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Archive for the ‘depression and infertility’ tag

My Stork Went South for the Winter

By Tracey Minella

March 13th, 2014 at 7:59 pm


credit: njaj/

I don’t know about you, but I am beyond done with this winter.

A normal, dreary winter is enough to send folks… especially those suffering from infertility… into a serious bout of the blues. And these back-to-back blizzards have been just another reason to climb into bed and hide under the covers. And sulk…justifiably.

Spring coaxes us out of hibernation with warmer air and the promise of new beginnings. Longer daylight hours brighten our moods and invite us back to nature through exercise or gardening. And even those who respectfully decline those invitations are generally less down as the weather warms up.

Now that the clocks have been changed and spring is supposedly on the way, it’s a good time to reassess and possibly recommit to your infertility treatment plan. To do some mental “spring cleaning”. To try to grasp hope if it has eluded you lately.

However, if you’re feeling really depressed, it may be more than the “winter blues”. According to the Mayo Clinic, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year, usually in the fall through winter months.*

If your depression is persistent or is interfering significantly in your daily life, you might consider group or individual counseling. Long Island IVF offers several therapy options, available to both existing patients and those who are not yet patients. For more information, see the Mind-Body section of our website:

 So get outside and take a deep breath. Open the windows and let the stale winter blow away. The buds will be returning to the trees soon.

And maybe that stork will be coming over the horizon soon, too.

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Do you find the winter months to be more depressing? Can you share any tips for how you handle feeling blue? What works for you?




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Infertility: 4 Tips for Surviving the Back-to-School Blues

By Tracey Minella

September 7th, 2013 at 9:20 pm



image courtesy of anankkml/free digital

When you’re trying to conceive, it seems that everywhere you look, everyone is pregnant. Except you.

This week and next across Long Island, this emotional overload worsens as children return to school. After three months away in summer camps or out of sight in backyard pools, the little monsters come screeching out to the curb in full force.

Millions of them…or so it seems. They’re on every corner. Giggling at the bus-stop with their new outfits and backpacks full of crayons and glue sticks while their moms chat over morning coffee. Yellow buses seem to outnumber regular cars. It’s almost too much to bear.

Here are 4 tips on how to get through this transition:

1. Avoidance. If it’s possible, don’t go out for the half-hour or so that kids are waiting at the bus-stop. Leave a little earlier or later.

2. Treat yourself to something special. Whatever your budget, there is surely something that would brighten your day. Some trinket, manicure, massage, coffee on the beach? Infertility has deprived you. So indulge.

3. Do something to enhance your health or your odds of conceiving. It could be anything from re-committing to that gym membership now that summer’s over, taking yoga or doing something meditative, clearing your mind with a daily walk, sleeping longer, eating better, quitting a bad habit. Check out Long Island IVF’s Mind-Body Program offerings to get support and relieve the stress of infertility

4. Turn a negative into a positive. If you are tired of having to wait for your day to finally buy a child back-to-school clothes and school supplies…don’t. Gather your courage, walk into the nearest Walmart or Target and open your heart to a child that can’t afford such necessities. Your local social services department or school district would gladly accept donations of loaded backpacks, lunch boxes, and new clothes on behalf of needy children. Be an angel. It’ll make you feel better.

With any luck, you’ll be an overprotective parent secretly following your precious cargo’s school bus to school very soon.

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How do you get through the back-to-school blues? Any tips to share?


Photo credit: anankkmi

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Infertile in Springtime

By Tracey Minella

March 19th, 2013 at 5:36 pm

image courtesy of Ambro/free digital

Worn down by winter and overwhelmed by infertility’s challenges? You’re not alone. But spring is coming tomorrow…at least on the calendar if not by the forecast. It’s time to change things up a bit.

When I ask other infertile couples what the most frustrating thing about infertility is, lack of control is one of the most popular answers. Lack of control over your dreams, your life, and your body. The longer you live under this frustration, the greater the chance you’ll feel stressed or depressed. Your “fuse” gets shorter and the littlest thing that upsets your routine can…understandably…throw you off. Even last week’s time change—one hour lost— may’ve affected your routine and added to your exhaustion and crankiness for days!

Why not turn it all back around to your benefit?

Take control over a small block of time. Make a change for the better and take back some control this spring. Just a bit.

Imagine committing to even one small change in your day…one that you choose. One that you want. One that you… control.

No need to be drastic or crazy or set a lofty goal you can’t reach (which will defeat the purpose here). Pick something do-able and fun that is just for you. If it happens to have an added fertility-boosting benefit, all the better. But the main goal is that you feel better, either physically or emotionally, or both. And that you feel more in control of your life.

Here are a few examples of little things you can consider:

  • Drink more water. You will feel and look better and the health benefits are countless.
  • Reduce stress and get organized with a “To Do” list before bed. You’ll sleep better knowing your next day is planned out and you haven’t forgotten something. Then, spend 15 minutes on your most important task first thing in the morning if you can, so you start off feeling more in control.
  • Exercise for just 10 minutes each day. If that seems like root canal, just pick something fun that makes you move. Anything. Dance like Elaine from Seinfeld (just close the blinds first)!
  • Take 10 minutes to keep a daily gratitude journal or… if you’re feeling particularly peeved…then make it a venting journal. Either way, you will have an outlet for your feelings and you’ll feel better afterwards.
  • Sleep more. Take a power nap at lunchtime of you’re feeling tired or treat yourself to an early turn-in at bedtime. Even 30 minutes would feel indulgent. Trust me.
  • Meditate. It could be in a fertile yoga class or just grabbing 15 minutes of quiet, uninterrupted “you” time on your den floor (or outside if it ever warms up again).

