In a Nation of Fear, United We Stand

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me,
‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’
To this day, especially in times of  ’disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing
that there are still so many helpers –
so many caring people in the world.”
-Fred Rogers

Flagedit

I purposely try to stay away from the news lately. It seems like it is worse and worse each day and quite frankly, I just don’t want to hear it. I know that’s not a very responsible, adult thing to say or do, but it’s true. I don’t feel the need to constantly subject myself to all the other ever-increasing craziness in the world when I have more than enough of my own right now. Not to mention that when there is a huge tragedy, the media sensationalism gets me almost as upset as the event itself.

Yesterday’s tragedy at the Boston Marathon made my heart jump into my throat yet again this year. A swirl of emotions and reactions went through my body as this latest disaster unfolded before my eyes. First, I experienced the shock of hearing the news and the tears of sympathy for all the people affected. I feared for my family and friends that live there. Then I got mad.

Why?
Why do these crazy tragedies continue to happen at a more and more frequent pace now? 

CONTINUE READING

Think Your Kid Is Drinking Milk? Think Again…

Got MilkA friend of mine shared a link to this article on Facebook this morning, and I was instantly appalled. (Although, sadly, not surprised.) Aspartame in milk? Seriously?!?

Why is it that our country is making it harder and harder to eat wholesome, natural foods? Is it any wonder that there has been a huge spike in food-related disorders, cancers, and other unexplained health problems? Yes, please, let’s just keep adding chemicals and other nasties to our food, that will help…

Aspartame in milk and 17 other dairy products…. The best part is this petition is not only asking to do this, but asking to do this without having to put it on the label! They’re trying to say that the aspartame would provide for a lower calorie product and would “promote more healthful eating practices and reduce childhood obesity.” What?! Last I heard, aspartame actually contributed to obesity and diabetes and puts us at risk for certain cancers and other fun disorders. Not to mention, many people’s systems can not tolerate it very well. So what’s the real story here? That’s what I call conflicting information!

I’m outraged that the FDA is even considering this. I’ve been frustrated with all the horrible things I’ve been reading about our food lately anyway, and this just set me off. Why is it so hard to be able to affordably provide our families with healthy, natural foods?

I do not want my kid drinking any milk with aspartame in it, not to mention myself. If this ridiculous proposal does go through, I certainly hope they will be required to put it on the label. It should be illegal not to given all the health problems associated with aspartame and other artificial sweeteners.

I’m not sure if there is much we can do about this, but the FDA has opened public comments until May 21, 2013. I’ve already submitted my outrage. Let’s spread the word and try to send the government a message –

KEEP THESE CRAPPY CHEMICALS OUT OF OUR KIDS’ FOOD!

Submit your comments, supporting data, and any other information regarding this issue on the FDA’s site at:http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=FDA-2009-P-0147-0012

Then spread the word!!

The Whole Proposal

Photo Credit: pixagraphic via photopin cc

This article was originally published at Silverpen Productions, LLC

New Features

As this blog gets rolling, you will see some new features popping up. Here are a few of the upcoming features we have to look forward to seeing soon:

  • From Your Personal Trainer – This section will feature articles directly from trainers and consultants. They will offer expert advice and tips on fitness, nutrition, and general wellness.
  • Recipe Corner – We will periodically post tried and true nutritious recipes that are good for the whole family.  Yum!
  • The Doctor’s Corner – Articles from licensed physicians regarding all kinds of topics for your personal and family health.
  • Activity Corner – Fun activities for the whole family!

Stay tuned – lots of fun things coming your way on The IF Factor! Plus, more articles and personal posts on the usual infertility, adoption, pregnancy, parenting, and family topics as well as new contributor posts as well.

Have a great week!

“Just Relax!”

You know that nails on a chalkboard, animated steam coming out of your beet red ears as the sound of a runaway train barreling towards a cliff blares in the background feeling? It’s amazing how a simple phrase can sometimes send you instantly to that spot. That phrase for me is, “Just relax!” If you want to see me climb the wall, then please, tell me to relax.

