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Archive for the ‘Bina Benisch’ tag

The Reveal: A “Coming Out Infertile” Day Workshop Event

By Tracey Minella

November 4th, 2016 at 1:30 pm


Long Island IVF is proud to sponsor the second annual “Coming Out Infertile” Day on November 17, 2016 and The Reveal: a special pre-holiday season workshop for those suffering in silence from infertility.

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.

Coming Out Infertile Day (andThe Reveal workshop) 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.

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.

What we wouldn’t give to have a pregnancy test kit with two lines on it.  

Coming Out Infertile Day…seven months after National Infertility Awareness Week in April and right before the stress of the winter 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 a The Reveal—a free Coming-Out Infertile Workshop on November 17, 2016 from 6:30-8 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. In addition to this free group counseling, attendees will receive sample scripts and template letters to customize to help 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. All are welcome. The workshop is free but pre-registration is required,  so register here:  http://bit.ly/therevealCOI2016.

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. So, for those ready to fully and publicly come out, Workshop attendees will be able to be part of Coming Out Infertile Day’s social media campaign where you can easily upload and share your photo with the official #Comingoutinfertile hashtag and graphic on various social media platforms by using the easy and free app, PicStitch. You do not have to be a Long Island IVF patient to participate. All are welcome and encouraged to be part of this empowering event!

Or be with us virtually!! Those unable to attend can use the #ComingOutInfertile social media PicStich app instructions coming soon. So, like our Long Island IVF Facebook page and/or the Coming Out Infertile Day page to stay on top of this movement.

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. Join us in person or on social media on 11-17. Be part of the movement no matter where you are in your infertility journey.

* * * * * * * * * * ** **

What is holding you back from coming out infertile? Are you ready to join the #comingoutinfertile movement?

 

 

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Surviving The Two Week Wait for Your Pregnancy Result

By Bina Benisch, MS, RN

November 8th, 2015 at 3:34 pm

 

photo credit: Petr Kratochvil/ publicdomainpictures.net

 

It seems interminable.

 

You’ve finally made it through your IVF stimulation. You’ve survived your injections and all those early morning monitoring visits…not to mention being poked and prodded for blood and vaginal ultrasounds. You’ve undergone your retrieval procedure, sweated out the fertilization results, and here it is – the day of your embryo transfer.  Or, if you’re doing IUI, you’ve made it through your insemination.

 

What a relief!  You can finally relax…. NOT so fast!

 

The next 10-14 days can seem like an eternity when you’re waiting for your pregnancy result.

 

Your emotions may ride that roller coaster … slow ascending hope, with glimmers of joy at the prospect that this time you actually may be pregnant … only to be violently interrupted by thunderous pangs of fear that this may not have worked, and then falling into despair.

 

How do you regulate your feelings and create a sense of balance so that you’re not held hostage by every emotion and negative thought that grips you?  Here is your mission for the next 10-14 days, should you choose to accept it:

 

  • Create a list of leisure activities that you and your partner have always enjoyed doing, and set a plan into action.  Yes, there are jobs and responsibilities, but schedule some “special” time together for these activities… whether it’s watching movies together, outdoor activities, date nights, music, or working together on a project that embodies a sense of satisfaction.  Not only does this help keep your relationship close – which in itself is emotionally enriching – but it may distract your attention and maintain some perspective on your life so that you are not feverishly focused on your fertility status.

 

  • Talk to your partner about your feelings.  There are no pat solutions which will stop your anxiety. However, making room for all feelings – even the darker ones – and knowing you will get through it as you ride this wave, will relieve the stress of suppressing these feelings. This will also keep the lines of communication open between you and your partner.

