Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Did you know we have an amazing e-book on the website this week....the best insights, expert tips and stories of the new-and-improved in 2010.

Check it out here


Monday, May 24, 2010


Note that in February 2010 the website moved to a more dynamic format that enables us to add daily blogs to the website itself in each category of the Choice Mom journey -- with even more bells and whistles that includes audio clips, sponsor deals, event details and more.

Visit the Trying section there at:


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Adaptive creatures and the Human Spark

This week the kids and I watched back-to-back PBS specials. About why humans developed into the overwhelming force that we are, rather than Neanderthals or apes. And how we manage to be happy.

If you were to blend the two different shows together, the message -- suitable for Choice Moms -- is this: our ability to adapt is what makes us strong.

In the show about emotions, they interviewed a former POW, who was tortured and in solitary confinement for eight years in Vietnam, but who doesn't regret those years away from his family because they made him into the man he is today. They interviewed a young man who became paralyzed and now is CEO of his own skincare line as a result. The interviewed a major lottery winner who, unlike counterparts who changed their lives dramatically and became focused on partying, sent family members to college and did the performance art he always wanted to do, but HIS way. (He also bought a major league NYC penthouse and filled it with Italian decor.)

In Alan Alda's exploration of the Human Spark, we saw that in the archeological sand pits of Africa and Europe scientists are finding more evidence. What led our version of Man to spread might have been the ability to not only create new technologies (in those days, spears and arrows rather than simply knives) but socially interact and communicate with others about how best to use them. Unlike Neanderthals, who were simply hearty enough to withstand climate changes for a time, our ancestors adapted tools and living styles in order to grow as a community.

What was interesting in both shows to me was the message that standing your ground and fighting was not necessarily the key to well-being. Rather, when you see that there are some things out of your control, and adapt your mind to wrap around new solutions, you are more likely to shed blocks that hold you in place and move ahead to a stronger future. I watched these disparate shows, I couldn't help but think of Choice Moms.

We are strong and hearty, yes. But the happiest among us DO seem to be the adaptable ones. We find new solutions if the old idea isn't working. We find community connections to help bring us to a new level.

I'm excited about the new Choice Mom resources I'm unveiling in this new 2010. Some of the old tools are being adapted, and new ones are emerging in order to solve the needs of the community.

What about you? Is the path you are on working for you? Or is it time to think of a new way around something that has been blocking you for too long? Do you need to do a better job of reaching out to community this year? Do you have a fertility plan that needs markers: this many IUI, then I save for IVF or adoption? Do you have an adoption strategy that is moving forward?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Are you jealous?

It's hard to see pregnant women around us, especially during the holiday season, especially if we've been trying to conceive for awhile.

One woman posted about her emotions at this time, on the Choice Mom discussion board, and here's the response of 46-year-old Morgan, mother of twins who is trying to add one more child to their family:

Your feelings are so normal and you're very much where I was at some years ago. I have an older sister who had three children and around the time I was thinking about becoming a choice mom, she got PG with twins - her 4th and 5th children. When I heard her news, I was twisted up with jealousy. It seemed so unfair that she was onto the 4th and 5th children, and was only 17 months older than me, but married for 17 yrs by then. By contrast, I was 4 yrs out of my last long-term relationship and desperate for a baby.

I felt sick and ill when she told me. At this time in my life, it seemed as if everywhere I looked, every woman I saw was PG or had children and none seemed to appreciate their children properly. My sister had a stay-at-home husband (she has a high flying career) and a nanny and parents-in-law and went back to work 2 days after she gave birth to her twins. She didn't seem to me to want them as much as I might have wanted children, and her husband hadn't wanted them at all.

It's a horrible feeling to be riven with jealousy. Focusing on wanting what another has can make you stagnate in those feelings of bitterness.

I chose instead to focus on what I could do for myself. And three years down the line, I ended up having my own twins, the day before I turned 38.

