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Group Therapy Th- Um, Friday – Donor Eggs and Banana Hammocks

27 Jul

The Dark Knight Rises beckoned yesterday, but just because it’s Friday that doesn’t mean that we can’t do this, right? So let’s get this show on the road!

Dear Mo and the Group:

We’ve made the decision to go ahead with Egg Donation. Now the next point for us – which country to choose – stay at home, have a mahoosive long wait, but in an environment which maximises the knowledge the child has about where they come from, or go overseas, no wait, but only a limited amount of info about the donor available. Oh what to do! p.s. I prefer anonymous as I don’t want the child to abandon me in the future.  He prefers as much knowledge as possible to help the child know where they have come from.

Thanks,

Flowergirl

 Well, I know I’m no DE expert – so I’m gonna let the commenters cover most of this (DE ladies – speak up!). Here’s my take on it though:

I think you and your husband do need to come to a consensus about how/if to disclose to the child that he/she was conceived via donor egg. That will make your decision a helluva lot easier.  On another note, I do have something else to say: I think you may be exaggerating when you say you “don’t want the child abandon you.” You’re  underestimating the power of nurture. Just like adoptive kids don’t “abandon” their adoptive parents. Give yourself some credit. Biology isn’t everything. I actually think it counts for very little in the big picture.

I think you may be skirting the true issue here: I don’t think you’ve forgiven yourself yet for the failed cycles. I think you may be viewing donor eggs as a failure on your part. I get it – I truly do – not having faith in your body, and as a result in yourself is a terrible place to be, and I’ve been there. Take a deep breath, and work on forgiving yourself. That will make the process a whole lot easier. Ok? Ok.

Dear Mo and the Group,

Since our loss earlier this year, we’ve had a falling out with my husband’s parents.  It took them nearly 3 months to visit after the loss and when they did, they didn’t talk about our baby.  When we showed them items from our baby, they avoided grieving with us and basically just left.  I appreciate that this was upsetting to them.  What’s more upsetting is that after my husband expressed how hurt he was by their reaction, they stopped calling.  They used to call 1x/week.  My husband and I are so hurt by this behaviour.  When my husband has called on special occasions (bless him, because frankly I couldn’t be bothered) they act like there is nothing wrong.  They never acknowledged us on Mother’s/Father’s day or on our due date.  I’m just not sure what to do.  I don’t have the energy to grieve, fight infertility and repair relationships with hurtful people.

 The Broken Daughter-In-Law

Oh, TBDIL- I’m so sorry that you’re going through this. Here’s what sucks about our kind of loss: It’s mostly ours. While it’s physical and tangible to us, not everyone will acknowledge what it truly is: Losing a child. I can’t say that your In-Laws are right here – because they’re certainly not. But my guess is that they don’t know how to treat you guys. Maybe your husband did explain that he was hurt – but did he explain why? Did he describe the pain you’re going through?

It’s up to you whether you want to do this or not, but I know this has helped me when it comes to my relationships: Because our kind of loss is so difficult to understand, if I see that someone close to me doesn’t “get it”, I take the time to explain it. To tell them how I feel. To explain that I gave birth, that I’m a mother with empty arms. I even sometimes tell them exactly what I need from them so they don’t feel helpless in the face of my sadness.

It’s not the right thing to do, but people sometimes step away when they don’t know how to deal. Sometimes you need to help them help you.

What do the rest of you guys think? Am I being too easy on the In-Laws?

Dear Mo and the Group,

Would you recommend club soda or bleach for cleaning tomato sauce out of a macrame?

Thanks,

Banana Hammock

Didn’t I say no cleaning questions? Because my answer would be dish soap and paper towels. That’s officially my answer to every cleaning question. Let me know how that works out for you! 😛

Dear Mo and the Group,

I am having a career dilema. I was accepted into a Masters in Social Work program in NYC and am slated to start this fall. However, in the past year or so I have started to wonder if this is a path I want to pursue and began researching nursing. I have taken a term of prerequisites for a nursing program and got all As. Now I have a month to make the final decision: Stay on the west coast and pursue Nursing (and hope I get into a program next year) or move back to NYC and start the MSW program. Any advice/opinions are apprecieated!

Thanks,

Indecisive in Oregon

Oh that’s a tough one IIO. My question to you would be – what do you love? I have a feeling it’s nursing from what you wrote. If that’s the case, stick to it.

Here’s something I have to remind myself constantly because I tend to forget it: No decision is set in stone. Life paths often go off track, or change courses, and you always have the right to change your mind. Uprooting your life to move to New York for a program that you’re unsure about seems a bit extreme. If you got in once, you will be able to get in again if/when you’re more sure of yourself. For now – pursue your passion.

Dear Mo and the Group,

I have always had a very difficult time having an orgasm, and never through penetration. I have heard about, read about, and have gone in search of the elusive g-spot. My husband even went on a “g spot safari” and no luck. I am wondering if I was born without one. Can anyone tell me a fool proof way to know if I have one or not, and if so, find that bugger?

 – Orgasmically Challenged

Most women can’t have the big O through regular intercourse. That’s a fact. It’s not by any means a failure on your part. So my take on this is – if you can’t have it on the inside, make sure you get it on the outside every single time. I would go for a two step process here.