 

  • Restructure your thoughts! This is not to advise Pollyanna or positive thinking.  Let’s face it, the last thing you need is to be told to “be positive” or “relax.” It’s extremely difficult to feel “positive” when you’re struggling with infertility.  However, take a moment to look at the thoughts you are telling yourself – the thoughts that are causing your fear and anxiety to escalate: “I know I’m not pregnant.”  “It probably didn’t work this time.” “What if it doesn’t work this time?” “What if I never become pregnant?”   These thoughts and statements are not etched in truth, and are only fear-based. Better thoughts… which may be equally true, but are not fear based…are: “I could very well be pregnant.” “The possibility that I will become pregnant is just as much a reality.”  Don’t fear that allowing yourself to entertain these hopeful thoughts will cause greater disappointment from a negative result. You will be disappointed or devastated either way, whether you’ve been fearful, anxious, and negative, or you’ve had the perspective that you may very well become pregnant.  Here is a mental framework that is absolutely realistic, true, and can go a long way to helping you maintain peace of mind:  “I am doing everything in my power to become pregnant, and therefore, I can emotionally let go for now, and leave this in the hands of (God, the universe, my doctors).”

 

  • Selectively avoid situations that you know will trigger your fear or anxiety.   Learn to say “NO”.  People will forgive you for not attending a family function, social event, or any situation where you find pregnant people, or people with babies, or people who will ask you when you are going to have children.  YOU come first at this time in your life. YOUR emotional health takes precedence.

 

  • Nurture yourself. Whatever that means for you. Massage, Reiki, reading, movies, shopping, yoga (not hot yoga), — what do you find to be a relaxing, self-nurturing activity?

 

  • Remember proper breathing. Slow, deep breathing will cause a physiological reversal of the body’s stress response.  This will reduce anxiety and stress.  Learn to practice breath work every day.

 

In essence, have compassion for yourself.  Talk about your feelings with your partner.  If you find it difficult to restructure your thoughts, practice the mantra that you have done everything in your power, and now it’s time to let go.  This takes practice, but you can do it if you take on this mission for self-balance, peace of mind, and equilibrium.

 

 

Photo credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=14919&picture=your-are-late

 

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Long Island IVF Supports PFLAG

By Tracey Minella

September 4th, 2015 at 6:15 pm

 

Dr. David Kreiner, reproductive endocrinologist and co-founder of Long Island IVF…the infertility practice responsible for bringing Long Island its first IVF baby… is excited and honored to be the guest speaker at the upcoming Long Island PFLAG chapter’s September 20th meeting in Commack. His presentation will be on “Fertility Options for Same Sex Couples”.

 

Since its inception in 1988, Long Island IVF has been committed to the belief that all people have the right to have a family. We have a proud history of supporting LGBT family-building in a way that is sensitive to the unique needs of the community. We go beyond LGBT-friendly…several of our staff members are part of the community. And our experienced psychologist, Bina Benisch, MS, RN, is also the caring and sensitive mother of an adult transgender child. So, we’ve got you covered.

 

If you are a member of the LGBT community…or a parent or loved one of a member…please come down and meet Dr. Kreiner. He will address all of your questions regarding the many fertility preservation and family-building options for the LGBT community.

 

Date: Sunday, September 20, 2015

Time: 2:00 pm

Place: Suffolk Y JCC

74 Hauppauge Rd. Commack, New York

For more information, call PFLAG at 631-462-9800

 

If you can’t wait until then to meet Dr. Kreiner, you can also attend Long Island IVF’s upcoming event, “An Evening of Holistic Approaches to Fertility”, on September 15th at our Melville office. Details are available on our website here: http://www.longislandivf.com/view_event.cfm?id=191

* * * * * * ** * * * * ** **

Do you have any questions for Dr. Kreiner in advance of the PFLAG presentation?

 

 

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Surviving The Two Week Wait for Your Pregnancy Result

By Bina Benisch, MS, RN

August 30th, 2015 at 8:16 am

Credit: Petr Kratochvil/ publicdomainpictures.net

It seems interminable.

 

You’ve finally made it through your IVF stimulation. You’ve survived your injections and all those early morning monitoring visits…not to mention being poked and prodded for blood and vaginal ultrasounds. You’ve undergone your retrieval procedure, sweated out the fertilization results, and here it is – the day of your embryo transfer.  Or, if you’re doing IUI, you’ve made it through your insemination.

 

What a relief!  You can finally relax…. NOT so fast!

 

The next 10-14 days can seem like an eternity when you’re waiting for your pregnancy result.

