The International Council on Infertility Information Dissemination, Inc

Miracles and Memories Pins

Miracles and Memories Pin

Miracles and Memories PinConsider the first and ONLY family-building INCIID Miracles and Memories pin for yourself, your family and friends - or if you are a reproductive endocrinology and infertility clinic or a patients who might want to provide them to your extended family members or to friends. INCIID was the first to come out with a pin covering all aspects of family-building.

Providing these particularly during "parenting" holidays (Christmas, Mother's Day, Father's Day etc.) can be supportive and helpful to those struggling to build their family. For thousands of reproductively challenged couples, the holidays can be a difficult time, as their only wish is to have a family of their own. If you are a doctor caring for patients,  INCIID is asking you to give out “Miracles and Memories” family-building pin to show patients and staff in a small but caring way that you support efforts to build a family. The idea is to build awareness and support for INCIID, a non-profit organization, providing scholarships for couples with infertility diagnoses as well as support and information on family building options. If you are a patient, or the family of a patient struggling with fertility, pregnancy loss or making the decision to adopt - Miracles and Memories Pins can provide added support.

Because INCIID is a non-profit organization, it relies solely on donations and contributions to maintain the success of the “From INCIID the Heart” scholarship program.  The INCIID team has created “Memories and Miracles” pins. INCIID is asking  couples, doctors, family members to donate just $25 to increase infertility awareness while at the same time providing a tax deductible donation to increase awareness and in support of creating a family.

The pins are packaged in a small clear plastic baggy attached to a white card that explains representation of each color on the pin and that pins support INCIID’s work and the IVF Scholarship.

The MAM (Miracles & Memories) Family-Building Pin :

Download the Bulk order form (for bulk orders of 100 or more pins) including a photo of the Miracles and Memories (MAM) pins

 

 

The Sounds of Silence

THE SOUNDS OF SILENCE

By Helen Adrienne, LCSW, BCD

 

 

Simon and Garfunkel sang of the “words of the prophets being written on subway walls and tenement halls” and prophetic words being “whispered in the sounds of silence.”  As prophets themselves, they sang of “people talking without speaking, people hearing without listening.”  This article is an invitation for you to ponder what “vision might have been planted in your brain [which] still remains…within the sound of [your] silence.” 

 

           

So often we run from pillar to post seeking answers when what we need to know is within us.  And when the going gets tough the tough usually get going in every direction to get the information they need to resolve a dilemma.  This is an effective coping skill.  Others - friends, colleagues, relatives - who have been there before us can help; and professionals are trained to provide guidance which we need at critical moments and reaching out to them for help is healthy. 

 

When in a frenzied state, it often feels impossible to escape from bodily tension or to come in for a landing mentally so as to really know what course of action is best.  Crises such as infertility amplify the physiology of stress and for most of us the frenzy of a circumstance is met with a frenzy of body and mind.  Common sense sends us to others for answers and guidance, which is important.  Yet crises usually involve making decisions and the only one who can know if a decision is right for us is us.

 

An often overlooked aspect of dealing with a crisis is quieting the noise of physical and mental frenzy.  The body needs the respite of serenity and the mind cannot be expected to decide what is right if it is spinning.  Crises create a unique dilemma: There is a physical and mental need to slow if not stop the tide of frenzy at the same time that the tide of frenzy has such force that it is hard to imagine that you could sit still with it without getting bowled over.  This is a common situation for those struggling to arrive at parenthood but it is also common for any of us struggling with any crisis.  To learn how to be with the sounds of your own silence is just what any doctor with a mind/body orientation would order.

 

Meditation, guided imagery, the relaxation response, self-hypnosis, mindfulness and breathing exercises are all cousins to one another and all serve to calm the savage breast, as do physical activities such as yoga or tai chi.  Mind/body frenzy is a viscous circle that goes in both directions and meditation and its cousins and the focused physicality of yoga and tai chi are different doors by which we can enter a frenzied state to break the cycle. 

 

I have been practicing as well as teaching many of these approaches for many years and I can attest to their effectiveness in hearing the sounds – the wisdom – that can emerge from silence.  The physical restlessness of stress or a mind which jumps like a Mexican bean need physical and mental silence as an antidote to stress.  This allows the bodymind to approach if not return to neutral.  Once any of us allows a momentum of experiencing serenity or stillness to gather, it can come to be experienced as a “positive addiction.”  Seeking relief is easier once you understand that getting relief is possible.  The fact that relief is relieving becomes its own motivation, if not addiction.

