The unique challenge with traumatic events on the family-building journey (my shorthand for Trying To Conceive, are pregnant , healing postpartum or parenting your child[ren]) is that there are 2 layers to the trauma. 1 is the real/perceived danger to yourself and 2nd is the real/perceived danger to your child. Traumatic events include loss of embryos when you're doing IVF to pregnancy complications to neonatal loss and anything in between. The triggers are often internal, bo
REMEMBERING // I don't teach stress management for women to "feel calmer". Yes that's a wonderful side effect, but it goes so much deeper than that. When our physiological stress response is deactivated, we're able to do so much more, including be more present during doctors' visits and actually remember what they say. One study found that on average people remember only 49% of decisions and recommendations provided during their appointment! Can you imagine all the wrong info
The death & non-death losses we experience on the family-building journey are uniquely painful. From the loss of fertility to the loss of a healthy pregnancy or baby. The loss of how you thought you'd become a parent, to the loss of choice. Of course, also, the loss of a life. There is also much misunderstanding about what grieving "should be". We hear messages of "moving on" as if talking about the death or non-death loss is a sign of being stuck in the past. (It's not!) We
For many, being part of conversations about infertility, loss and miscarriage , high risk pregnancy, preterm delivery, life in the NICU, or parenting a child with medical needs can be uncomfortable. It's hard to hear about our favorite people struggling to grow their family. It's heartbreaking to hear about an innocent child's life threatened or gone too soon. So, we fill our discomfort with words. Advice, encouragement or stories we think will help. Sometimes they do. But mo
Most of us know generally how to eat healthy. We can even look at the last 72 hours of our life and find moments when we could have chosen healthier food options but didn't. When you're trying to conceive or are pregnant, you're inundated with advice on what to eat and what to avoid. So many women feel the pressure to get it "just right", worrying if what they're putting in their mouths is affecting baby negatively. When you're postpartum or into motherhood and want to reclai
Being on top of your healthcare is tremendously important. I work with my private clients closely on how to prepare for appointments, track traveling embryos, and make sure all people are on the same page with regards to your care (and your child's medical care).
It's crucial to be vigilant with childcare and to hire the right people you trust, to help you at home or at work.
Control is not a bad thing. In fact, it's a good thing and I did an entire podcast episode on why
This is a surprising one for a lot of people. Most of the time, when we think of trauma, we think hyperarousal, overwhelm, amped-upness. And for many it is. But for many it it is not.
For many, after birth trauma, pregnancy trauma or fertility trauma, the system shuts down and stays down. To be honest, it's harder to notice because so much of this flies under the radar of women, their loved ones and even theri care providers! When your trauma reaction is to go low, blood pr
Let's start with this truth: we tend to overpathologize grief. Our culture, our community and health professionals, we all do it. We want it to get better, we want to be "over it" and we want it to stop hurting. But the truth is, grief hurts. It sucks. It feels awful. That's how it is designed to be. The pain of grief is not the problem. When grief becomes stuck Grief is meant to be like a flowing ocean, waves crashing over us that become smaller and less intense with each on
Almost every client I work with comes to me with this underlying feeling of brokenness. Whether they have experienced (or are currently experiencing) infertility, a high-risk pregnancy, preterm delivery, or time in the NICU, it's the backdrop against which most of my clients live their lives when they reach out to work with me.
I remember one client, who was experiencing multiple pregnancy complications at the time, lamented to me, "Who else is there to blame? I'm the one c
I once worked with a client after her micropreemie came home from the NICU. Her OBGYN referred her to me thinking she had postpartum anxiety.
My client could not slow down. She would run from taking care of baby, to pumping, to washing dishes, to laundry, to cooking, to replying to emails, convinced this is just new mom life. Busy. Crazy. Nonstop. Her OB & husband were concerned so she tried mindfulness exercises, deep breathing or yoga. But every time she felt panicky & sc
One of the hardest lessons I learned after a long road of infertility, loss , high-risk pregnancy, preterm delivery and months in the NICU is that it's not over when baby comes home. I wanted to believe it so badly. Anything had to be better than fighting for his life.
