Written by Monti Pal, LPC
This week, April 24-30, 2016, is National Infertility Awareness week.
As many of you know, our son was conceived via IVF. We pursued this process due to a rare genetic disorder that I am a carrier for. Through testing, I also found out that I have some low fertility/infertility issues myself.
I often work with clients who are going through fertility treatments. After my blog post last year about IVF, I had many friends and acquaintances tell me that they had experienced multiple miscarriages and had gone through IUI and/or IVF themselves.
Many people struggle with shame and guilt around sharing that they are going through fertility treatments. They are afraid of how people might respond to them or how they might judge them.
If you have a friend or family member who is going through fertility treatments, there are some great resources out there about how to help and support them. I want to add to that literature because sometimes the tips aren't specific enough.
In this post, I want to get more specific about how to help and support a friend or family member who might be going through fertility treatments.
Mind In A Jar
Here's how to make your very own Mind in a Jar!
Using your Mind in a Jar:
The glitter represents thoughts and feelings. When you get upset or angry, shake the jar up real good. As you watch the glitter fall to the bottom, focus on your breathing. Just watch the glitter fall and breathe in and out slowly. Notice how your thoughts start to slow down, and how feelings start to settle as the glitter makes its way to the bottom of the jar.
Even though some of those thoughts and feelings might not go away, notice how they don’t have to push you around or control your behavior. Take a big, big breath and slowly let it out. How do you feel? Do you need to talk? Do you need a hug? Find an adult and tell them what you need right now.
Written by Jiovann Carrasco, LPC-S
Every year we have a tree trimming party the day after Thanksgiving with my brother’s family. We all get in our pj’s to decorate the tree with holiday music, food, games, and then we all pile onto the couch to watch a Christmas movie. It’s usually Christmas Vacation, but this year we watched Elf. I love this night more than any other time all year.
The next morning, my three year old broke my heart a little. She said, “Daddy, where are the presents? There are no presents under the tree.”
It’s not even December! When did she start thinking about presents? This will be her fourth Christmas, but it’s the first one where she began to associate the holidays with getting presents. It’s a critical year. Time to reassess. How am I reinforcing this message? And this got me thinking of how we reinforce the holiday gimmee gimmee’s as a society. How can we prevent the gimmee gimmee’s from turning our sweet angel babies into greedy, bratty assholes?
Written by Andrea Maldonado, LPC
October was National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and as October came and went my husband and I lit our candle to memorialize the losses that we have encountered in years past. Loss of any kind can be traumatic and difficult, but loss of a baby, well that is probably the biggest pain I have ever personally experienced. It wasn’t just my pain either, it was my husband's, and our family’s, who had already come to love the little lives that ended.
For me, I think one of the hardest parts of the experience was how isolating that kind of grief can be. I was lucky enough to have a few friends at the time who had experienced pregnancy loss, and were available for us, but the majority of my circle of friends and family had, surprisingly, little to no experience with the subject. I could feel that they wanted to be there to support my husband and I, but it’s difficult on the other side to know “the right thing” to say.
On August 17th, 2014, I became a mom to a beautiful baby boy. Before his birth our director, Jiovann Carrasco, advised me to, “Hold your plans gently.”
It is a message that I carry with me now always.
So many plans went out the window for me on the day my son was born and I remembered that statement, “hold your plans gently.”
I understood the magnitude of hold your plans gently as I was wheeled into the OR for an emergency c-section.
I remembered the statement again as we struggled with breastfeeding. Hold your plans gently.
Holding your plans gently allows one to be mindful. It means meeting the present moment with non judgment. It means not hanging onto, “the way things should be”, or being angry with yourself for feeling a certain way. Holding your plans gently is a way for us to be mindful mothers.
Parents often struggle with deciding what is normal behavior and when it’s time to ask for professional help for their child. Whether or not your child has age-appropriate hyper-activity or ADHD? Is she exhibiting normal teenage angst or has she crossed into depression? What are typical childhood fears vs. an anxiety disorder? It can be a challenge to figure out if this is just a phase, or if your child is crying out for help.
As a mental health professional, I truly believe everyone could benefit from mindfulness training and/or counseling! People of all ages need assistance at one time or another in their lives to get through a tough transition, learn how to handle their emotions, and navigate relationships. That being said, I’ve listed below some warning signs that counseling should be treated as more of a necessity than a recommendation for children and adolescents.
Early in my counseling career, I witnessed for the first time in my adult life, what I’m pretty sure constitutes child abuse. I was in line at Big Lots and a young woman got in line behind me. She had a little boy in the shopping cart who had been crying the whole time I was in the store. I’d say the boy was between 18 and 24 months old and I believed he may have had a cold since he had a raspy cry and his face was covered in snot. The woman began to tell the child “Shut. Up! Shut. Up! Shut. Up!” Each time she said the word “up,” she smacked him in the mouth with her hand--over and over. Not super hard; not like she was going to leave any marks, but still, this was a baby!
One of the best ways to take control of your psychological health is to get regular exercise. Its effective, empowering, healthy, and best of all, it's free.
Studies have shown the efficacy of engaging in regular exercise to be comparable to that of anti-depressant medication. Furthermore, these studies have also shown that individuals who exercised regularly versus took anti-depressant medication, had less relapse of depressive symptoms. This means that exercising regularly actually makes structural and long-term beneficial changes in you brain. Awesome right!?
Did you know that 75% of highly successful business executives said good physical fitness is "critical for career success at the executive level?” Imagine functioning as a high level executive of your own life. What would your life look like with better ability to focus, improved confidence, and enhanced ability to follow through on your goals and daily tasks?
It’s that time of year again! Already! So long, summer vacation, relaxation, sleeping in, and lounging by the pool… here comes homework, setting an alarm, and packing lunches. This time of year yields a mixture of emotions for kids and parents (and teachers) alike. Along with the excitement of picking out first day of school outfit options, finding out who your kids’ teachers are, and discovering if your child’s BFF is in her class so she’ll be less nervous, sometimes anticipating the next school-year inspires anxiety and fear – at any age. Back to school ads are everywhere right now telling you to buy the hot new trends for fall, cute school supplies, and basically the essentials for fitting in and having a successful school year. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the back-to-school madness!
A Special Note to Parents: Here’s a few ideas for staying grounded on the first day of school and modeling a mindful approach to beginning the school-year with peaceful presence:
If you get to Kerby Lane Café early enough on a Saturday morning, the time of day when you wait not necessarily for a table, but for an available high chair, you might get the chance to meet Dori Kelly, balloon artist and face painter. Dori saunters cheerfully from table to table sporting a fanciful balloon crown to showcase her handiwork. My two year old daughter Sofie requested a flower hat, which Dori swiftly fashioned with great flair. The pink flower protruded up from the back of the hat on a green stem and bounced playfully with every movement of her head.
Pancakes. Balloon hat. What more could a girl wish for?
When we arrived home we went into the backyard to blow bubbles and she proudly donned her new colorful headpiece. As she jumped around catching bubbles, the one-size-fits-all balloon hat eventually slipped off of her head and onto the grass. And then the inevitable happened.
Pop! Pop! Pop! . . . POP!
And it was gone.
About Our Blog
Here you will find articles contributed by members of our team. We hope to provide helpful information here to inspire mindful living and general wellness. The information provided here is not a substitue for professional mental health advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you need to speak to a professional regarding your mental health, please make an appointment.