The first – purchase a toy. I would recommend a pocket rocket. They’re inexpensive, and very Jr. Varsity as far as toys go. Experiment with it on your outer bits. Then once you get a groove on with it on your own, start incorporating it into your bedroom routine. Once that’s down and you’re getting in the groove, I am also a big proponent of the vib.ra.ting co.ck ri.ng. You’ll never go hungry again! Or something!

Ladies – any other insight?

Dear Mo and the Group,

I had infertility, then a son by IVF (3 years ago), then a recent unexpected pregnancy which ended in a 13 week miscarriage (trisomy.) While I had thought I was ok with no more kids (when it wasn’t really possible), having a surprise pregnancy opened up old wounds and I’m struggling now. Problems are- husband doesn’t want more AT ALL and since we both work full-time, and are high stress people, I don’t think our family could handle kid #2 well (should it happen). Also, I’m 37, last m/c from trisomy- so I’m scared of all that happening again. Question- how do I resolve this painful longing in my life when logically, it seems like a no-brainer? My husband is scheduled for vasectomy this fall… so my ‘window’ for trying is coming to a close. (He’s only waiting as it is to make me feel better (should I decide I HAVE to try again!))

– Totally Vacillating and Not Happy About It

Ohhhh- that’s a tough one TVNHAI. First of all, I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. I know as well as anybody that one of the first instincts after a loss is to want to get pregnant again IMMEDIATELY. That is not, however, always the right thing to do. The question is – is your longing for a second child colored by your loss, or was it there all along? If it’s always been there, then you should definitely give it another shot, if your husband is willing to go along with it. If this is colored by the loss, take another month. Take a step back and take care of yourself a bit. That should be your first, second, and third priority right now. As for a second child in that circumstance – maybe. But only when your head is at least partially cleared of that grief.

Dear Mo and the Group,

What are your thoughts or opinion on reconciling a marriage, mid-divorce, with a history of infidelity? My husband and I have been separated for seven months, I filed for a divorce several months ago and have decided (not 100%), that I want my marriage to work. Since the separation, he has been involved with someone else. He has apologized for this and stated he only did it bc he thought we were over. He has since ended things with her and days he’s ready to be committed to being a husband and a father.. Oh, did I mention we have three boys under three and he only saw them a dozen times during our separation. I want to trust him again and I have strong beliefs on the sanctity of marriage but I’m scared. Help!!

– Separated and Confused

Oh SC, this is so hard! If there weren’t kids involved I would unceremoniously say get rid of the excess baggage and move on. I’m sure that you would do the same much more easily if that were the case.

On the other hand, your husband doesn’t seem to really be making an effort here. A good mommy is a happy mommy, and I have a feeling your happiness isn’t really on the top of this guy’s list.

I’m not personally a child of divorce, but I have plenty of friends who have said that in the long run, they are glad their parents separated. I also have some friends who grew up in homes with loveless marriages and have serious commitment issues as a result.

In the end – whatever decision you make – don’t forget that your happiness is key to these kids happiness.

What do you guys think?

Have at it in the comments – tell me where I went terribly wrong!

Group Therapy Thursday is BAAAACK!

17 Jul

Ok, before I get into the re-launch of GTT, a small plumbing update:

Ladies and gentlemen, on CD 16, we have a (tiny, still developing) follie!

So it looks like the weight loss is starting to do things. The follie is on the left, it’s late in the cycle, and I’m going back next Monday for another monitoring appt, but hey, I’ll take any progress right now.

Now, down to business!

For all of you new readers, here’s a rundown of Group Therapy Thursday:

GTT is meant for women who don’t blog themselves, or have a question that they don’t feel comfortable posting on their own blogs. If you want to remain anonymous then you can be, as long as you make up an awesome nickname. Ok – if you can’t come up with one then I’ll do it for you. But do try, ok? Ok.

You send me your questions, I post them here, give my take on things, and then open it up for discussion in the comments. The question could be about anything from relationships to IF to cleaning advice (though in all fairness I’m a slob so that kind of question would go straight to a comment discussion). You have the option to be completely anonymous so nothing is off limits! Here are a the previous GTT posts if you want to check them out.

So – we start this Thursday! Fill out the handy-dandy form below if you have a question you’d like to throw out to the blogoverse!

Get to asking! See you all Thursday!

Group Therapy Thursday – Love, Booze, Weight, and HOPE!

29 Sep

Well, my inbox runneth over this week thanks to last week’s collective ass-kicking! Yay!

So let’s just jump right in, shall we?

Dear Mo and The Group,

Seriously, I need help. How on earth do you tell someone  you know for 20+ years that you have fallen for him? Just thinking about it makes me want to puke and run away.

Thanks!

Pukey McPukerson

Oh, PM – I think that’s fabulous! I have a bunch of follow up questions, but honestly? No matter what your answers would be my response would be the same: If he’s not gay, I say go for it no matter what. You never know – maybe he’s been feeling the same way. The question beyond how do you do it without puking your guts out is- more importantly –  how do you do it without compromising your friendship?