 

But what if you have lived in general and through crises in particular as if you were addicted to stress, maybe even without being fully conscious of it?  You would be in good company.  In this fast-paced world where multi-tasking is held in high esteem and where caffeine may as well be infused intravenously, the notion of being able to reverse the physiology of stress is at best in the margins of consciousness for some of us.

 

It can be brought front and center.  Tuning in to the rich and wise silence – the prophet within each of us - is a skill that can be learned to great benefit.  There is at least one approach which is right for you which can be discovered. But then it must be practiced in order to become legitimized by a mindset that has excluded it or has been averse to it.  Practice lays down new neural pathways which, over time, become a new reality.  Conversely, refusing to honor learned limitations diminishes their neuronal power, making those limitations less of an obstacle over time.

 

You may feel that you would like to learn how to return your body and mind to neutral and may have even tried it, possibly to no avail.  I fully respect that self-assessment.  After all, that is how you have been experiencing yourself.  But all you are telling yourself really is that you have not had the right teacher or enough patience or especially enough belief in your capacity to make this change.  Belief systems can be powerful barriers.  But if the struggle with fertility or any other struggle has left you feeling a pressure to change now, and if whatever you are doing to cope is not working – then you might feel a motivation to give listening to the sounds of your silence a try, or another try.

 

Sometimes people are discouraged from trying to tune in because they feel that they must be able to literally sit still.  This is a common misconception.  Walking meditations, yoga and tai chi each utilize mindful attention to movement as a way of curtailing mental frenzy.  These approaches have a positive impact on physical frenzy as well.  If we distract from frenzy, in essence we are refusing to honor it and it looses its power, a fact which may never have occurred to you. 

 

Another fallacy in excusing yourself from the opportunity to explore inner silence and relieve your internal machinations is the belief that you cannot quiet your mind.  Perhaps you do not realize that you do not have to.  There is a way to gain relief from mental frenzy by following it, albeit as a detached observer.  This is simply a matter of saying to yourself, “Now I’m thinking this, now I’m thinking that …” without judging what you are thinking and without trying to process or resolve the intrusive thoughts.  Here, too, if you acknowledge that you are thinking something without becoming preoccupied with it, theoretically the detachment robs the thoughts of their power to keep you in a spin.  Current advances in neuroscience have shown that you can use your mind to change how your brain fires off.

 

There are many audio programs for sale which will bring you out of gridlock and into an inner infinity where the sounds and wisdom of your silence are waiting for you.  Some have to do with guided imagery or hypnosis.  Some draw on the power of music to alter brain waves.  Some foster serenity based on spiritual inspiration.  Many have to do with replacing negativity with affirmations. 

 

Using a tape recorder, you can create your own affirmation tape by planning beforehand what you want to say which acknowledges the best of who you are.  This is particularly important if you tend to be hard on yourself.  Self-criticism is a common phenomenon in general, but the demands of an infertility struggle shatters self-esteem and that commonly increases the tendency toward harsh self-judgment.  Self-judgment keeps the ego busy and focused on what is wrong with you, neglecting all that is right about you – your strength, inner resources, stick-to-itiveness, creativity and more. 

 

With sufficient determination you can reach out and find appropriate help.  Locating classes in yoga, tai chi, mindfulness meditation or a mind/body support group can make a big difference because it provides much-needed social support in addition to setting the stage to turn your attention inward.  If you are someone who prefers to work in private, there are teachers or therapists in all of these realms who work individually.  

 

You can work with yourself hypnotically as well.  Hypnosis, or in this case self-hypnosis, is nothing more than a relaxing, focused day dream.  It involves narrowing your field of vision and utilizing the tranquilizing power of your breathing to bring you into the present moment.  Clasp your hands together leaving your index fingers free and pointing away from you, parallel to each other.  Stare at the space between your fingers with “soft eyes” while breathing with full consciousness and allow yourself to be curious as to the attraction that your index fingers seem to have for each other, as if they were magnetized.  Having decided ahead of time what post-hypnotic suggestion you would like to give to your unconscious mind, when your fingers touch, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and say your suggestion over and over to yourself.  You will know when the time is right to bring yourself back to full alertness.

