Today marks the start of National Infertility Awareness Week. One in eight couples face infertility, and yet it's not really talked that much about. During this pandemic, it's an especially difficult time to be going through infertility as most fertility interventions have been put on hold indefinitely.
What is your story?
Has infertility intersected with your life? Or the lives of people you know?
How can you take good care of yourself this week?
According to this New York Times article, we're more likely to NOT hear what those closest to us are really saying because we think we already know what they are going to say. Ouch.
I'm hearing from family, friends, and clients about the drive to be productive during this shelter-in-place period. Folks are posting on social media about their bread baking, house de-cluttering, and language learning. But is now really the time to be productive? What should we be focusing on right now?
The target audience for this article is those in academia, but I think it's applicable to all of us.
Why You Should Ignore All That Coronavirus-Inspired Productivity Pressure
What a strange and unusual time this is in the world.
It's the second week of official sheltering-in-place in Santa Clara County.
How are you doing?
What are you finding difficult? What are you enjoying? Who or what do you miss? Who or what don't you miss?
What is helping you through this time? What isn't helping?
Have you had any big thoughts about Life or Your Life or What's Important? (If not, that's okay!)
Just wanted to check-in and see how you're doing. Stay well. Take very good care of yourself.
PS: If you're feeling anxious, depressed, lonely, or just need someone to talk to you can text HOME to 741741 and you'll be connected to a Crisis Counselor.
As if there wasn't already enough waiting while going through infertility, now there's even more waiting to see when fertility treatments can be resumed.
Here is a New York Times article on how this pandemic has affected fertility treatments.
This 22-minute episode of Life Kit titled "How to Start Therapy" tackles some initial questions you might have about therapy including how to find a therapist, fee, and how to talk to others about therapy.
Maybe you’ve seen this scene from the show “Friends” in which Ross and friends try to move a sofa. It’s not working very well, and Ross recognizes the need to “Pivot!” or, in other words, to do something different from what they’ve been doing.
We all come to crossroads in life in which we need to pivot and change what we’re doing. What we’ve been doing isn’t working anymore, or maybe it’s not the direction we want to be headed in right now. It might have been right at one point, but now, it’s not.
I’ve come to a point in my practice in which I’m going to pivot.
I’m going to keep working with clients on relationships – I enjoy helping clients understand how their early relational history may be shaping their relational patterns today, and figuring out what is still helpful and what is not.
However, I’m also going to add another focus to my practice: working with clients going through infertility. This comes about from my own experience in expanding my family, and experiencing firsthand the social, emotional, relational, and physical impact of infertility.
To that end, I’ve completed the American Society of Reproductive Medicine’s Certificate Program for Mental Health Professionals. This includes courses covering Basic Infertility, Treatment Interventions, and Third Party Reproduction.
Moving forward, I’ll still post general book and podcast recommendations on this blog, and I’ll also post recommendations that speak specifically to the experience of infertility and its impact on mental health.
I’m looking forward to this pivot in my practice, continuing to work with current clients on improving their relationships, and also welcoming and supporting new clients in sorting out their experience of infertility.
Hey friend, it’s been awhile!
It was good to see you again although I wish it had been under different circumstances. I’m so sorry about your dad. You and your family have had a rough year. I wish we could have talked a bit more. You mentioned (it might have been said jokingly?) that you might start therapy.
Thought I’d write you and let you in on a secret: I’m in therapy. Promise you won’t tell my parents if you run into them? Thanks.
I wanted to tell you that therapy wasn’t what I thought it would be. I thought it would be totally focused on ways to cope with my unhappiness, my boredom, my anger…and we do talk about that sometimes.
What I didn’t expect was to focus so much on…well, me. That might sound silly because obviously in therapy, I’d talk about myself. But seriously, I’ve never really focused on myself.
I know we’ve lost touch over the years, so I don’t know what your family is like now. In high school though, I do remember our parents being similar in that they expected us to study hard, be at the top of our class, go to an elite university so that we could get into a prestigious graduate program, so that we could get a high-paying job and buy a nice house and car. I think we both worked really hard to meet all of those expectations.
In therapy I’m learning about what my parents didn’t focus on: me. Who I am, what I want, how I feel. My dreams, my worries, my fears. My feelings, my hurts, and my insecurities. It’s weird to talk about this stuff in therapy because it’s not something that comes natural to me. And at first, it was really, really hard. I’m still getting used to it. But I’m finding that there’s more to me than my degrees, my title, my car, my house. A lot more, actually. It’s been hard, and healing, and eye-opening.
Ah, but you notice that I asked you to not mention to my parents that I’m in therapy? Yeah, they don’t know and I don’t want them to know. They think that seeing a therapist means that something is REALLY wrong with you. Like you’re crazy. You know, I’m doing pretty okay. On the outside, it looks like I’m alright, doesn’t it? Yeah, it was on the inside that I was suffering, hurt, limping along, and sad. I was never really taught what to do with all of those feelings except pretend that everything was okay. I’m learning now that feelings aren't scary. They don’t last forever. And that it actually feels better if someone (or a handful of select someones) knows what I’m going through. I don’t have to be alone.
Anyway, that’s all for now. I’m thinking about you, your mom, and your family. Text me next time you're in town. We'll catch up over some coffee. Or ramen.
Linking to Episode #45 of Laura Tremaine’s 10 Things To Tell You podcast titled: Questions for the End of the Year.
It’s that time of year again. Holiday parties, gift-giving….and perhaps some time to reflect on 2019. Laura Tremaine provides ten questions to help you do just that.
These questions would make great journal prompts or conversation starters. Or maybe answer all ten questions for yourself and then share with a friend who has done the same.
Here’s to more reflection and connection in 2020!
I’m Elaine Gee-Wong and I'm a therapist with a private practice in Santa Clara, CA.
Any information or advice on this website is for informational purposes only, and should not take the place of information or care provided to you by your physicians, medical, or mental health care professionals.