but it may still be better to jump into their game than face a nagger. No one can expect you to provide intimate details while you’re jumping rope or pitching a whiffle ball. And those whiffle balls can have unpredictable paths, too…

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Do you have any other tips to add on how to avoid or diffuse the nagger problem?

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The Best Way to Survive Mother’s Day When Infertile

By Tracey Minella

May 11th, 2017 at 12:19 pm

 

photo: ryanmcguire/ gratisography


This might seem unconventional for an infertility blogger to suggest, but…

Stop looking for something online that will make you feel better this weekend. Chances are it isn’t out here. And even if there was one special nugget of wisdom that might somehow ease your pain, you’ll have to sift through so much useless and painful content that your heart will be in shreds before you find that elusive gem.

The worst place you can be when you’re infertile is on social media on Mother’s Day. The day photos of moms and babies posted are multiplied 10,000 times more than the already unbearable daily number you endure. Why subject yourself to millions of pictures of mothers and children or hundreds of blog posts like this one – – trying and failing to make you feel any better? Please hide. Resist the habit of Facebook. Protect your heart.

Yes, I’ve been in your shoes, but it was before the hell that is social media. I only had to endure real life pregnant people and babies in my actual face—not the flood of thousands of them in my virtual face 24/7. You have it so much worse in that respect—though IVF success rates have soared since I did it. Our experiences are the same, yet different. Only other infertile women could understand how you are feeling–currently infertile women.

Ten stressed-out Mother’s Days without a baby I suffered. I have walked that long and lonely path you are on now, and I do remember it like it was yesterday. Yet I know my well-meaning words of hopeful advice– that I so want you to find comfort in today– can’t help but somehow fall short because I finally became a mom while you are still waiting for your day. I walked before you, and it’s frustrating to know that I can’t comfort you the way someone walking beside you can. So while I do remember, speaking to you from where I am now instead of where I was then makes my words just one small step above those of others not currently walking in your shoes. Maybe the words of one who succeeded at IVF, even after many, many failures and losses are as unwelcome on such a difficult day as the words of those who conceived easily and effortlessly.

So on this hardest day of the year I won’t try further than to say that I know you can get through this day and I’m sorry for your pain. There is no magic answer in this post or any of the others you may read about Mother’s Day.

Despite constant advances in assisted reproductive technologies, no one can promise you a baby this cycle or in the future despite the technology advancing with lightning speed. For me, not knowing if it’d ever work was the hardest thing. Had I only known for certain that at some point– even years away– I’d definitely have a baby in my arms, it would’ve made all the difference in managing the highs and lows during those 10 long years. But there is no crystal ball. While many people might become parents if they just kept undergoing treatment, many people’s wallets are exhausted before their spirit is ready to stop treatment—or even before they can begin it. That fear kept me up at night.

You know what you need to get through this day– and only you know what you need. Time as a couple, alone time, or time with family and friends. Do what you need to do so it will pass.

For what it’s worth, know that I and the many women who walked before you will be looking backwards on Sunday with hope and strength for you as you walk on. Strength to get through this day– and hope that by this time next year you will be looking back on your journey as well.

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The Best Way to Survive Mother’s Day When Infertile

By Tracey Minella

May 11th, 2017 at 9:06 am

 

photo credit: ryanmcguire/gratisography


This might seem unconventional for an infertility blogger to suggest, but…

Stop looking for something online that will make you feel better this weekend. Chances are it isn’t out here. And even if there was one special nugget of wisdom that might somehow ease your pain, you’ll have to sift through so much useless and painful content that your heart will be in shreds before you find that elusive gem.

The worst place you can be when you’re infertile is on social media on Mother’s Day. The day photos of moms and babies posted are multiplied 10,000 times more than the already unbearable daily number you endure. Why subject yourself to millions of pictures of mothers and children or hundreds of blog posts like this one – – trying and failing to make you feel any better? Please hide. Resist the habit of Facebook. Protect your heart.

Yes, I’ve been in your shoes, but it was before the hell that is social media. I only had to endure real life pregnant people and babies in my actual face—not the flood of thousands of them in my virtual face 24/7. You have it so much worse in that respect—though IVF success rates have soared since I did it. Our experiences are the same, yet different. Only other infertile women could understand how you are feeling–currently infertile women.

Ten stressed-out Mother’s Days without a baby I suffered. I have walked that long and lonely path you are on now, and I do remember it like it was yesterday. Yet I know my well-meaning words of hopeful advice– that I so want you to find comfort in today– can’t help but somehow fall short because I finally became a mom while you are still waiting for your day. I walked before you, and it’s frustrating to know that I can’t comfort you the way someone walking beside you can. So while I do remember, speaking to you from where I am now instead of where I was then makes my words just one small step above those of others not currently walking in your shoes. Maybe the words of one who succeeded at IVF, even after many, many failures and losses are as unwelcome on such a difficult day as the words of those who conceived easily and effortlessly.

So on this hardest day of the year I won’t try further than to say that I know you can get through this day and I’m sorry for your pain. There is no magic answer in this post or any of the others you may read about Mother’s Day.

Despite constant advances in assisted reproductive technologies, no one can promise you a baby this cycle or in the future despite the technology advancing with lightning speed. For me, not knowing if it’d ever work was the hardest thing. Had I only known for certain that at some point– even years away– I’d definitely have a baby in my arms, it would’ve made all the difference in managing the highs and lows during those 10 long years. But there is no crystal ball. While many people might become parents if they just kept undergoing treatment, many people’s wallets are exhausted before their spirit is ready to stop treatment—or even before they can begin it. That fear kept me up at night.

You know what you need to get through this day– and only you know what you need. Time as a couple, alone time, or time with family and friends. Do what you need to do so it will pass.

For what it’s worth, know that I and the many women who walked before you will be looking backwards on Sunday with hope and strength for you as you walk on. Strength to get through this day– and hope that by this time next year you will be looking back on your journey as well.

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