 

Your emotions may ride that roller coaster … slow ascending hope, with glimmers of joy at the prospect that this time you actually may be pregnant … only to be violently interrupted by thunderous pangs of fear that this may not have worked, and then falling into despair.

 

How do you regulate your feelings and create a sense of balance so that you’re not held hostage by every emotion and negative thought that grips you?  Here is your mission for the next 10-14 days, should you choose to accept it:

 

  • Create a list of leisure activities that you and your partner have always enjoyed doing, and set a plan into action.  Yes, there are jobs and responsibilities, but schedule some “special” time together for these activities… whether it’s watching movies together, outdoor activities, date nights, music, or working together on a project that embodies a sense of satisfaction.  Not only does this help keep your relationship close – which in itself is emotionally enriching – but it may distract your attention and maintain some perspective on your life so that you are not feverishly focused on your fertility status.

 

  • Talk to your partner about your feelings.  There are no pat solutions which will stop your anxiety. However, making room for all feelings – even the darker ones – and knowing you will get through it as you ride this wave, will relieve the stress of suppressing these feelings. This will also keep the lines of communication open between you and your partner.

 

  • Restructure your thoughts! This is not to advise Pollyanna or positive thinking.  Let’s face it, the last thing you need is to be told to “be positive” or “relax.” It’s extremely difficult to feel “positive” when you’re struggling with infertility.  However, take a moment to look at the thoughts you are telling yourself – the thoughts that are causing your fear and anxiety to escalate: “I know I’m not pregnant.”  “It probably didn’t work this time.” “What if it doesn’t work this time?” “What if I never become pregnant?”   These thoughts and statements are not etched in truth, and are only fear-based. Better thoughts… which may be equally true, but are not fear based…are: “I could very well be pregnant.” “The possibility that I will become pregnant is just as much a reality.”  Don’t fear that allowing yourself to entertain these hopeful thoughts will cause greater disappointment from a negative result. You will be disappointed or devastated either way, whether you’ve been fearful, anxious, and negative, or you’ve had the perspective that you may very well become pregnant.  Here is a mental framework that is absolutely realistic, true, and can go a long way to helping you maintain peace of mind:  “I am doing everything in my power to become pregnant, and therefore, I can emotionally let go for now, and leave this in the hands of (God, the universe, my doctors).”

 

  • Selectively avoid situations that you know will trigger your fear or anxiety.   Learn to say “NO”.  People will forgive you for not attending a family function, social event, or any situation where you find pregnant people, or people with babies, or people who will ask you when you are going to have children.  YOU come first at this time in your life. YOUR emotional health takes precedence.

 

  • Nurture yourself. Whatever that means for you. Massage, Reiki, reading, movies, shopping, yoga (not hot yoga), — what do you find to be a relaxing, self-nurturing activity?

 

  • Remember proper breathing. Slow, deep breathing will cause a physiological reversal of the body’s stress response.  This will reduce anxiety and stress.  Learn to practice breath work every day.

 

In essence, have compassion for yourself.  Talk about your feelings with your partner.  If you find it difficult to restructure your thoughts, practice the mantra that you have done everything in your power, and now it’s time to let go.  This takes practice, but you can do it if you take on this mission for self-balance, peace of mind, and equilibrium.

* * * * * * ** ** * * *

What do you do to get through the two-week wait?

 

 

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Long Island IVF’s Complete Mind Body Program Helps Year-Round

By Bina Benisch, MS, RN

December 10th, 2014 at 9:29 pm

 

credit: david castillo dominici/ freedigitalphotos.net


Life changes.  You’ve had your intentions, your hopes, and your dreams of where life would take you.  What you may not have envisioned is suddenly being a member of the population that struggles with infertility.  Being diagnosed with infertility – for any reason – “unexplained,” male factor, or female factor, can feel like a lonely, isolating experience for many reasons.  The fact is that most women never expected to be in this position, and this is often one of the most stressful times in a woman’s life.  Feelings of anxiety, depression, isolation, and anger can be overwhelming during infertility.  Often, anger masks the feelings of loss experienced month after month of trying to conceive without success. Infertility impacts on one’s marriage, self-esteem, sexual relationship, family, friends, job, and financial security.