Set your sights on your own dream and pursue that goal as much as you can. I still have times when I feel jealous of other families where there's a partner, grandparents, and au pair supporting the family and I'm doing this completely on my own.

But then I see what happened to my sister's family....two years after she gave birth to her twins, she went through an acrimonious divorce. Her husband has refused further contact with the three older children and rarely sees the twins - now 11 - except when it's with the twins of his housekeeper/lover at the same time.

There's much I haven't got, but at least there's so much I HAVE, and my sons will never be torn apart by parents in conflict, which was both my own experience as a child and the experience of my sister's five children.

I don't think there will be a woman on this forum who hasn't felt that jealousy at a very visceral level. But my experience is that you can use the energy locked into that feeling to power your own journey towards your goal.

What about you? How have you channeled negative emotions into something positive?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

When friends piss you off because of this choice

A woman wrote recently about the unfortunate comments of a close friend of hers, after announcing that she was on the Choice Mom path. Many women responded by letting her know that the "toxic" ones need to be let go of when we're on the journey, because we need to focus our energies with the positive people in our community, not the ones who are focused on their own issues.

This response from Morgan was a good one, useful for anyone who deals with the community acceptance issue.

I found that when I became pregnant, all kinds of unexpected things happened in my friends and family. I think it can be hugely provocative to many people, that we become Choice Moms.

My two closest female friends, who lived nearby and who'd originally agreed to be my birth partners and hands-on support, suddenly did a big rejection of me and my choice when I was 19 weeks PG. This was totally unexpected to me. On the other hand, my parents -- 'conservative, traditionalists' -- were incredibly positive about my choice, also unexpectedly. My sister was the person who suggested becoming a Choice Mom to me in the first place. My brother, the family member to whom I'd always been closest all my life, reacted weirdly and withdrew.

What I'm getting at is that you never know what kind of response you'll get from anyone until that time comes. I imagine your friend has all kinds of unresolved issues herself perhaps about being an autonomous women, without a life partner (Is she scared of that? Does she crave this? Is she jealous of your strength?), about having a baby (Is she worried it'll take you away from her when the focus becomes your child? Does she want - and not have - a child of her own?) Who knows what's going on for her but at least something is clearer now for you with her, given her reaction. Can you trust her to be the kind of friend you want and need at a time like this?

Our types of friendship may change radically when we become Choice Moms. Sources of support may come from unexpected places, as may rejection/ abandonment/ negativity.

Is she the kind of friend you can have a 'heart-to'heart with over this and she'll really listen and take heed? Is the friendship worth you being authentic and honest with her about how you feel at her reaction? Is this a warning that you may need to look elsewhere for friends when you're a mom?

My two friends completely rejected me and have never come back into my life, and so have missed out on my beautiful twin sons, and on me. My brother is very peripheral to our lives. Though both my parents are now dead, their support for me becoming a Choice Mom still gives me strength inside. In fact, one of the last things my mom ever said to me was that she was glad I'd had my babies.

Before children, people's flippant attitudes and minor unkindnesses mattered less to me than they do now that I'm a mom. Now there are three of us here to be affected, and two of those are my vulnerable little children who I refuse to expose to people who aren't 100 percent good for me and for them.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tips for at-home insemination

Anna posted this to the Choice Mom board and I thought it was well worth sharing here, in response to a woman who is trying to conceive with at-home insemination using a known donor.

Has your partner been checked? It takes two to tango as they say, so if he hasn't already he might want to get his sperm count, morphology checked. Also check your blood types to make sure you are compatible and do a check to make sure you don't have "hostile cervical mucous"...that phrase just makes me giggle every time...

If you are worried about your lining but trying to get pregnant the "old fashioned way" you should get it checked via ultrasound around the time before you would normally have your surge. They can also monitor your follicle growth. I also recommend keeping a journal, doing basal temperature charting and ovulation predictor kits, understanding the signs your body gives when you are at certain points in your cycle, and generally getting to know yourself better in terms of your cycles. [NOTE from Mikki: has some good articles and podcasts about this subject.]