It seems like such an innocent phrase. Never really bothered me back in the day, but once it started to take us a little longer than “normal” to get pregnant, I started to hear that phrase a lot, and it ANNOYED THE CRAP out of me. Even if I was in a perfectly relaxed state, I still heard about it:

“Oh, it’s probably just because you do so much, you need to slow down and relax.” “Don’t get stressed out it hasn’t happened yet. You just need to relax.” Fast forward a couple of years and a fertility clinic later and it turned into, “Just relax! As soon as you stop thinking about it, it will happen.” “You don’t need to go to that clinic, you just need to relax.” “All you need is one quiet night and a bottle of champagne. Just relax and Voila!”

Are you effing kidding me?!? Don’t you think if I wasn’t so hopped up on drugs and hormones that I wouldn’t love to down a bottle of wine right now?!? I was relaxed when we started trying. Are you, with all of your medical degrees, seriously telling me to just relax when my life is nothing but hormones, needles, pills, stirrups, temperature charts, doctors, and timed sex like it is a 9-5 job? Just relax, huh….

I get that they are all very well-meaning statements. But, at least in my case, that was the last thing I wanted to hear from anyone. It always so annoyed me that people (who, of course, had no problems at all having kids of their own) felt like they knew so much about me, my body, and our lives as a couple that they really thought that “relaxing” was the only problem. Been there, done that, DIDN’T WORK.

At the height of my drug regimen, I seriously thought I would rip a tree right out of the ground and jam it down the next person’s throat who told me to relax. It got so bad that I didn’t even want to be around “normal” people anymore. It just took up too much energy to try to stay polite, smile and nod my head like this was the most genius advice I had ever heard and certainly why hadn’t I thought of that before? It was just too draining. I didn’t have enough energy left in me to deal with that too. And if I wasn’t supposed to be getting stressed out, then certainly removing myself from that stressful situation must be the way to go.

I was lucky enough to finally be blessed with my baby, but that phrase can still drive me up the wall. Now it tends to gear more toward other aspects of my life. Apparently, my happiness isn’t enough – I seem to be much too busy for other people’s comfort. And if I happen to admit that I’m tired, it certainly couldn’t be because I’ve been chasing after a 2-year-old all day. It must be because I just need to relax. Not quite sure how that works with a toddler around, one that I just want to soak up every second with, but apparently that’s what I need.

Maybe I do, but please, leave it to my yoga teacher to say it.
Deep breath….

Structure Change

This blog was originally started to be specifically about infertility and all of the craziness that surrounds it. Unfortunately, soon after it started, we had to put production on hold for a while. This hiatus, however, also gave me the time to realize that focusing on infertility was not the right way to go. I wanted the blog to be a place that could offer some hope for others in this situation, and to provide a place that could offer not only advice and information, but just plain ole companionship too. Sometimes a couple can get so caught up in the world of IF that you begin to feel isolated. You feel like the only people in the world in that situation.

I realized that real hope is believing your life can move on from infertility in one way or another. The blog needed to reflect that. There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel somewhere. So I have changed the structure of this blog. Besides the new design and formatting, we will now offer topics that not only include infertility, but pregnancy, adoption, parenting, family health, and all of life’s little IFs. There will always be uncertainties and fears in any situation, but there is joy too. Hope and determination can move us on to the next step at any time. The IF may always be there, but so will the light. We just have to keep moving forward…

More Sunshine = More Babies??

As amazing as modern medicine and science is, sometimes it really does just take something natural to make (or break) a miracle. And when you really think about it, it does make sense.

Take the sunshine, for instance. We know that on the one hand, it can make us burn and peel and feel miserable. And worst case scenario, it can give us cancer. On the other hand, we can’t survive without it.  It affects everything around us. Sunshine helps all the plants and animals to grow. It keeps our planet at just the right temperature so we can survive. It helps us differentiate between day and night. It is literally the center of the universe. So why shouldn’t it play a part in our own body cycles as well?

There has been increasing findings that the sun and the natural Vitamin D it provides can play a factor in diseases like Multiple Sclerosis and even the body’s natural immunity. But what about fertility? Studies on the role of light in both women’s and men’s cycles started back in the 1960s. But not until recently are these multidisciplinary studies showing that yes, light does play a factor in fertility – perhaps a major factor.

