Chat Transcript: Holiday Blues Chat with Alice Domar, Ph.D.

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The Holiday Blues Live Chat Event with Alice Domar, Ph.D.

Alice Domar, Ph.D.: Thank you for inviting me to INCIID the Holidays

INCIID Moderator: Welcome Dr. Domar, we are thrilled to have you join us. Today is the beginning of l "INCIID the Holidays" , a series of events to help everyone navigate what can be a difficult season for many people. Please be sure to visit the  Mind Body Program .

Alice Domar, Ph.D.: Ok, I will be brave and be the first to speak! Let's talk about the holidays which can be so hard during infertility due both to the emphasis on children and the disappointment about not having a great time as we did when we were children.

Question: I was suppose to be due in Jan. We had to terminate. after amnio. I "pictured " myself very pg around the holidays. How do I get past that?

Alice Domar, Ph.D.: Try creating new traditions this year. Instead of the image of you waddling around the Christmas tree, think of fun things you can do this year. Even if it is a distraction, it can help. Try sledding, making hot buttered toddies, going caroling, etc
It won't make the pain of your loss go away, but distraction can make things easier. And if you find that some of these activities are enjoyable, you can make them part of your regular traditions as your family grows.

IndySarah: In our situation, we are adopting. I hope that's appropriate for this chat. We have received a referral and are waiting for our court date which could be next week. The holiday issue is going to be very difficult if we are, in fact, apart from our son after having met him.

Alice Domar, Ph.D.: How about saving what you like best about this season until after he arrives? You can then spend some of this waiting time preparing to do those things when he arrives.

IndySarah:: We have thought about purchasing a tree late in December, and then decorating it when we return home. And of course, there will be a later family Christmas this year as well.

Alice Domar, Ph.D.: That is a good idea. Can you go somewhere while waiting? Even if only for a weekend, it might make the time go faster Tell him it is doctor's orders!

IndySarah: I'll tell my husband that the doctor prescribed a getaway!

cemert: DH [Dear husband] and I are the only infertiles in our families, and are expected to do whatever his family has always done with the holidays. Last year was a nightmare, so now we are planning a getaway the weekend before Christmas, now the in-laws are upset. They think we are so selfish? Any suggestions for responses? Thanks!

Alice Domar, Ph.D.: This one comes up time and time again with my patients. When we marry and especially when we start families, however they are created, the pressure to follow our families' traditions goes up against the need to start the traditions of your own family.

cemert: Since we're the only ones without kids, we're expected to follow suit, I'm accused of controlling my DH, which is so untrue. I guess they'll get over it. Thanks!

Alice Domar, Ph.D.: This is a necessary part of the marriage process. You are not being selfish - the two of you are looking out for each other and your coupleness. Come up with some compromises if possible. Decide what you are and are not willing to do with them and stick by your needs and decisions

adorable67: Christmas Eve/day seems to be the hardest to cope with........and of course no one else doesn't have kids. we've been trying for 5 yrs now and are taking a break from infertility. Eveyone in my husband's extended famliy gaithers around and it's not like I can't go or change plans. My question is: how do you deal with family who don't understand how their indoendo hurts?

Alice Domar, Ph.D.: I was hoping you would ask a question since I really like your name! Why do you think you can not go or change plans? Maybe the two of you could suddenly "win" a christmas getaway, or tragically, you catch a horrible cold Christmas eve and can't possibly expose everyone else, especially those kids....

adorable67: but that seems rude and I'm already a yankee [living] in Oklahoma.

Alice Domar, Ph.D.: how is catching a cold rude? Women need to learn how to better care for themselves without feeling guilty about it. Infertility is a temporary crisis and you need to pamper yourself during this crisis

I Host DianneY: I have recently came upon the due date for my second trimester loss this year and would like to remember him/her during the holidays. Why don't others close to me understand that I will miss the baby that isn't here, especailly now?

Alice Domar, Ph.D.: Most people in this country are really uncomfortable with loss. Even if an adult dies, there seems to be this acceptable amount of time to mourn and after that, you better be back to normal. Losing a baby, especially during the second trimester, may not feel real to those around you. You may not have been really showing, they didn't feel the kicks, and they may just be uncomfortable since they don't know what to say to you. Think about what YOU need from each of them and let them know gently.
Buy everyone the normal nice gifts, maybe add an extra bow or two, but be aware that everyone has their own issues and you can't meet the needs of everyone else.