If I were in your shoes, I’d probably use email. Just say something like: “Hey, I kind of feel like we would be good romantically together. If you don’t agree, please pretend this email was never sent.”

I’m not sure if this is the healthiest approach, but it’s a good way to avoid puking.

The other would be liquid courage. Take the man out drinking, and see what happens when you both are a bit looser. Plus – if you puke, you can always blame the alcohol!

What I’m pretty sure about is that if this guy has been in your life for so long, chances are he’s pretty damn decent. And that means that if he’s interested, you’ll have something awesome in your life. If he’s not, then he’ll probably do his best to overcome a moment or two of uncomfortableness for the sake of your friendship. In short – you never know unless you ask.

At the end of the day, if he’s not interested, better that you find out sooner rather than later, so that you can move on. So however you do it, brace yourself and jump in! Oh! And please do update us if you manage to do it, ok?

What does everyone else think?

Dear Mo and The Group,

I have gained 80 lbs since I started dating my husband. It is all due to the PCOS…but it doesn’t matter.  I feel really unsexy.  I would like to at least project a more self-confident image as I work to get healthier, as I know that someone with a crappy self-esteem is not that attractive.  Tips?

Feminsecurity

Oh, I know this one well. I too have gained a bunch of weight in the last couple of years and it’s done a number on my confidence many a time. I think the trick is to not deprive yourself of things that make you feel pretty, despite the weight. Don’t stop doing your hair (or if you’re not a hairdo type of person, treat yourself to a salon visit), get a manicure, wear a pretty dress to an event. Most importantly, DON’T STOP BUYING NEW CLOTHES. I think this is the biggest loop us newly minted fatties get into. None of our clothes fit, yet we don’t buy new things because we’ll “lose the weight eventually” or we don’t want proof that we’ve gained so much. The result is that half of our closet (if not more) is an unwearable reminder of our weight gain, and that can do a number on your confidence. So even if you don’t toss your “skinny clothes”, pack them in a box, and go and buy yourself something pretty. You deserve it!

Dear Mo and The Group:

I drink occasionally. As in once a year or so. 

My favourite is Vodka, and I love it with Sprite, or Fanta. Except that this once-a-year indulgence has been spoiled sad!

You see, I noticed in 2009 that I had a swelling in my left cheek after I had a drink. I did not still associate it with the vodka. Then, in 2010, I had ‘one’ Blood Mary and my left cheek went to Africa. This year, I had a little rum. Yes, my cheek went on that safari yet again.

This has never happened to me before! I was NOT allergic to alcohol before! 

The only difference that I can make out is that I am/was on TTC drugs including Metformin and I could have lost my ability to digest booze post it.

Has it ever happened to anyone else? Is it possible that metabolism gets affected such that one develops allergies to their favourite tipple? I am not a boozer, and I will like to continue having some fun. What do I do?

Sincerely,

UnBoozed

Wow, unboozed, speaking as a once-in-a-blue-moon drinker myself, I can imagine that would suck. Though I myself have never tried Metformin, a quick trip to Dr. Google did show that the combination may cause some adverse effects, because apparently the drug works through the liver, as does the booze. Have you had your liver functions checked lately? I would look into that, because that could be the issue – the Met may have done something wonky to your liver enzymes which makes you not tolerate alcohol as much anymore. That’s probably the worst-case scenario, and I’m sure that could be treated easily.

If your liver is all good, I admit, I’m at a loss. I know that sometimes hormone fluctuations can cause our bodies to change in strange ways. Definitely bring it up with your doc next time you see him/her.

Any ladies out there on fertility meds that can maybe shed some light on the situation?

Dear Mo and The Group,

What happens when you have been trying for so long that you begin to lose belief that it is going to work for you?  Even when you are getting ever treatment under the sun.  That when you explain what you are doing, you are sad, and you notice that others are happy because, actually trying to make a baby, but you are all teary as you can only focus on the fact that it hasn’t happened so far and the odds are against you now.  IVF round no 3 is coming up shortly, and i don’t want to be sad during it as I don’t think that is healthy.

Thanks,

Sad

Dear Sad,

I wish I had a magic wand to wave and tell you everything will be ok. But I don’t. All I can do is give you a huge virtual hug. Don’t lose hope! I’ve been around the blogosphere and I have seen DOZENS of last chance, no hope treatments lead to a take-home baby. Jay’s story is particularly amazing. 5 years of treatments, one last frostie, very little hope, and presto! She’s chugging along in her second trimester with a baby boy on the way.

But beyond that, here’s what I think leads a lot of us to despair: It’s the unknowns. What sucks about infertility is that we have no control over our outcomes, no matter how hard we try. That would drive anyone crazy. I’ve found that the best solution is to create a clear path forward in the event of failure. For example, once my doc, The Russian, assured me that we would go to IVF in the case of another ectopic I felt LOADS better, because I saw a clear path ahead in case of another loss. Shmerson and I have also discussed what we would do if we find out we can’t ever carry a pregnancy to term. We have our options clearly mapped out, and know how we would pursue them.

I suggest, in the lead up to IVF #3 to sit down with your partner and map out a “what-if” scenario. If this fails (SM forbid), what are your next steps? Will you pursue adoption? Donor eggs/sperm? Living childless? What will that choice look like? Plan it out in a way that you know you can eventually be content with the decision. That way, you know you have a backup plan, and you may feel better going into this cycle.