 

Our Mind Body Program provides a space where you can relax, a place where you are free to express whatever it is you are feeling … a sacred circle of connection and support.  I have been told by women who have participated in the Mind Body Support Group that they experience a huge relief by connecting with other women who really “get it,” who understand these unique feelings. During the sessions, I take part of the time to teach Mind Body methods to elicit the relaxation response (emotional and physiological relaxation).  In this way, you can learn to practice these methods on your own on a daily basis.

 

In our Mind Body support group, patients experience the opportunity to share information, feelings, or their own personal stories. You may be surprised to see how your support can help others or you may be relieved to hear others experiencing the same type of thoughts and feelings as you experience. Often, the supportive nature of this group, and the connection that develops between members, fosters a healing process.
Feelings of isolation, anger, and stress are slowly relieved. Our Mind Body program focuses on symptom reduction and developing a sense of control over one’s life by utilizing Mind Body strategies and interventions which elicit the relaxation response. The relaxation response is actually a physical state that counteracts the stress response. You can think of it as the physiological opposite of the body’s stress response. We cannot be stressed and relaxed at the same time.
Therefore when a person elicits the relaxation response, the body’s stress response is halted, stress hormones diminish.  It is important to understand fertility holistically. Your mind and body work together, not separately. Therefore your thoughts have a direct effect on your physiology. When you are experiencing stress, your brain releases stress hormones. These stress hormones function in many ways. One of the stress hormones, cortisol, has been documented to interfere with the release of the reproductive hormones, GnRH (gonadatropin releasing hormone), LH (luteinizing hormone), FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), estrogen, and progesterone. In fact, severe enough stress can completely inhibit the reproductive system. Cortisol levels have also been linked to very early pregnancy loss. For this reason, it has been found extremely helpful when treating infertility, to include mind body strategies which help to alleviate the stress responses which may inhibit fertility.

 

All mind body methods ultimately cause the breathing to become deeper and slower. This causes stress responses such as heart rate, metabolic rate, and blood pressure to decrease. The way in which you are taught to elicit the relaxation response is through methods such as: breath focus, guided visual imagery, muscle relaxation and learned mindfulness, and meditation. Awareness of the mind body connection allows us to use our minds to make changes in our physiology. This holistic treatment – combining bio-medical science with mind body medicine deals with the treatment of the whole individual rather than looking only at the physical aspect.  The fact is, body and mind work together.

 

Let’s not forget the men. Men often feel uncertain about the ‘right’ way to support their partners, and don’t realize how they themselves are affected. We now offer our “Just For Guys Group.” In sharing how infertility affects the men, their relationships, and each man’s deepest sense of self, these men gain insight, and experience support during what can be an isolating and difficult time.

 

We invite and encourage you to take advantage of this unique area of support provided by The Mind Body Program at Long Island IVF.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * **

Have you tried any of the supports available in the Long Island IVF Mind-Body program? If so, was it helpful?

Did you know you do not have to be a LIIVF patient to access this support?

 

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Long Island IVF’s Complete Mind Body Program

By Bina Benisch, MS, RN

May 2nd, 2014 at 7:29 am

 

credit: david castillo/freedigitalphotos.net

With Mother’s Day around the bend, and Bereaved Mother’s Day coming this Sunday (for those who have suffered baby or child loss), it’s a good time to remind you of Long Island IVF’s many supportive counselors on staff, and to call your attention to the Mind Body Program and its benefits.

Bina Benisch is a Registered Professional Nurse and a psychotherapist with an M.S. in Mental Health Counseling. She did her Mind Body Medicine training at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, Harvard Medical School.

Bina is the support group coordinator, patient advocate, and stress management psychotherapist for Long Island IVF, working with both female and male patients. Her groups are wildly popular, and she always has room for more.