I Host DianneY: Thank you Dr. I know they don't understand that there was a bond and love between me an this little one already. I will use your sugesstion to let them know how I might be feeling. Thanks!

Alice Domar, Ph.D.: I recently wrote a chapter for a new book on miscarriage. I think the book is coming out in February, by Henry Lerner, MD. I think it is going to be called "After Miscarriage"

INCIID Moderator: For those of you who have experienced losses, please print out the The Miscarriage Manual: Coping with the Emotional Aspects of Pregnancy Loss. The Miscarriage Manual is A primary guide for parents who have experienced the death of a child through miscarriage, stillbirth or other perinatal loss. It was written by C. Elizabeth Carney, who experienced a stillbirth. This is an excellent document to give to friends and family to help them better understand the how you are feeling about the baby you have lost.

clara2: HI Dr Domar!! Thanks for coming!! Coping with IF is making me obsessed and sending my career to the toilet. I am with a therapist, taking PROZAC, nothing seems to help with my anxiety and obsession, how can I concentrate on my work?

Alice Domar, Ph.D.: I would suggest that you try a cognitive-behavioral therapy [CBT] approach, which helps you challenge and restructure the recurrent negative thought patterns. There are a number of good books (mine included!) but the bible is by David Burns, called the Feeling Good Handbook. Not on infertility, but a start. Ask your therapist if she does CBT and if not, maybe you could see a CBT therapist for a few sessions

clara2: I am in South America, difficult to get your books, how is this therapy?

Alice Domar, Ph.D.: All books are available on Amazon.com! I would guess there are cognitive therapists in South Africa. I have a patient who recently moved to Venezuala and she found good help there

clara2: Thanks a lot Dr Domar, Iwill try!!

BWC: My partner and I are really starting to direct our disappointment and anger at each other now. We have been ttcing [Trying to Conceive] for 3 yrs and have had a few losses and many failures. We just recently have started to really fight a lot and we can't seem to get out of it . We saw a counsellor but she wasn't experienced with infertility and donor egg stuff. Any suggestions? Thanks I read both of your books.

INCIID Moderator: Clara - you might try looking on the ASRM site to see if there are therapists listed in other countries

Alice Domar, Ph.D.: I would try to find a counselor who IS experienced in these areas! And one of the main reasons who couples fight during infertility is that naturally men and women respond differently to infertility and that can be really irritating. If only HE/SHE would respond the same was as I do, we would be ok.... 5

Alice Domar, Ph.D.: The Mental Health Professional Group has a new subgroup from Central and South America who offers support in spanish. Check out the web site under ASRM

Alice Domar, Ph.D.: de nada!

Michellej: Dr Domar- a question about dealing with the newest baby at a family function, when you've just lost one... I hate to resort to a smart aleck comment, but no one seems to get why it might be better to be in another room.... when everyone is insisting you gush over it, hold it, etc etc (UGH)

Alice Domar, Ph.D.: as I mentioned before, ....isn't it a shame that you suddenly caught a cold and can't possibly near anywhere near the new baby

I Host DianneY: That's a great suggestion!

Alice Domar, Ph.D.: and those people sound like idiots. I want to write a pamphlet of snappy comebacks...when someone insists you hold a baby, knowing full well you are going through inferitlity, it is like telling a diabetic obese person to count your ribs while they watch you eat cheesecake

Michellej: The thing is- I really DO like the family funcitions- except for that!

BWC: Do you know of anyone or any institution in toronto that uses the mind/body model?

Alice Domar, Ph.D.: There are actually are two sources in Toronto. Jan Silverman is a therapist there who does a variation of my program through the Infertility Network and I just trained a psychologist who wants to offer groups as well but is not up and running yet. Jan runs her own groups.

lauramc: My DH has been making noises about ttcing again and the thought of going through all that again sends me into near panic-attacks. How do you sort through the "other stuff" of IF and go on to building your family the way you wanted to before IF? DH is still in sort of denial about the emotional toll this took on me.

Alice Domar, Ph.D.: I believe in being honest with kids. you can say that you are doing everything you can, seeing the best doctors, but as he knows, we don't always get everything we want, even if we have been really really good

 

Alice Domar, Ph.D.: it sounds as if you need to go through some sort of healing process. Start a journal- the research on the cathartic process of writing aobut one's thoughts and feelings is powerful

lauramc: I have a journal...should I show it to DH?