One thing that I don’t want you to forget though: Your feelings will not influence this treatment cycle. If you must go in sad, then that’s what you’ll do. I promise you that it won’t be what makes the difference between a BFP and a BFN.

I wish you all of the luck in the world! And a bunch of huge hugs!

Any ladies out there with some tips on how to keep your sanity in the IVF roller-coaster, please share them in the comments!

Hello Mo,

I’ve been really floundering in life lately, trying to find a meaningful intention for myself. I’m currently reading a book and doing the meditations/activities but I’m coming up empty handed and am starting to get frustrated and despondent. What is a girl to do when she needs to find a new direction and she can’t figure out what it is? Should I just chill the $#%& out for a bit and revisit this question in a few months? Or should I keep banging my head against the wall hoping it will crack open and an answer will fall out? Any suggestion on how I uncover this illusive intention?

Thanks!

Empty Handed Head Banger

Oh, EHHB, I know how you feel. Now stop it! Seriously! Chill out. This is the moment where you do have to “just relax and it will happen.” Trust me on this! Your head banging ways are bringing you nothing but grief. With that, I’m sure they’re also causing quite a bit of guilt. Guilt is our enemy! It puts the brakes on everything from our hope to our self-esteem. If you’re going to meditate, meditate on accepting the fact that you just don’t know, and that’s ok.

I used to act like every decision in my life was high-stakes, life-or-death, and permanent. It took a lot of head banging to realize that no decision is like that. People change careers at the age of 60 sometimes. Nothing is forever. Perhaps if you lower the stakes for yourself, and realize that you have every right to change your mind, your path will become clearer.

Anyone else have insight or experience with this?

Dear Mo and The Group,

I’m trying to remain hopeful after my lap surgery which removed stage 2 endo. I’m just not entirely convinced that was the reason why I’ve had so much trouble (5 years infertility, 1 m/c, 2 chemical). Hoping to even hear from someone who had endo removed and is now pregnant (or had a baby) after years of infertility.

Thanks,

Infertile Days

Ok ladies, I’ve got so many pregnant-after-IF blogs on my reader, that it would take me ages to find specifically the pregnant-after-end0 ones.  So – you guys are up! Let’s give ID some hope linkage, shall we?

I can tell you this – from the hundreds of IF blogs I read, stage 2 endo is manageable, and I know there’s an increased chance of successful pregnancy after having it removed. Don’t give up hope, ID!

That’s all for today ladies. Use the handy-dandy form below to submit for next week’s GTT, and I look forward to reading all of your comments!

Group Therapy Thursday – Marriage. That’s it.

22 Sep

Hi there! Did you pop in for Group Therapy Thursday? Awesome! Guess what though? I only got one submission this week. One single, solitary, lonely question. That’s all I’ve got for you today.

So let’s jump into to our one question, shall we?

Dear Mo and the Group,

What sorts of things are important in planning, not a wedding, but a marriage?  What conversations MUST you have with your partner before saying “I do”?  What can you do to keep your relationship thriving, even during times that are less for-better and more for-worse? 

Thanks!

Rapier

Yes, I did it! No nickname, and you will be Rapier! I loves me some HP references. Now, to your question: This sounds cheesy, but I think the secret is not just in pre-marital conversations, but also in making sure the conversations continue constantly throughout the marriage.  I think that the basis of a marriage is not love, sex, or anything like that. At the end of the day, by getting married, you are creating your own independent family unit. Remember when you were 5, 6, 7 years old? Your whole world was your parents. Everyone else were bit players. The main characters were you, your parents, and any siblings you had. By getting married, you’re making a brand new film, where you and your husband are the main characters. That means that your priorities shift. Everyone else, including your parents, now become supporting characters. (I’m stretching the movie metaphor a bit thin here I know. Sorry).

So first thing’s first – are you ready for that? Is he ready to put you first in his life?

The main pre-marital conversations I think have to do with the basics.

First: How will you be handling your money? Do you want to go back to school, or be a Stay-at-Home mom? Does he? Would he be ok with either of these options? How will you be handling your finances? How will you decide on where to spend your money? What happens if one of you wants to buy an expensive luxury item for themselves- do they have to run it by you? What are the big-ticket items that are important to you? A house? A yearly vacation? Finances are always a point of contention, so better to hash out as much as possible ahead of time.

Second: Children (and of course the issue of IF). How many do you want? If you know that you may be facing IF treatments, how far are both of you willing to go? How much money are you willing to spend? How will you handle disagreements on the subject? Beyond that – knowing how to raise your children. If you’re both from different religious backgrounds, I truly believe that is something that needs to be hashed out in advance. It can cause a lot of unwanted conflict. How do you think you’d handle discipline? This is another major cause of conflict.