Bina explains the Long Island IVF Mind Body Program and its benefits for those couples trying to conceive:

 

Life changes.  You’ve had your intentions, your hopes, and your dreams of where life would take you.  What you may not have envisioned is suddenly being a member of the population that struggles with infertility.  Being diagnosed with infertility – for any reason – “unexplained,” male factor, or female factor, can feel like a lonely, isolating experience for many reasons.  The fact is that most women never expected to be in this position, and this is often one of the most stressful times in a woman’s life.  Feelings of anxiety, depression, isolation, and anger can be overwhelming during infertility.  Often, anger masks the feelings of loss experienced month after month of trying to conceive without success. Infertility impacts on one’s marriage, self-esteem, sexual relationship, family, friends, job, and financial security. 

Our Mind Body Program provides a space where you can relax, a place where you are free to express whatever it is you are feeling … a sacred circle of connection and support.  I have been told by women who have participated in the Mind Body Support Group that they experience a huge relief by connecting with other women who really “get it,” who understand these unique feelings. During the sessions, I take part of the time to teach Mind Body methods to elicit the relaxation response (emotional and physiological relaxation).  In this way, you can learn to practice these methods on your own on a daily basis

 

 

In our Mind Body support group, patients experience the opportunity to share information, feelings, or their own personal stories. You may be surprised to see how your support can help others or you may be relieved to hear others experiencing the same type of thoughts and feelings as you experience. Often, the supportive nature of this group, and the connection that develops between members, fosters a healing process.
Feelings of isolation, anger, and stress are slowly relieved. Our Mind Body program focuses on symptom reduction and developing a sense of control over one’s life by utilizing Mind Body strategies and interventions which elicit the relaxation response. The relaxation response is actually a physical state that counteracts the stress response. You can think of it as the physiological opposite of the body’s stress response. We cannot be stressed and relaxed at the same time.

Therefore when a person elicits the relaxation response, the body’s stress response is halted, stress hormones diminish.  It is important to understand fertility holistically. Your mind and body work together, not separately. Therefore your thoughts have a direct effect on your physiology. When you are experiencing stress, your brain releases stress hormones. These stress hormones function in many ways. One of the stress hormones, cortisol, has been documented to interfere with the release of the reproductive hormones, GnRH (gonadatropin releasing hormone), LH (luteinizing hormone), FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), estrogen, and progesterone. In fact, severe enough stress can completely inhibit the reproductive system. Cortisol levels have also been linked to very early pregnancy loss. For this reason, it has been found extremely helpful when treating infertility, to include mind body strategies which help to alleviate the stress responses which may inhibit fertility.

All mind body methods ultimately cause the breathing to become deeper and slower. This causes stress responses such as heart rate, metabolic rate, and blood pressure to decrease. The way in which you are taught to elicit the relaxation response is through methods such as: breath focus, guided visual imagery, muscle relaxation and learned mindfulness, and meditation. Awareness of the mind body connection allows us to use our minds to make changes in our physiology. This holistic treatment – combining bio-medical science with mind body medicine deals with the treatment of the whole individual rather than looking only at the physical aspect.  The fact is, body and mind work together.

Let’s not forget the men. Men often feel uncertain about the ‘right’ way to support their partners, and don’t realize how they themselves are affected. We now offer our “Just For Guys Group.” In sharing how infertility affects the men, their relationships, and each man’s deepest sense of self, these men gain insight, and experience support during what can be an isolating and difficult time.

We invite and encourage you to take advantage of this unique area of support provided by The Mind Body Program at Long Island IVF. Learn more here: http://bit.ly/1bGAvNb

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *** ** * ***

If you have ever met Bina or been part of one of her groups and would like to share your experience, please do so.

Photo credit: David Castillo http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php

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Long Island IVF Celebrates National Infertility Awareness Week with a Fun Fertile Cooking Event!

By Tracey Minella

March 26th, 2014 at 11:00 am

 

Move over, Emeril! Long Island IVF is “kickin’ it up a notch” for National Infertility Awareness Week this year with an offer you can’t refuse.

If you’ve been trying to conceive without success and could use a fun night out with other women in the same boat, this invitation is for you. And you do not even have to be a Long Island IVF patient to attend.

Be our guest for an evening of fun in the fertility kitchen with chef-lecturer, Patricia Bove at the quaint Long Island Cooking Café and Tea Room, 454 Main Street, Islip, New York, on Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 7:00 pm.