 

I can do phone sessions or sessions over the computer using Skype technology which would enable us to see each other.  For more info, go to my web site, www.helenadrienne.com.

 

Or, you can order my CD or tape, “Breathing in the Now.”  You will see in the instructions that I offer free phone time to adapt the CD to your needs if you have not achieved the desired results. 

           

 

I take great pleasure in making personalized hypnosis tapes.  After a brief interview I would then be in position to address your issues and your goals with   appropriate hypnotic techniques and imagery that is particular to you.  This can be done over the phone as well, as I have the technology to digitally record the session, email it to you and then you can download it onto your MP3 player.  This would allow you to practice, reinforce and integrate your intended changes.  If your computer is equipped with a built-in camera, and if you download free Skype technology, we can do the session over the computer where we can see each other.  If you are in the New York Metropolitan area, we could meet in person.

 

Using professional or home made tapes or any of these other techniques are great for slowing if not stopping the viscous interplay of mind/body frenzy.  When the tape or yoga class or technique of choice is over, stay quiet for a bit and be open to what can come.  Achieving stillness, even stillness through movement, fosters concentration as well as contemplation and activates an internal search which can toss meaningful little gems into conscious awareness.

 

Are you talking without speaking to yourself?  Are you listening without hearing your own wisdom?  Here is your chance to try, or to try again to discover how much you know - that you may not know that you know - about what you need.  Your prophet awaits you.

 

 

Helen Adrienne, LCSW, BCD

Psychotherapist, Clinical Hypnotherapist, Practitioner of Mind/Body Therapy

420 East 64th Street

New York, NY 10065

212-758-0125

helen@helenadrienne.com

www.helenadrienne.com

 

An Intimate Look at Intimacy

 

An Intimate Look at Intimacy

by Helen Adrienne, LCSW, BCD

 

As you well know, infertility is a life crisis of major proportions that leaves no area of life untouched.  Furthermore, studies have revealed that infertility escalates levels of stress to be on a par with the diagnosis of cancer or HIV/AIDS.                     

Stress is disruptive.  Worse, it is disruptive at a point in time when meeting the enormous challenges of infertility happens best from a place of solidity, serenity and stability.  The stress of infertility could shake loose the most solid, disrupt the most serene, and destabilize the most unflappable.          

Intimacy is a powerful antidote for the many dimensions of the stress of infertility.    Intimacy is palliative.  Intimacy is satisfying.  Intimacy provides comfort.  Many if not most couples report that they feel much closer, much more intimate, by the time that their infertility is resolved.  But the road to resolution is filled with potholes.   

 

Paving the Potholes

At a time like this, it is frightening to think about losing the comfort of closeness. Yet, how could any relationship remain untouched given the activation of intense emotions, given the demands of treatment and given the confusions inherent in decision-making - all of which are built into the fertility journey.  It is impossible to avoid bombardment by these stressors to our intimate relationships.  At the same time, an opportunity opens up to achieve the deepest form of intimacy.  

Deepening intimacy is a challenge because under duress, defenses loom large.  Defenses create barriers to intimacy.  They are our potholes and they are within us, under the surface.  Within us is where a lifetime of wounds lay in wait, ready to ambush.  When old wounds are provoked - and infertility is expert at provoking them – our defenses snap to attention, which makes deepening intimacy difficult.  To become aware of and work with our defenses is to pave the potholes.  

 

What is Your Intimacy Imprint?

Intimacy is learned in early environments.  The lucky ones among us observe and experience a true comfort with deep connectedness as youngsters.  They have watched and experienced safety in closeness because loved ones have modeled falling into the potholes and coming out stronger for it. 

But many of us have role models who give us a view of intimacy that tells us it is something to be avoided at all costs.  These are the families in which intimacy is distorted.  To them, intimacy means too close for comfort.  Closeness is a threat which is easily negated by provoking a fight. 

In close relationships all of us must grapple with the interplay of our own and the significant other’s defensive system. Those with an imprint for the deepest variety of intimacy have an easier time in developing depth in their relationships with a partner, relative or friend.  But all of us, even the luckier ones, need a heavy dose of self-awareness to achieve satisfying intimacy. 