And yes, having him home was indescribably wonderful! But it didn't cure the anxiety, trauma, worries, guilt and grief I was still carrying. Having a baby at home never does. Time does not heal, resolution
Yesterday I saw a post by my friend and colleague that resonated so much, I knew I had to say something. We are getting maternal mental health wrong. I'll admit, that's scary to say, but I cannot sit by in silence anymore. Had it not been for my personal experience with infertility, a very high-risk pregnancy & extremely preterm delivery , I wouldn't have known to question the many years I'd spent training in clinical psychology, learning how to diagnose & treat mood/anxiety
For some, experiencing pregnancy complications can be a traumatic event - even if you deliver a healthy, full-term baby. For others, a high-risk pregnancy can result in even scarier experiences such as health complications for baby, loss or a NICU stay. Needless to say, getting pregnant after a high-risk pregnancy can bring up strong feelings of anxiety, ambivalence and fear. You don't want to repeat the past, but you also don't feel done growing your family. What to do when
Biologically, we are wired to protect our children, and as many fertility patients can understand, that protectiveness can begin even in the early stages of fertility treatment. The unique challenge with traumatic events on the family-building journey (my shorthand for when you're trying to conceive, are pregnant, are healing postpartum or parenting your child[ren]) is that there are two layers to the trauma. One is the real or perceived danger to yourself and the second is t
Whether you are officially diagnosed with PTSD or not, a traumatic experience affects all of us on a physical level. Without adequate recovery, the trauma sits in the body, creating roots like a seed growing in the soil.
This keeps your body stuck in the fight-flight-freeze mode. This chronic activation of the stress response acts sets the stage for pregnancy complications such as gestational hypertension, gestational diabetes, and preterm contractions among others. In fact
There is a very different relationship and bond between a woman and the baby she's carrying or a parent and the child they're caring for than any other relationship in this world. This applies to the love we have but also the fear we feel when lives are in danger.
Why would we sleep well if we received a diagnosis that is threatening our baby's life? Why wouldn't we lash out at those closest to us when we feel scared that we might lose our baby? Why wouldn't we feel so anxi
During pregnancy, our bodies change. Specifically, there is a natural shift in 3 major body systems - the endocrine (hormonal) system, nervous system and immune system - to sustain a healthy pregnancy. Nature has found the perfect balance that keeps all 3 systems in check, like a 3 legged stool that sits flat on the ground. When your body is under stress, that balance is disrupted. Imagine one of the legs becoming longer or shorter. It throws off that balance, the result of w
Experiencing a loss is heartshattering for any parent. Whether it's a chemical pregnancy, miscarriage, due to prematurity, a stillbirth or any other reason, it is the hardest thing for a parent to survive. Getting pregnant again after a loss can bring up concerns about the health of the baby, fears of another loss and a tremendous distrust of your body. On this episode, Christine shares her personal experiences of pregnancy after loss, how she coped and how she turned her tra
Thousands of women experience pregnancy and/or birth trauma every year. Without proper support, resources and information, trauma is often overlooked and women are left feeling alone as they navigate their healing journey. On this episode, I share the critical step that's involved in healing from trauma so you can experience joy and peace again. Listen on iTunes | Listen on Stitcher | Listen on iHeartRadio Episode highlights... A story of a client who resisted wo
Experiencing a loss is heart shattering for any parent. Whether it's a chemical pregnancy, miscarriage, due to prematurity, a stillbirth or any other reason, it is the hardest thing for a parent to survive. Getting pregnant again after a loss can bring up concerns about the health of the baby, fears of another loss and a tremendous distrust of your body. On this episode, Christine shares her personal experiences of pregnancy after loss, how she coped and how she turned her tr