Experience the thrill of a live cooking demonstration while learning how you may improve your chances of conceiving. Savor the intoxicating aromas and treat your taste buds to a gourmet, sit-down, multi-course dinner of fertility-friendly foods. Kick back and let a professional chef entertain and serve you! You’ll walk away from this fabulous feast knowing how to optimize your chances of conceiving and take back some control over your fertility.

Did you know that what you eat…or don’t eat…can affect your fertility? Are you aware that science has proven that both men and women can improve their reproductive health by eating certain foods? Well, Long Island IVF is raising awareness of infertility in a fun and novel way this NIAW with an event designed to entertain as well as educate.

Understandably, an event like this is bound to fill up quickly. Seating is limited and pre-registration is required. Please RSVP immediately to reserve your spot by contacting our patient advocate, Bina Benisch at 516-398-5248 or binabenisch@gmail.com.  Please do not call the Long Island IVF office or Chef Bove directly. Don’t delay, call today.

* * * * * * * * * *

Do you know any… or have some favorite… fertile foods? Will we see YOU at this fun event???

 

 

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Surviving The Two Week Wait for Your Pregnancy Result

By Bina Benisch, MS, RN

February 8th, 2014 at 10:28 pm

 

credit Petr Kratochvil/publicdomainpictures.net

 

It seems interminable. 

 

You’ve finally made it through your IVF stimulation. You’ve survived your injections and all those early morning monitoring visits…not to mention being poked and prodded for blood and vaginal ultrasounds. You’ve undergone your retrieval procedure, sweated out the fertilization results, and here it is – the day of your embryo transfer.  Or, if you’re doing IUI, you’ve made it through your insemination.

 

What a relief!  You can finally relax…. NOT so fast!

 

The next 10-14 days can seem like an eternity when you’re waiting for your pregnancy result.

 

Your emotions may ride that roller coaster … slow ascending hope, with glimmers of joy at the prospect that this time you actually may be pregnant … only to be violently interrupted by thunderous pangs of fear that this may not have worked, and then falling into despair.

 

How do you regulate your feelings and create a sense of balance so that you’re not held hostage by every emotion and negative thought that grips you?  Here is your mission for the next 10-14 days, should you choose to accept it:

 

·        Create a list of leisure activities that you and your partner have always enjoyed doing, and set a plan into action.  Yes, there are jobs and responsibilities, but schedule some “special” time together for these activities… whether it’s watching movies together, outdoor activities, date nights, music, or working together on a project that embodies a sense of satisfaction.  Not only does this help keep your relationship close – which in itself is emotionally enriching – but it may distract your attention and maintain some perspective on your life so that you are not feverishly focused on your fertility status.

 

·        Talk to your partner about your feelings.  There are no pat solutions which will stop your anxiety. However, making room for all feelings – even the darker ones – and knowing you will get through it as you ride this wave, will relieve the stress of suppressing these feelings. This will also keep the lines of communication open between you and your partner. 

 

·        Restructure your thoughts! This is not to advise Pollyanna or positive thinking.  Let’s face it, the last thing you need is to be told to “be positive” or “relax.” It’s extremely difficult to feel “positive” when you’re struggling with infertility.  However, take a moment to look at the thoughts you are telling yourself – the thoughts that are causing your fear and anxiety to escalate: “I know I’m not pregnant.”  “It probably didn’t work this time.” “What if it doesn’t work this time?” “What if I never become pregnant?”   These thoughts and statements are not etched in truth, and are only fear-based. Better thoughts… which may be equally true, but are not fear based…are: “I could very well be pregnant.” “The possibility that I will become pregnant is just as much a reality.”  Don’t fear that allowing yourself to entertain these hopeful thoughts will cause greater disappointment from a negative result. You will be disappointed or devastated either way, whether you’ve been fearful, anxious, and negative, or you’ve had the perspective that you may very well become pregnant.  Here is a mental framework that is absolutely realistic, true, and can go a long way to helping you maintain peace of mind:  “I am doing everything in my power to become pregnant, and therefore, I can emotionally let go for now, and leave this in the hands of (God, the universe, my doctors).” 