Third: Infidelity. The fact is that research says that a large percentage (can’t find the number right now – but I know it’s more than 60%) of married couples face infidelity. There’s no point in mincing words about this. I’m not saying to give him permission ahead of time. What I am saying is to think to yourself – if he or you are tempted to be unfaithful, how would you want that situation handled? For example, I made it very clear to Shmerson from day one that for me, the thing I can’t stand about infidelity is the lying. If sometime in the future, he feels like he’s crushing on someone and may be tempted, I’d much rather he just be honest with me ahead of time so we can hash it out. If he has a drunk night where he loses control, I’d want to know about it immediately. Being lied to for me is far more important than the infidelity itself. So what about you? What is your priority and how would you like it to be handled?

Fourth: The in-laws. Do you get along with his parents? Does he with yours? If not, how will you resolve these conflicts? How will you split up holiday visits? What will you do if you need financial assistance from them?

Finally: Divorce. I know, I know. You’re just getting married, why the hell do you want to talk about divorce? Well, 50% of all marriages end in one. So it’s better to set some ground rules just in case. Do you feel like a pre-nup would be a good option in your case? Would you consider couples counseling? For example – Shmerson and I have a set rule: if we ever get in trouble, we take one year of couples counseling before even uttering the D-word. We’ve both committed to that, so we can make a fair attempt to solve our problems if they arise, and not run away from them.

As for the marriage itself – in my opinion, the key is communicating openly and honestly about your relationship, always. Dishonesty, or hiding your feelings, leads to bottled up emotion, which can explode in hurtful ways when you least expect it. If something bothers you, make an effort to point it out immediately. Don’t keep it in to use as ammunition later. There is nothing worse than pent up aggression. Even if it scares you to say it. This is a stupid metaphor – but I like those so bear with me – let’s say you were walking around with spinach in your teeth, and your partner didn’t say anything for fear of making you uncomfortable. Then you come home and find out that you’ve been walking around like that all day. Wouldn’t you be mad at him for NOT telling you? If you keep things to yourself for a long time, and it comes out in a huge explosion out of nowhere, your partner will be more hurt than he/she would have been had you just said something in the first place. A small moment of discomfort trumps months or years of pent up frustration.

There are two more issues I want to talk about:

Flaws: Some people walk into a relationship wanting to “change” someone. They think he or she will get better. Or that bad habits will go away with enough time, nagging, or work. This is not always the case. When you jump into marriage, you’re marrying the whole person – flaws and all. Yes, he or she may change. But they may not. Of course, people evolve with time, but sometimes certain things just don’t go away. If there’s something about your partner that you have a hard time with, don’t go in expecting that to be any different 5, 10 years down the line. It may, and it may not be. Expecting it to be will just lead to disappointment. You “buy” your partner “as-is”. If you can’t accept his or her flaws, then seriously consider whether you want to stay with him/her. Sure they will change, but their inherent character most likely will not. And if you can’t live in peace with who they are, perhaps there is no way for the two of you to live in peace in the long term.

Fun: This is so incredibly important! Life gets serious. Mortgages need to be paid. Cars need to be serviced. Jobs, medical issues, insurance… The list goes on and on. Things can get dull. They can get heavy. They can get hard. As hard as it gets, don’t forget to have some fun once in a while. Be silly. Throw whipped cream at each other while cooking dessert. Go out for cotton candy. Sing a stupid song. Do a stupid dance. Make each other laugh. Always hold on to that. Because sometimes shit gets heavy. And if you forget how to make each other smile, then you’ve forgotten how to love each other.

That’s my take. What do you ladies think makes a good marriage?

So. It’s lucky the ONE question I got is a complex one. Ladies, don’t let me down! For GTT to go on you must bare all!

Here, I’ll even put up a brand spanking new submission form right here in this post.

Look at that! With new options and everything!

Have at it, chicas.

Group Therapy Thursday: Friends, Gametes, UTI’s (and sex!)

16 Sep

Another week, another bunch of questions!

Let’s just jump right in, shall we? Oh- and PS- if you didn’t make up a cool nickname in your submission, I made one up for you. And it is most likely lame. Next time I’ll just call you all “Rapier”.

Dear Mo and The Group,

Okay – so a close friend of mine is going to be an Aunt, and her sister is pregnant… I live FAR away from her – and only talk to her once a week for about an hour — and now, at least 15 minutes of that time is spent talking about her sister’s pregnancy… That may not seem like a long time, but seriously, I expect my close friends to know that I really don’t want to hear about all the ins and outs of one of their relatives’ pregnancies. She knows of my struggles, but obviously doesn’t quite get it. Is there a polite way to communicate that I really don’t care and don’t want to hear about it or talk about every week!?

Thanks, 

Far Far Away

Hi There FFA!

Here’s my take on this: I’ve spoken a lot on this blog about the importance (to me at least) of being upfront and honest about infertility and miscarriage. I know a lot of us in the ALI community keep things to ourselves, but I personally think that does more damage than good. The more we can communicate openly and honestly about our struggles, the more awareness we raise. I think this is especially true of our close friends and family. I know that every single one of my close friends (regardless of their fertility status) knows what I’m going through, and is sensitive to it, because I clearly communicate my needs and feelings to them. I think this should be the case with your friend. She is obviously close enough to you that you talk with her weekly, and she knows of your struggles. You can’t really expect a person who hasn’t “been there” to get it right all of the time. The only thing you can do is explain, and then hope they get it right the next time. Honesty is definitely the best policy here. I think that if you broach the subject tactfully, using “I feel” rather than “you did”, making sure to make it about your feelings and not her actions, then there is no reason that she would not take that with love, and be sensitive to it. Keep in mind that she doesn’t know any better, because she hasn’t “been there”, and I’m sure that you explaining it further will make her not only more sensitive to you, but also more sensitive to other IFers she may encounter in the future. If you approach it from a non-accusatory angle, I’m sure it will only contribute to your closeness and create a greater sense of open communication and understanding. Good luck!