Expanding self-awareness at a time like this can feel like a job for which you are in no mood.  It sometimes requires professional help. 

 

 

The Heart of the Matter

Successful navigation of the infertility challenge relies heavily upon listening and upon sharing.  Coincidentally, listening and sharing are what pave the road to deep intimacy.  Say it another way, effective communication is in order.  Communication is a skill which can develop well, haphazardly, or not at all.  Effective communication is at the heart of deep intimacy.  How else can we get past defensive barriers in a way that leads to satisfying closeness?        

 

The Trouble with Listening

It is hard to listen to each other during the infertility struggle without feeling panicked about wanting to make things better.  Everyone wants this problem fixed now if not yesterday.  But, infertility is an endurance test. 

Much depends upon our imprint for listening.  If the man had been expected as a youngster to listen and fix things for an unhappy and histrionic mother, listening would be contaminated.  He would have been too small for such a big job.  He would have been justified in wanting to defend against his feeling of impotence by running away.  Just when his wife needs most to be heard and understood, the “run-away imprint” kicks into gear automatically.  Less commonly, the man wants to communicate and the woman runs away.  Sometimes both run from adversity. 

Listening and being heard makes it easier to tolerate taking one day at a time.  

 

The Trouble with Sharing

For some it is hard to share what is felt.  Perhaps this is because there is difficulty knowing exactly what the feelings are.  How can communication take place if we have no idea what is going on within us?  In this case, an imprint for self-awareness is absent. 

Sometimes sharing feels impossible because an early imprint mandates that silence is the solution for adversity, in the hope that the problem will go away or in the hope that the other person will stop needing connection. 

In families where it was dangerous for others to know how we felt, we would be stupid to share.  In other cases, there could be a taboo against speaking, even if we know what we are feeling.  In some families, sharing might have been delivered as an assault.  These are not happy imprints.  An internal mandate to defend against fears of reprisal would be normal.  

 

Enhancing Intimacy

What needs to be known and understood for intimacy to deepen?  We need to expose our vulnerabilities.  It does not take much imagination to realize the snag that can create.  The defenses that we form are meant to protect us from knowing that we even have vulnerabilities. 

True intimacy evolves when we can dive under our defenses so we can know and be known, understand and be understood.  Where communication is faulty or haphazard, the journey to deepening intimacy would be very uncomfortable indeed.  Without a blueprint, it could feel like a Herculean task to learn to listen or to learn to share. 

How do people who love each other stop emotional patterns that are imprinted?  And  when we stop those patterns, what do we put in their place?  Trusting that we can establish new imprints is what needs to be learned and earned. 

Knowing and being known, understanding and being understood are the most profound aspects of intimacy.  It comes through reciprocal listening and reciprocal speaking about our real feelings in the midst of the infertility quagmire.  Learning how to get under our defenses to our vulnerabilities is to learn to open our hearts and deepen our love. 

This all may seem like a side trip when what you want is a baby.  But how great to get a baby and a more intimate environment in which to raise your child!     

 

Helen Adrienne, a clinical social worker, has specialized in working with infertility patients since 1979.  In addition to traditional talk therapy, she is trained in clinical hypnosis and mind/body therapy.  She works with individuals and couples and runs mind/body stress reduction groups for infertility patients at the NYU Fertility Center in NYC.  (You do not need to be a patient there to join.)  Helen maintains private practices in New York City and Ramsey, New Jersey. 

She can be reached at 212-758-0125 or by email at helen@helenadrienne.com.  

 

For more articles and information, check out her web site at www.helenadrienne.com.

 

 

Women's support Group to Begin in February 2008-- New York City

Are you or someone you love struggling with fertility issues?

You are not alone. Come share your story and support others. Discuss issues such as: dealing with stress, challenges within your relationship, answering questions from family and friends, dealing with complicated feelings of hope and disappointment, and more. 

Facilitated by Jessica Reisman, LCSW

 

Session 1:   Tuesdays- February 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th
                     7:00-8:30 pm
                     $40 total for JCC members/$50 non-members SSOFER01W8
 
Session 2:   Tuesdays- March 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th
                     7:00-8:30 pm
                     $40 total for JCC members/$50 non-members SSOFER02W8

Where:       The JCC in Manhattan
                    34 Amsterdam Avenue at 76th Street
                    New York, New York
                    646-505-5708