For getting a nice thick happy lining, try getting acupuncture and Mayan abdominal massage (only in the first half of your cycle for the massage) and drink three cups of raspberry leaf tea a day (put it in a cup, pour BOILING water over it, then cover it and let it steep for at least 10 minutes). I did raspberry leaf tea one cycle and my lining added an extra 3cm. Also, it is very important to stay hydrated...cut out caffiene, sugar, table salt, alcohol, drink plenty of water, etc.

There are a ton of factors that go into getting your body ready for accepting that burrowing embryo.

Meditation, yoga, visualization, relaxation exercises, acupressure, chiropractic adjustment, massage, acupuncture, and herbal supplements can all help to improve relaxation and hormone balance and increase blood flow to your vital bits.

Lastly, remember that in the "normal" coupled universe, docs don't generally think there is a "problem" unless you've been trying for over a year with no success. So five months is still early, and you've got an advantage having a [safe] fresh sperm partner over those of us who have to use spermcicles.

I hope my rambling advice helps. Seeing an RE might help and also find a good acupuncturist without a doubt! It's made a huge difference for me in terms of my mental clarity and stress levels, and that has to be good for future baby.

[NOTE: See also radio show #3, via, about fertility enhancement tips, from specialists in yoga, acupuncture, massage and nutrition.]

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Finding the light at the end of the tunnel

submitted by Barb, who responded to a woman on the Choice Mom discussion board who was feeling stressed about the challenges of fertility

I completely understand how you're feeling. I was there myself once. It is really so much a part of the process. You're reeling with a lot of different emotions, some of which you don't even know are there until something unexpected happens. I am currently in the process of trying to have a second child and every little speed bump or unexpected test result instantly shoots my emotions to the surface... and I remember how hard this was the first time.

It is a process you have to get used to. I know that probably isn't much help, but it's true. You really can't live your life expecting the unexpected or expecting things NOT to work, but you do have to start setting your life up to cope with the occasional setbacks and speed bumps. Even if all that means is that you should find a support person or someone you can vent to when things don't go as expected.

I vividly remember calling my friend Rhonda from the parking lot of a pharmacy after they didn't have my prescription for progesterone suppositories and they sent me to another pharmacy two miles away. The other pharmacy DID have what I needed, and it turned out to be no big deal. But in that moment, full of hormones and overwhelmed with the emotions of what I was undertaking, it felt like some giant sign from God. Why can't this be easy? Maybe I shouldn't be doing this. Maybe I'll never be a mother. My friend Rhonda just listened and reminded me that things were worse because of the hormones, and she didn't over-react when I barked at her insensitively.

And that moment passed. That drama passed. That day of fear and anxiety passed.

But there were many, many more of them on my journey to becoming a mother. Poor fertility test results. Insensitive doctors. Young, married friends who had oops pregnancies. Scheduling problems at a clinic. Panic over sperm delivery. The entire process was a series of dramas and emotional challenges.

But I learned how to cope with them. With each new drama that I survived I learned to stay calm, learned to wait to see what I was dealing with, learned how to keep my brain from spiraling off into my-god-what-am-i-doing-will-i-never-be-a-mother land.

And in the end it all worked out. I wouldn't change it for anything in the world. The process I went through to become a mother was good for me. It made me a better parent than I might have otherwise been. And it helped me learn that some things you just can't control... a big thing you will rediscover over and over and over again when you are a mother.

And you will be a mother if you really want it.

Your test results may not be great. But people with perfect test results can try for years and never get pregnant, and lots of women have bad results and end up pregnant right away. Medical science can do so much, and there are drugs and shots and procedures to help tackle so many fertility hurdles. The important thing is that you've made the decision to start this journey. That's a big commitment. It's scary. And it will be challenging. Over and over and over again. But you'll look back on this later and be so glad that you had the courage to try.