Dear Mo and The Group

My husband and I have been trying to conceive for many years now. We have a whole host of problems between us and are using donor gametes in order to build our family at this time. We are comfortable going this route, but our concern is what to say to others. We aren’t ashamed of the route we are taking to build our family, but we don’t want our future child(ren) to have to deal with negativity due to how they were conceived. We could use some advice in handling this topic!

Thanks!

Marvelous Momma To Be

Hi There MMTB!

I personally don’t have experience with this, but I do think that this is less an issue of what others will think, and more an issue of how your future children will perceive themselves. If they feel confident, secure, and loved, then that is what they will portray to the world. These days, there are lots of “unusual” family situations, from same sex parents, to single parents, to adopted children, adopted embryos, and donor-conceived kids. Maybe I’m naive, but acceptance of these things is slowly on the rise. I think that as long as your children feel loved and protected, and are encouraged to share their struggles and feelings with you, they should be fine. I think everyone in the world has a certain sense of “otherness” as a child. Whether you stick out because of your race, your weight, the unusual makeup of your family, or even wearing glasses. The best solution, in my mind, is knowing that you will come home to a safe and loving environment.

Keiko Zoll, one of my favorite bloggers, is considering going the DE route and has some fabulous resources on her site. I especially love this post about how a mother told her daughter that she was conceived via DE. It brought me to tears. If you haven’t checked out her blog, I encourage you to do so.

Those are my two cents. I’d love to hear what everyone else has to say about this!

Okay ladies, I am susceptible to UTIs…

Am I the only one? It’s definitely gotten worse since TTC began. 

I read somewhere that the “pee after sex” thing was a myth – but there are mixed “reviews” about that. Most times I go to sleep right after sex. 

How do you balance UT health (peeing after sex maybe) with TTC (laying down for 30+ mins after sex)?

Thanks,

Urinary Tract Infertile

Hi there UTI!

I’m lucky that I haven’t been plagued much with this. However, I do have a very simple solution for you: Baby Wipes. After all, the stuff that ends up outside of your pipes at the end of the deed won’t magically get in your pipes, so there’s no harm in wiping it away. If you keep a package handy by the bed, it should at least help with the issue.

Anyone else have experience with this?

Dear Mo and The Group,

I really enjoy masturbation.  I also really enjoy sex with my husband, but there’s a part of me that believes the two are not related/not comparable: sex takes more time and more effort; there’s prep-work, there’s clean-up work, there are expectations and many variables.  A moment alone with my vibrator, however, takes five minutes or less, and always accomplishes its clear and simple goal.

When I was young and single and masturbating out of necessity, I always kind of assumed that once I got married, I wouldn’t need to masturbate anymore.  I would have another person to have sex with, as often as I wanted.  And that part of it is true – I do have another person to have sex with as often as I want; my husband NEVER turns me down.  But sometimes, I don’t want sex with another person; I just want sex with myself.  And for this, I wait for a moment when my husband isn’t around, when he’s at work, or even in the shower, so that I can, you know, take care of myself.

My question is, am I crazy?  Am I somehow cheating on my husband with my vibrator, or hurting our sex life by occasionally leaving him out of mine?  Does anyone else see intercourse and a quick self-induced orgasm as two totally different things, or was I right in my younger assumption that once you have a partner, you should be using him for 100% of your fulfillment?

Guilty (Self) Pleasure(er)

You’re crazy. For thinking that there’s even a bit of “cheating” going on here. I strongly believe that you are OBLIGATED to pleasure yourself on occasion. Here’s why: our bodies change. We respond differently to different stimuli at different times. If you don’t know what you like, how can you communicate your needs to your husband? I think it’s important that we know our own body.

Beyond that, sometimes a girl just needs a little release. Sorry to be blunt – but I’m going to venture a guess here: Chances are that when your hubby is in the shower, and you’re getting off with your little friend, he’s rubbing one out. Does that mean he’s cheating? Of course not! So why is what you’re doing any different?

I do think that perhaps the simple act of “hiding” your little vibrating friend may be what’s causing you to feel like you’re deceiving your partner. I don’t know how he’d react to your self-pleasuring, but I would suggest perhaps incorporating the vibrator into your foreplay on occasion. That way, your hubby knows the thing exists, and you may feel a bit less shamed by it all. Some men may feel like you’re hurting their ego by using a sex toy, so tread lightly and carefully, so as not to cause unnecessary conflict. But if he’s open and giving enough in bed, it may be the perfect solution so that you can assuage your guilt about your “little friend.”

If you feel like he may feel threatened by it, then go ahead and leave well enough alone. But don’t feel guilty. Masturbation is a great way to get to know your own needs, not to mention, sometimes a girl just needs a little help to fall asleep!