 

·        Selectively avoid situations that you know will trigger your fear or anxiety.   Learn to say “NO”.  People will forgive you for not attending a family function, social event, or any situation where you find pregnant people, or people with babies, or people who will ask you when you are going to have children.  YOU come first at this time in your life. YOUR emotional health takes precedence. 

 

·        Nurture yourself. Whatever that means for you. Massage, Reiki, reading, movies, shopping, yoga (not hot yoga), — what do you find to be a relaxing, self-nurturing activity?

 

·        Remember proper breathing. Slow, deep breathing will cause a physiological reversal of the body’s stress response.  This will reduce anxiety and stress.  Learn to practice breath work every day.

 

In essence, have compassion for yourself.  Talk about your feelings with your partner.  If you find it difficult to restructure your thoughts, practice the mantra that you have done everything in your power, and now it’s time to let go.  This takes practice, but you can do it if you take on this mission for self-balance, peace of mind, and equilibrium. 

 

 

Photo credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=14919&picture=your-are-late

 

 

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Grieving Lost Embryo Siblings

By Tracey Minella

January 7th, 2014 at 9:51 am

 

image: anankkml/freedigitalphotos.net

 

Is it common for those born through IVF to grow up to grieve their “sibling embryos” that were not born…either because they were never transferred or because they failed to survive the transfer or at some point thereafter?

As an IVF mom, I was intrigued by an article I read this week in LifeNews.com* about a woman who grieves her lost embryo siblings. The woman complained that no one understands her overwhelming grief… including her own parents… and that there are no appropriate support groups for IVF children who feel like she does. Will my IVF children feel this way someday? Is there anything I can do to prevent that from happening?

I wonder how many IVF children suffer from this grief and guilt. If given a name, would we call it “Survivor Embryo Syndrome”? Does it occur more often in only children born through IVF…children who may be longing for a sibling? Or is it extremely rare and that’s why support groups don’t seem to exist?

There are countless grown women and men who were conceived long ago through this miracle technology and could possibly be struggling with such feelings.

These adults were conceived before today’s recommended single or double embryo transfers…probably back when four embryo transfers were the norm. Imagine being the only one out of four embryos that survived?  Wouldn’t it seem natural to often wonder “Why only me?”

Then again, sometimes all four embryos survived. In past decades, selective embryo reduction was often used in high order multiple pregnancies. A difficult and personal decision (and a controversial topic not without its own risks) selective reduction may be used to reduce the number of a high order multiple pregnancy, from quadruplets to twins or from triplets to a singleton, for example. It’s hard to imagine the conflicted feelings some of the surviving children of such cases might experience.

Why am I here and they are not?

Hopefully, IVF parents who may understandably be blinded to the plight of their lost embryos by their extreme thankfulness for the one that did survive will be mindful that their miracle may grow up with some survivor guilt issues.

If my own IVF daughter shares these feelings with me someday, I will certainly acknowledge them and help her process them in the same way we’ve always discussed how she came into this world. Age-appropriate information shared in many open discussions that always focus on our determination to have a baby and how very much we loved her even before she was born. I tell her that it was fate that she was the one we were meant to have at that given time, even if it’s sad that so many other embryos with the potential for life did not come to be. I tell her there is a reason she is here and to live her life to the fullest, use her talents, be happy, be charitable, and do good things. And if she still needed more help than I could give her, I’d encourage her to talk with a professional counselor with experience in infertility-related issues, such as Long Island IVF’s Bina Benisch, MS, RN. http://www.longislandivf.com/mind_body.cfm

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What do you think about this survivor guilt issue? How would you comfort your IVF child or what would you do to prevent them from feeling any guilt over being survivors?

 

* http://bit.ly/1dLdiHM

photo credit: anankkml/ http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php?id=100140080

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Long Island IVF’s Complete Mind Body Program

By Bina Benisch, MS, RN

December 27th, 2013 at 3:02 pm

 

image courtesy of david Castillo dominici/freedigital photos.net


Since many may still be reeling from the emotions and stress of the holidays, it’s a good time to remind you of Long Island IVF’s many supportive counselors on staff, and to call your attention to the Mind Body Program and its benefits.