Alice Domar, Ph.D.: Write about the most traumatic aspects of your infertility- write for 20 minutes per day for a minimum of 4 days. you may feel worse before you feel better but I would bet the end result would be a lot of relief . No, the journal should prbably be private, especially if you have some anger at him. don't write about events, write about thoughts and feelings.

lauramc: I think journaling is very cathartic for me...thank you

I Host DianneY: Is it just me or is there a baby boom going on out there? I would do anything to be pg and it is difficult to see pg women and babies everywhere. I wish that IF didn't effect moments that should be filled with the joy of a new life. I am hoping that as I move forward in life I will once again feel joy first and then regret.

Alice Domar, Ph.D.: You proabably notice babies because you want one...we notice food more when on a diet. the research shows that the pain of infertility does subside, no matter how it was resolved

Alice Domar, Ph.D.: Does anyone out there have some good holiday-stress reduction tips which have worked for you?

mickey11: Go shopping for gifts at the 24hr super stores at 3am to avoid long lines and crowds of kids/babies and pg gals...

Guest: I have stoic New Englander In-laws. They always want us there at Christmas -- (we have two small children) but after we get there, you can tell they don't want us there anymore. They have their own set of rules -- which no one really understands but them -- and they seem to want us always under their control -- if we go out it's too late when we come back - etc.

Alice Domar, Ph.D.: How about working out compromises? A lot of people,as they get older, may in theory want to be with the family but then quickly feel overwhelmed.

Guest: Any advice with dealing with them during the holidays.

Alice Domar, Ph.D.: Stay in a nearby motel or have them visit you! Then they have to follow YOUR rules. Maybe do the visits not during the holidays? Then there will be fewer expectations and disappointments. that will also allow the four of you to start your own traditions.

I Host DianneY: Sometimes I feel guilty about spending time trying again, especailly at 45, when I do have a miracle baby now. However a sibling would be wonderful for him. How does one decide the right balance between parenting and IF? My son is now 2 1/2..

Alice Domar, Ph.D.: A lot of post-infertility parents spend too much time and energy protecting their miracles. A sibling would be a good idea for some reasons and you spending time away from him is ok too

excel: How do you work through the negatives at the holidays...seems the last few years I've gotten my negatives just before Christmas and I am now debating about cycling now or waiting till the new year.

Alice Domar, Ph.D.: You need to figure out what is going to work for you. There are some advantages about postponing..you can enjoy the egg nog, not worry about staying up late and running around, maybe even having a monent or two you enjoy. I am a big believer in postponing cycles until the time is right

I Host Songdancer: How do you deal with an EDD [Estimated due Date] for a stillbirth, another baby's birth date, and Thanksgiving all in the same week? Combine that with close relatives that never even acknowledged the stillbirth, and I find that Thanksgiving is really a time of emotions from both ends of the spectrum. Any tips?

Alice Domar, Ph.D.: I would suggest acknowledging them all. Whether or not you are a family that says a prayer before the meal. Ask for a moment of silence in memory of the baby you lost. And/or commenorate it with the planting of a tree, or reading of a poem.

mickey11: I have a rose bush for each baby lost....each time they bloom, I feel like my angels are saying hello to me. Plus I get to bring roses inside a lot to brighten up my home.

Alice Domar, Ph.D.: I like the idea of planting the rose bushes. We need to honor these souls.

excel: after multiple failed cycles (20 in my case) how does one get the enthusiasim generated to go through a new cycle with optimism. right now I feel like I am going through the motions but I can't believe that this will ever happen for me

Alice Domar, Ph.D.: Well, 20 is a lot of disappointments. I find that one goes through cycles when there is a least a bit of hope but at some point, there is a gut feeling that perhaps it is time to move on to Plan B. Hoepfully, your doctor wouldn't prescribe #21 if he/she didn't feel there was a decent chance. But after 20, I might ask for a second opinion

BWC: How do you find remain hopeful after so much loss?

I host Kaylie: Dr. Domar, my dh is a new clinical psychologist and starting a practice next year-any resources you recommend in IF or women's issues counseling?

Alice Domar, Ph.D.: The mental health professional group of ASRM is a good start

I Host Doe: Thank you all for coming to our chat with Dr. Alice Domar

Alice Domar, Ph.D.: Thanks for inviting me. As I am finding with my INCIID site this month, there is a lot of pain out there. Hope everyone learned at least a little something which will help...

I Host Doe: This has been a Holiday Blues chat with Dr. Alice Domar. Dr. Domar

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