That’s all for today ladies. Thanks for your questions! I look forward to hearing everyone’s take on things in the comments.

And don’t forget! GTT can’t happen without your questions, so head on over to the launch post to submit yours for next week’s edition!

Group Therapy Thursday – Sex, Marriage, Moving, and Pee-Sticks!

8 Sep

I’ve gotten some awesome messages from you guys. Thanks so much for participating! I couldn’t post all of them today, but I promise that if it’s not posted today, it’ll make it on here soon!

So are we ready…? Here we go (this is exciting)!

Dear Mo and the Group,

Sex is on my mind a lot lately!  The problem is this: I was married for a long time and after getting divorced I hit it off with the first guy I dated and he now lives with me.  But lately I find myself attracted to many men and women and I wish I had dated more before getting into another committed relationship.  I’ve had sex with just two men and although it’s been pretty satisfying I desire more sexual experiences.  My suggestion of having an open relationship did not go over well and I don’t think I want to break up with my sweet boyfriend just to have casual sex.

So tell me, am I missing out on anything by having had so few sexual partners?  How have others handled these feelings?

Thanks for your help,

Practically a Virgin

Hi PAV!

I personally was a bit of a slut in high school, so I can’t talk from experience here (I’ll leave that to everyone in the comments who has been in your shoes). But do allow me to make a suggestion:

Threesome! Seriously. If you feel like you may be a bit into girls, then you should bring up the option of doing a threesome with your partner and another girl. No man in his right mind would say no to that. This way you get to be sexually adventurous without actually opening up the relationship. I’m going to pull from the Dan Savage handbook here and suggest that if you decide to do that, set some very clear boundaries ahead of time for both you and your boyfriend, and make sure that you treat the woman who you bring into the “circle” with you guys with respect, and of course, be very safe about everything.  As Mr. Savage says, monogamy shouldn’t be the death of sexual adventure. I have plenty more to say about this, but I’ll leave it here for now and let the group chime in, and maybe add more later in the comments!

Dear Mo and The Group,

If you have to move in 9 months-ish (husband is finishing college, you never intended to stay where you are now forever), and you’ve narrowed the choice down to three awesome cities, all of which have pros and cons, how do you make the final decision?

This one is from Kristen. I emailed her and asked her for some more info, specifically, what ARE the pros and cons, and what cities are they considering?

Denver/Boulder, CO

Pros: Close to family, easy to move (already live in the same state), friends there, great snowboarding, affordable

Cons: The city itself is the least favorite city, not near the ocean

Seattle, WA

Pros: Beautiful, near water, husband and I both have our best friends there, moderate cost

Cons: Rainy and gray in the winter, has both snowboarding and surfing but both are a drive and not the best quality

Santa Barbara, CA

Pros: Beautiful, beach lifestyle (I’ve lived there before and felt like I was on vacation the whole time), surfing

Cons: Expensive, lived there with my brother who died and afraid I might be sad going back there, have friends there but not as close of friends as in other places

Before I give my take, it’s important to note that Kristen, after a heck of a lot of heartbreak, is 9 weeks pregnant. With twins! Yay Kristen! I’m going to take that into consideration in my answer.

Off the top of my head, I think Santa Barbara should be knocked off the list. Considering this economy, price is definitely an issue, and I think it may be hard on you because of your history there. Not to mention the lack of family/friends.

Which brings me to my real insight here: especially once those little ones come, you’re going to want to have a support system around you. I know you’re only 9 weeks and you have the IF paranoia, so you don’t even want to look that far ahead. But you should, especially since you need to make the decision soon.

I think beyond beaches and weather, you need to have people who you love close to you. Whether it’s close friends or family is not necessarily important, but whichever it is, it will be a huge help.

I’ve heard often that after a woman gives birth, no matter what her age or circumstance, she will instinctively “want her mommy.” I know you’re close with your mom, and you should definitely tick that  box in favor of CO.

But – Seattle is awesome, and it seems like you have a support system there as well.

So I would suggest keeping that in mind, and also thinking about where you want your kids to grow up. Do you want them to be in a family atmosphere? Do you want them to grow up in a really cool city, but farther away from their grandparents? Which is more important to you?

Guys – what do you think? I know a couple of you have lived in these cities – perhaps you have some extra insight?

Hey Mo and the Group,

My husband and I have been together (including dating years) for 8 years.  We have been having difficulties in our intimate area of our life for, well, as long as we have been having sex, but we always felt like we had enough other great things going on that it wasn’t everything.  We have been struggling with IF for 2 years, and had a miscarriage last fall.  For work reasons, we have been apart for about 2 months.  A little over a week ago, he called to tell me he had slept with another woman, a mutual friend who he has known since high school.

   After spending about 48 hours vacillating between hysterics and catatonics, I’ve come to a place of contemplation (aka over-analysis).  He is incredibly apologetic, and been very straight forward about the situation.  I do want to work on this… but I also realize that just because we try to fix this, doesn’t mean we can.