What kind of big impact could these small changes make for you?

How about committing to one of them…or some other change that works for you? Want accountability? Post your commitment right here if that’ll help you keep it. Just say the word and I’ll crack that whip to keep you motivated…and I’ll be your biggest cheerleader when you stick with it. Let’s see what a difference a small change that you control can make in your life in 30 days.

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You in?


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Is Multi-Tasking or Sleep Deprivation Affecting Your Fertility Efforts?

By Tracey Minella

July 16th, 2012 at 12:03 pm

If you are TTC, especially with medical intervention, chances are you’re totally overwhelmed. You may be struggling emotionally. Or juggling extra jobs to finance your treatments. Or both.

Maybe you keep extra busy to avoid focusing on the baby you don’t yet have or to avoid having to say “Yes” to another baby shower invitation. Maybe you don’t know how to say “No”, so you are beyond depressed by attending an endless string of baby-centered affairs for everyone else but you. Maybe you stay in simply because there’s no room for a vacation when there’s an IUI or IVF cycle draining your finances.

Those with secondary infertility are trying not to neglect the needs of one child as they focus on expanding their family, all while living in fertility limbo. Often unsupported by friends after having had baby success… and shunned by jealous primary infertility patients who may see their quest for a second child as greedy…secondary infertility patients may find themselves thrust into “justification mode” at any moment. Why should they have to explain that as much as they are grateful for one child, that they would love another one?

Well, banging at this keyboard on only two hours sleep (and having pulled an all-nighter two nights ago for the first time since my college days in the old millennium), I am acutely aware of the toll thatmy style of “extreme multi-tasking” takes on the body. Especially as we age. I’d need an IV of caffeine to make a difference today.

This is really not good. There are so many bodily functions that you mess with when you deprive yourself of sleep. I was a maniac back when I was TTC. Worked like a dog at three different jobs and only had 2 days off per month, every other Sunday. Obviously I was escaping from something. Or trying to. Looking back now, I wonder what role that crazy schedule may have had in the length of my journey.

How many of you are out there TTC, but doing too many tasks in your day?  

Maybe a good guideline to follow is to ask yourself: “Would I be doing all this stuff at this pace if I were pregnant?”

Hey Superwoman! I urge you to STOP and re-evaluate your to-do list. Now. Please knock-off whatever tasks you can afford to for the benefit of your health and conception efforts. Get some rest. Maybe do some meditation. Better yet, give Long Island IVF’s Bina Benisch a call to learn about how the Mind/Body Program and therapy sessions may help you through this difficult time

Do not make me come after you with a block of Kryptonite!

If you never sleep, you’ll never dream. And if you don’t dream, how can your dreams come true? 

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Confession time: Name one (or 10) things you did this week that you know you shouldn’t have done because it pushed you too far mentally, emotionally, physically or financially?  Fess up. Did you forget, lose, or break something because you were rushing or too tired and not “on your game”? And let us know how many hours you sleep each night and if you feel it’s enough, too little, or too much.


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Three TV Shows to Banish the Infertility Blues

By Tracey Minella

August 9th, 2011 at 12:00 am

Depression and infertility go hand in hand. And while the success rates climb, there is still no escaping disappointment along the journey toward parenthood.

First, it’s facing the fact that there’s something wrong and you need medical assistance for something that should come naturally. Then, it may be clomid, IUI’s or IVF. Maybe donor egg or sperm. Maybe adoption.

When disappointment comes, by either a phone call or bathroom visit with negative results, there’s really nothing anyone can say to make you feel better. In fact, you may prefer to just be alone to process your grief.

Maybe watch a little TV…with a quart of Ben and Jerry’s. Or a drink. Or two.

Well, TV may be just what the doctor ordered for your depression. Not the crap that’s on prime time today. I’m talking about some real vintage comedy shows. You know…the ones in black and white or that ran for like 10 years?

This weekend, Lucille Ball from the famous sitcom “I Love Lucy”, would have been 100 years old. For me she will always be the reigning queen of vintage sitcom comedy. Just her facial expressions were enough to cause you to break out in laughter.

Not only was Lucy a riot, but that show was pretty racy for its time, depicting a Cuban and American married couple in pajamas in their bedroom with the twin beds. I guess Little Ricky was conceived during some romp on the kitchen counter during a commercial break…

But I digress…

Under the theory that laughter is the best medicine, here are my top three picks for sitcoms practically guaranteed to make you laugh even in the face of yet another negative pregnancy test.

I Love Lucy: Tell me the wine-stomping episode, charm school, and the candy-wrapping conveyor belt shows were not all laugh -out- loud funny.

The Honeymooners: Oh man. Remember “Chef of the Future”, “Captain Video”, and “The Hucklebuck”? How about Swanee River and The $64,000 question? Or "My Fortune"? A string of poloponies? Bang Zoom! 

Seinfeld: (Ok. It’s not a vintage black and white show, but I was afraid you’d think I too was 100 years old if I picked another old classic!) I can’t even narrow it down to my favorite episode, though “Master of Your Domain” might be the one if I had to do so.

Most can be found in re-runs somewhere on your cable channels or are sold as collections in stores. Worth the investment. Trust me.

Of course, there are many others. I confess that I’m also a Family Guy and Two and a Half Men fan, though those are controversial ones for some people’s tastes.

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If you had to choose which sitcoms to hide away with, to help you get through the lowest lows of your infertility journey, what would they be?

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