During Fertility Awareness Week Celebrate the Journey that Brings Parents and Children Together

It's April, and all around us life springs forth, affirming and renewing itself. Spring can be a particularly difficult time for people who are experiencing fertility issues. It often feels as if the whole world is doing something they have been unable to do.

About ten years ago, I taught play and music classes for children, and often taught a class for newborns. The babies were bounced on laps for songs, then placed in a circle, so they could visually interact with each other. The moms (and on occasion, a dad) sat in an outer circle and had sharing time.

They spoke candidly of insecurities about parenting, physical exhaustion, roller-coaster emotions and the wonders of parenting, like the internal, red-flag that tells you to go and check on your infant. Many shared stories of prior challenges with infertility.

It was an enlightening experience. In a typical class, only about one third of the babies had been conceived and delivered in the traditional fashion. Some of the mothers had in vitro fertilization, others adopted and some used surrogates. Some babies were born into large families. Others had single mothers, single fathers or same sex parents.

I came to know these parents and babies during the ten-week classes, and it was a delight to traverse this precious time with them. What struck me most is that it doesn't matter how babies come to be with their parents, there is an exquisite connection between parent and child that can't be denied or affected by the journey that brought them together.

I think of this when I hear the words, "Whether this is happening inside your own body or someplace else, you know this new being is the one that is meant to be placed in your keeping. This child is a gift, like no other, a link in the great human chain, and with your guidance will make this world a better place for having been in it," from Belleruth's Help with Fertility.

It also struck me that every parent who spoke of infertility challenges said they felt that stress was one of the barriers that prevented them from conceiving. That might be why guided imagery often works so well for fertility issues. To read some success stories check out BR's blog post Fertility Imagery Does Some Good.

In honor of Fertility Awareness Week, Belleruth posted a short piece on parenting blog My Baba about how to handle all the associated stress, pressure, disappointment and distress that shows up when facing this challenge, 7 Ways to Manage Stress to Help Fertility.

"There are many quick and easy tools to help manage these intense stressors," according to Belleruth. "And better yet, they may do more than simply help you cope (although that would be plenty good enough, if you ask me). They may even help get you pregnant."

To read an insightful account of how guided imagery helped one of her clients and why she began recommending it to her other clients experiencing infertility, read Guided Imagery Helps Patients Thrive: One Woman's Story,  by Harriette Rovner-Ferguson, LCSW.

She tells how guided imagery helped patients live their lives in between treatments on their own terms, while on their way to building a family of their choice. "For some, that might mean pregnancy and birth; for others that might mean third party reproduction or adoption; and for others it could be child-free living," she said.

The week of April 20-26 has been designated National Infertility Awareness Week. RESOLVE the National Infertility Association, has chosen the theme, You are Not Alone, to raise awareness that one in eight couples have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy, that there is support available and that community members can get involved to help people living with infertility.

What are your experiences with infertility? Whether you have children, want to have children, choose not to have children or are undecided, we at Health Journeys wish you all the joy, abundance and rebirth spring has to offer. Take a moment to experience it. Enjoy.