   So after driving three days he is back, and things are a mix of familiar/normal and awkward/strange, trying to figure out what our relationship looks like.  Doing our best to be honest about what we both want and need.  While we plan to pursue counseling, I think we are both a little lost as to what we should do (or not do) right now, and that is where I really just need as much input as I can get.   Specifically I’m trying to wrap my head around the concepts of “love” and “forgiveness” in such an unexpected situation.  How does a couple go about rebuilding the trust?  How do I know we are better, as opposed to me just wishing we were (aka denial)?  How do I know if/when it’s over, and I should stop trying?

Bleeding Tulip

Hi there BT!

Let me start from the end, I don’t think there is anything specific you need to do, except listen to your gut. Do you want him around right now or do you need some time alone? There’s nothing wrong with giving yourself some space. I don’t know if you guys have the capacity to re-build trust, and I don’t know where you would start rebuilding it. I do know that this type of brain-spinny craziness is not good for either of you. I’ve never been in your situation, and I’m sorry you’re going through this. All I know is this: I’ve always trusted my gut. For example, I was in a relationship for 2 years, we were living together, and the second the guy started talking marriage my gut told me to break up with him. I was all alone in a city with no family around and no money, but I moved out, and it was the best decision I ever made. We’re still friends, I introduced him to his wife, and I have Shmerson. I didn’t roll it around in my head, I just listened to my gut. Your gut will never fail you as long as you listen to it without judgement.

Now –  allow me to dwell on something in the first paragraph, that I think is the most telling: You guys have been together since you were 18. And your sex life has always been lacking.

I find this worrisome. I’m not saying great sex is the cornerstone of a marriage, but you guys were 18! That’s hormone city! If it wasn’t hot and heavy then, well, I’m not sure if it really can be.

I know your IF struggle is clouding this, and you’ve got major case of the baby-crazies, which is most likely clouding your objective judgement. I want you to put the baby-crazies aside for a minute ok? Rewind to two years ago before the IF kicked in. If this had happened two years ago, what would you have done?

I think that should be your true answer. Have an honest conversation with yourself about your needs beyond the baby issue. Just put yourself in those 24-year-old shoes and see where they lead you.

Those are my two cents. What do you guys think?

Dear Mo and The Group,

Do other women in the IF/Loss community hoard their pee-sticks?  I’m not talking about stockpiling pregnancy tests for testing, or keeping your positive tests.  I’m talking about keeping every negative test I’ve taken.  They are stashed in the bottom of a drawer. I don’t understand why I do this, but I do.  Nor do I go back and look at them afterwards.  

~Future TLC Special In the Making

Hmmm… Interesting one. First of all, yes, reading HPT’s after the designated time is a really bad idea, so it’s good you don’t do that. I don’t necessarily hoard my BFN’s, but there was a time that I did hoard a couple, and look at them with a serious case of the bitter. They were a good trigger if I needed a good long cry. However, three losses in, I no longer do that. I don’t think it’s weird though. My guess is it happens more often than you’d think.

Any IFer’s out there need their own TLC special as well? “Pee-stick Hoarders – buried alive!” No, wait “Pee-ntervention!” No, that’s Bravo. “Kate plus 8 (thousand pee sticks)!” “Extreme Peesticking!”

I could go on forever. But I won’t. Thank you folks, don’t forget to tip your servers!

That’s all for today! I know there’s plenty of fodder out there for discussion, so comment away!

You guys sent in some awesome questions. Sorry that I couldn’t get to all of them – but keep them coming!

If you want to take part in next week’s Group Therapy Thursday, please head over to the launch post and fill out the handy-dandy form.

Tomorrow – the First Ever Group Therapy Thursday!

7 Sep

So – reactions were great on my suggestion, so this Thursday will be the inaugural edition of Group Therapy Thursday! Yay!

So here’s how it’s going to work:

You guys send me your TTC, relationship, whatever questions/problems via the contact form at the bottom of this post.

I will post the questions on Thursday, give my personal take on them, and then open it up for a group discussion in the comments!

A few important notes:

Unless you specifically request for me to use your real name or link back to your blog, all questions will be completely anonymous. I will not reveal your identity unless given specific permission. Otherwise it’ll stay between you, me, and the email servers. Feel free to make up a cool pseudonym if you want. Like “Dragon” or “Pee-stick freak” or “Rapier” or “Voldemort” or “Lonely in Louisiana” or whatever.

I may have to slightly edit down your messages if they are too long. I promise that if I do, it will not in any way affect the main issue you bring up (it would be cool if  you could keep it around 300 words or less, but don’t worry about it too much).

I may contact you with a follow up question if needed (that’s why the email address is a required field).

Remember! This is your opportunity to be completely shameless. No topic is off limits here. That’s what this whole thing will be about – things you’re too embarassed/afraid to air in a public forum!

Non-blogger readers, and I know you’re out there: This is your opportunity to ask the ALI blogosphere ANYTHING! Go for it! 🙂

I’ll be posting Thursday night-ish (as in, about 24 hours from now, so get your questions in quick if you want them up this Thursday! Whatever doesn’t get posted tomorrow, I promise will be posted next week.

So – have at it!

Just fill in the handy-dandy contact form below:

Good luck!

Oh – and on a completely unrelated note, you all need to go read Elphie’s latest post. It oozes awesome sauce.

See you all back here Thursday night!

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