- OVERCOMING Infertility – A Symposium On Ways to Become A Parent
- Top Recommendation For Yoga Fertility Solutions: Pay Attention
- Blog Talk Radio Show on Infertility: Therapeutic Wisdom, Skills, and Success Strategies
- Yoga Fertility Solutions
- The New Normal NBC TV Series: A Critique By The Infertility Counselor
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While I was taking an asana yoga class in India, the teacher stopped the class and said, “PAY ATTENTION! You are not paying attention to your practice. What is the point of doing your yoga practice if you are not focusing on what you are doing?”
This comment still resonates with me. What is the point in doing anything if you are not fully engaged in the present moment? Going through the motions of your daily life will only get you through the day. You miss the special moments, the special feelings that arise, and the sensations of being alive and aware.
You may be thinking you prefer not being fully aware of the emotional challenges of infertility. I’ll suggest a different perspective. All feelings come and go throughout the day, and if you are not paying close attention, you may not notice the many feelings that surface when the challenges are absent. You never feel just one way, like happy or sad, for the entire day. You can watch your feelings come and go, and it’s best to be gentle on yourself and try not to judge your feelings. Notice them, pay attention to them, and let them find their natural flow.
When you are paying attention during your yoga practice, you will find the benefits of the yoga practice remain with you after the class ends. The reason is because the true essence of yoga is to clear the distractions and chatter of the mind. Once the mind is clear, focused, and calm, paying attention requires little to no effort. Practice paying attention to your feelings, and you will begin to experience your fertility in new ways.
I was the guest speaker on Leesa Myers’ Blog Talk Radio Show on September 9, 2013. The topic was: Infertility: Therapeutic Wisdom, Skills, and Success Strategies.
I rrecently spent seven weeks in India traveling and studying Yoga and Fertility at the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram in Chennai, a large city on the coast of southern India. I have studied, practiced, and taught yoga in this tradition for over 30 years. The focus of my trip was to take an intensive four week course, The Heart of Yoga. I took seven hours of yoga classes each day, and during my lunch breaks or at the end of class, I often had a private lesson with one of their master teachers who specializes in Yoga and Fertility. I was also given a personal yoga practice to be done every evening. To say the least, it was a yoga immersion which I have wanted to experience for the past 25 years.
I will be blogging about what I learned about yoga and fertility, and I am very excited to share this ancient wisdom with women, men and couples who are struggling to become parents. I look forward to reviewing my book of notes and memories of an enlightened Yoga and Fertility journey.
I have been remiss in blogging about “The New Normal” TV series. There are some very positive aspects of this show, and some not so positive aspects.
Let’s start with the positive:
The parents express how desperately they want a child. This is true for all couples I have seen who are making these heroic efforts to become parents.
I love Goldie saying,” A family is a family and love is love”. That warms my heart.
I also love Brian saying, “Not being the baby’s biodad doesn’t make me less of a Dad”.
Another great quote, “A surrogate is like an easy bake oven”.
There are many lines which express perfectly the way surrogates and intended parents feel and think. This helps people understand and soften into this particular way of creating a family.
Now for the not so positive:
I was VERY disappointed to learn that Goldie is a traditional surrogate, rather than a gestational carrier. It is very rare for anyone to use a traditional surrogate so this misleads the general public about surrogacy. In fact, I think it’s damaging, and I’ll tell you why. I have counseled with many amazing women who want to be gestational carriers. The gestational carriers like knowing that they are not using their own eggs so the baby has no genetic connection to them. This helps them stay more emotionally detached and clear that they are growing a baby created by the couple’s embryos (or in the case of a gestational carrier for a gay couple, it would be the man’s sperm and donor eggs). Most gestational carriers say they would never consider traditional surrogacy because then the baby would be conceived with her eggs, and therefore genetically connected to her. This may make it too difficult for her to give up the baby after delivery.
I have met with many gay couples who want to have a child. They create embryos using one of the man’s sperm and an egg donor. The donor may be anonymous, or she may be a friend or relative (not a relative of the man who is using his sperm). The egg donor goes through in vitro fertilization to retrieve her eggs, and then her eggs are mixed with the man’s sperm to create embryos. Typically one or two embryos are transferred into the uterus of a gestational carrier, and the additional embryos are frozen. The frozen embryos may be used to try other cycles if the carrier does not become pregnant this cycle. The embryos may also be used for having other children in the future.
I also felt that many of the characters were trying too hard to play an exaggerated role, and it was a bit over the top and irritating at times. The grandmother, Jane, was way too strong of an outspoken bigot. Goldie’s daughter, Shania, was trying too hard to be an odd child and acted too mature for her young age. Goldie’s ex-boyfriend, Rocky, is an idiot and I can’t imagine she would have ever been interested in him in the first place. I liked the other characters.
Overall, the show is entertaining. As I stated earlier, it is a misrepresentation of surrogacy, and I am sad NBC didn’t do their homework to get this critical piece correct. I will stay tuned and see how the season unfolds, but they really lost my attention after the first episode. As an infertility counselor who counsels hundreds of men, women, and couples who are using assisted medical technologies to create their families, I advocate strongly for a well informed public who can better understand and support the 7.3 million people who are struggling to become parents.
I have been anxiously awaiting the new NBC television series, The New Normal. I have been an infertility counselor for over twenty years, and I have counseled with hundreds of couples, including same sex couples, who are passionately pursuing their dream of becoming parents with the help of egg donors, sperm donors, embryo donors, and gestational carriers.
Many of these assisted reproductive technologies are not understood, and I applaud NBC for airing a television series which shows the road less traveled for many couples who are trying to build their families. In addition, it’s so cool that NBC got even edgier by casting a gay couple. It is time this topic of building families through donors and surrogates was out of the closet. We have over 7 million people in the US who are experiencing infertility, and the numbers are increasing at alarming rates.
In the introduction of my book, Managing The Stress Of Infertility: How To Balance Your Emotions, Get The Support You Need, And Deal With Painful Social Situations When You’re Trying To Become Pregnant, I write: “My dream is that one day infertility will no longer be a secret disease and people can openly talk about their treatment and family-building choices without fear of judgment, stigma, or negative consequences. Life is a gift to be celebrated. A child is a gift to a parent, no matter how conception occurs or how a parent and child come together.”
So I’m signing off the watch the season preview. The opening premiere is Tuesday, September 11, 9::30 EST. Stay tuned and I’ll blog about it tomorrow.
This topic of men parenting at older ages has been in the media lately. This is the latest research that was in the New York Times today:
Historically, infertility has focused on the age of the mother, her eggs in particular, and has rarely mentioned the age of the father. With the rise in autism, it seems this study is worth noting as older couples are passionately pursuing parenthood.