Bina Benisch is a Registered Professional Nurse and a psychotherapist with an M.S. in Mental Health Counseling. She did her Mind Body Medicine training at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, Harvard Medical School.

Bina is the support group coordinator, patient advocate, and stress management psychotherapist for Long Island IVF, working with both female and male patients. Her groups are wildly popular, and she always has room for more.

Bina explains the Long Island IVF Mind Body Program and its benefits for those couples trying to conceive:

 

Life changes.  You’ve had your intentions, your hopes, and your dreams of where life would take you.  What you may not have envisioned is suddenly being a member of the population that struggles with infertility.  Being diagnosed with infertility – for any reason – “unexplained,” male factor, or female factor, can feel like a lonely, isolating experience for many reasons.  The fact is that most women never expected to be in this position, and this is often one of the most stressful times in a woman’s life.  Feelings of anxiety, depression, isolation, and anger can be overwhelming during infertility.  Often, anger masks the feelings of loss experienced month after month of trying to conceive without success. Infertility impacts on one’s marriage, self-esteem, sexual relationship, family, friends, job, and financial security. 

Our Mind Body Program provides a space where you can relax, a place where you are free to express whatever it is you are feeling … a sacred circle of connection and support.  I have been told by women who have participated in the Mind Body Support Group that they experience a huge relief by connecting with other women who really “get it,” who understand these unique feelings. During the sessions, I take part of the time to teach Mind Body methods to elicit the relaxation response (emotional and physiological relaxation).  In this way, you can learn to practice these methods on your own on a daily basis

 

 

In our Mind Body support group, patients experience the opportunity to share information, feelings, or their own personal stories. You may be surprised to see how your support can help others or you may be relieved to hear others experiencing the same type of thoughts and feelings as you experience. Often, the supportive nature of this group, and the connection that develops between members, fosters a healing process.
Feelings of isolation, anger, and stress are slowly relieved. Our Mind Body program focuses on symptom reduction and developing a sense of control over one’s life by utilizing Mind Body strategies and interventions which elicit the relaxation response. The relaxation response is actually a physical state that counteracts the stress response. You can think of it as the physiological opposite of the body’s stress response. We cannot be stressed and relaxed at the same time.

Therefore when a person elicits the relaxation response, the body’s stress response is halted, stress hormones diminish.  It is important to understand fertility holistically. Your mind and body work together, not separately. Therefore your thoughts have a direct effect on your physiology. When you are experiencing stress, your brain releases stress hormones. These stress hormones function in many ways. One of the stress hormones, cortisol, has been documented to interfere with the release of the reproductive hormones, GnRH (gonadatropin releasing hormone), LH (luteinizing hormone), FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), estrogen, and progesterone. In fact, severe enough stress can completely inhibit the reproductive system. Cortisol levels have also been linked to very early pregnancy loss. For this reason, it has been found extremely helpful when treating infertility, to include mind body strategies which help to alleviate the stress responses which may inhibit fertility.

All mind body methods ultimately cause the breathing to become deeper and slower. This causes stress responses such as heart rate, metabolic rate, and blood pressure to decrease. The way in which you are taught to elicit the relaxation response is through methods such as: breath focus, guided visual imagery, muscle relaxation and learned mindfulness, and meditation. Awareness of the mind body connection allows us to use our minds to make changes in our physiology. This holistic treatment – combining bio-medical science with mind body medicine deals with the treatment of the whole individual rather than looking only at the physical aspect.  The fact is, body and mind work together.

Let’s not forget the men. Men often feel uncertain about the ‘right’ way to support their partners, and don’t realize how they themselves are affected. We now offer our “Just For Guys Group.” In sharing how infertility affects the men, their relationships, and each man’s deepest sense of self, these men gain insight, and experience support during what can be an isolating and difficult time.

We invite and encourage you to take advantage of this unique area of support provided by The Mind Body Program at Long Island IVF.

photos credit: David Castillo Dominici

 

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