In terms of the body, light keeps the “circadian pacemaker” (basically the body’s master clock) on track with the usual 24 hour day. If we don’t get the right kinds of light, our bodies go out of synch with the world, and our body systems go out of synch with our bodies. We need to have a very clear distinction between the light of day and the dark of night for our bodies to perform at its top notch potential. But in a world of increasing technology where many of us spend the majority of our week working inside with artificial lights and the glow of computer screens, and our nights surrounded by more artificial lights, blinking screens, glows from charging cell phones, IPODs, digital clocks, etc., how are we supposed to help our bodies stay on track?

Ann Douglas offers several tips in the winter issue of Conceive Magazine

1. Try to keep your body in synch with the solar day. To cue your body to stop producing the nighttime hormone, melatonin, take a walk in the morning (outside).
2. Enjoy the sunshine – That whole Vitamin D thing is currently believed to affect at least 1000 different genes in our bodies that control every tissue. Studies are showing that melatonin may act directly on the reproductive tissues – meaning that women are more fertile during the time of year when there is the most daylight.
3. Don’t leave out your man! Vitamin D is very important in male fertility as well.  Light also boosts the luteinizing hormone which raises testosterone levels in men.
4. Try to keep a regular schedule not only in your everyday life, but in travels as well. Flying across time zones can really throw off your body too.
5. If you’re in an area where you just can’t get enough sunlight, consider using alternative light therapies. There are devices to block blue light, to increase light exposure, and to mimic the natural rhythm of moonlight which can help regulate ovulation.

For more info on some of these options, check: lowbluelights.com and luness.com

Source: Douglas, Ann. Light and Fertility. Conceive Magazine Winter 09/10 Vol. 6 Issue 4 pp. 46-49.

The Reminder of the Holidays

It’s amazing how the holidays can add to your own personal emotional roller coaster.  On one hand, it is a great way to forget about some of the stress of planning for a family. There are a lot of other things that you are forced to concentrate on – getting the right gifts, decorations, parties, planning, travel, dealing with family, heartwarming movies and stories, the magic of the season.

On the other hand, the holidays are a time for children. They’re the ones that get to believe in Santa Claus.  They’re the ones that we help create the magic for. If you’re Christian, we celebrate the holiday in honor of the birth of the infant Jesus Christ. The baby who would change the world. When you’re at those holiday parties, often, everyone else’s children are there too. The discussion focuses on what they’re doing for their kids for the holiday.  The kids are talking about what’s on their lists. “Watch it, Santa’s watching,” is a term heard everywhere. When it comes to gift time, the kids open first. The kids have the huge stack of gifts.

If you have to travel, you realize that everything revolves around the family members who have kids. The timing of events, the days of travel, who’s house you go to, even the rooms where everyone sleeps are based around those with kids.

Frustrating when it’s never you, isn’t it?

New Year’s comes around and everyone else can’t wait to get rid of their kids for a night so they can go out and party the adult way. When that ball drops and the two of you kiss, the only thought on your minds are, “God, I hope this year is it.  This is the year it’s going to happen for us. What I wouldn’t give to have my baby with me right now.”

It seems like no one understands. And how can they really, unless they’ve been in the same situation as you?

I know I felt it more than usual this year.  Other years, I still had a lot of hope. The holidays weren’t a really big deal.  This year, it hurt more than usual. I guess because we’ve been trying for so long now.

I’m not saying that I don’t still have a lot of hope.  Because I do.  In fact, maybe even more. But I’m also more frustrated, and maybe that was part of it. The holidays have always been a magical time for me, even in recent years. So I know that despite what seems like kids being thrown in my face, I still have to hold on to that magic. I still have to enjoy that New Year’s kiss, and I still have to wish on the sparkly ball, or that sparkly star in the sky that this year IS going to be the year. This is going to be the year that changes everything!

Here’s to a hopeful New Year for all of us! (I’m tipping my pretend glass of champagne to you)

Happy New Year!