Healing Workshop for Women Facing Fertility Issues/Involuntary Childlessness

Healing Workshop for Women Facing Fertility Issues/Involuntary Childlessness

Dates: 25th, 26th, 27th May 2012 Friday evening 7.00pm-9pm, Sat and Sun, 10am-5pm.

Venue: Jamyang Buddhist Centre, The Old Courthouse, 43 Renfrew Road, London
SE11 4NA http://www.jamyang.co.uk/.

Well priced overnight accommodation available at Jamyang.

Facilitator: Gill Tunstall, MBACP, MA Integrative Counselling

This workshop is for anyone who has experienced infertility, failed fertility treatment, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, premature menopause, secondary infertility, stillbirth, neonatal death, or unwanted childlessness–whatever the cause, including lack of a partner.

The workshop aims to continue and develop the innovative work in this field of the therapist, Meredith Wheeler, (http://www.meredithwheeler.org/). The intention is to allow participants to explore their emotions, and to open up the possibility of moving on in their life.

• Some may need to acknowledge feelings of grief and loss and this can help women to feel lighter and calmer.
• Sharing feelings and experiences can alter the perspective of participants on their own story. This process can provide clarity for those difficult decisions on what the next step might be.
• Links may be forged during this process that could form the basis of valuable supportive networks offering a route out of isolation.

The longer term benefits may take various forms:
• Some people may come to terms with childlessness and decide to stop further treatment.
• Some people may decide to undertake further treatment, but in a new spirit.
• Some people may reconsider the possibility of adoption.

Although the focus of the workshop will be on shared experiences and emotions, there will also be an openness to finding ‘ways in’ to people’s feelings by creating art or using meditation techniques. The emphasis will be on expression rather than ability - no prior experience is necessary. Care will be taken to create a safe, compassionate and healing atmosphere.

Fees : £200 (lunch and refreshments included) or £190 Early bird before 15/3/12. Limited places available.

Some bursaries for unwaged or low-income individuals. Financial issues should never be the factor preventing anyone from taking part.

For further information and a registration form contact Gill Tunstall: gilltunstall@gmail.com or tel: 07825 581 148. http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/counsellors/gill-tunstall

Quotes from women who attended a previous workshop

“I feel so much better after last weekend. My brain has got room to deal with life again and I can talk with other people about their problems without feeling like my head’s going to explode! I feel more like the old me again - such a lovely feeling.”

“It was so good to meet other women in the same situation as me, to talk and empathise, as I’ve felt so isolated and different from friends and family. I think hearing someone else’s story also helps put your own into perspective. Also, when you tell your story and people accept you and don’t judge you, it helps you stop judging yourself.”
“I am me again! I know I can now focus on the future. For the first time in over 2 years I have had a very enjoyable weekend - without feeling like I have my burden of “infertility” clouding my mood. Finally been able to relax - all part of letting go I guess!”

“Just thank you so much to Gill and the staff at the temple - a wonderful place, a wonderful experience and with wonderful women!”

London Workshop for Women with Fertility Issues

Healing Workshop for Women Facing Fertility Issues

Dates: 9th, 10th, 11th December 2011 Friday evening 7.00pm-9pm, Sat and Sun, 10am-5pm.

Venue: Jamyang Buddhist Centre, The Old Courthouse, 43 Renfrew Road, London
SE11 4NA http://www.jamyang.co.uk/

Facilitator: Gill Tunstall, MBACP, MA Integrative Counselling

This workshop is for anyone who has experienced infertility, failed fertility treatment, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, premature menopause, secondary infertility, stillbirth, neonatal death, or unwanted childlessness–whatever the cause, including lack of a partner.

The workshop aims to continue and develop the innovative work in this field of the therapist, Meredith Wheeler. The intention is to allow participants to explore their emotions, and to open up the possibility of moving on in their life.

• Some may need to acknowledge feelings of grief and loss and this can help women to feel lighter and calmer.
• Sharing feelings and experiences can alter the perspective of participants on their own story. This process can provide clarity for those difficult decisions on what the next step might be.
• Links may be forged during this process that could form the basis of valuable supportive networks offering a route out of isolation.
The longer term benefits may take various forms:
• Some people may come to terms with childlessness and decide to stop further treatment.
• Some people may decide to undertake further treatment, but in a new spirit.
• Some people may reconsider the possibility of adoption.

Although the focus of the workshop will be on shared experiences and emotions, there will also be an openness to finding ‘ways in’ to people’s feelings by creating art or using meditation techniques. The emphasis will be on expression rather than ability. Care will be taken to create a safe, compassionate and healing atmosphere.

Fees : £150 (lunch and refreshments included).

Some bursaries for unwaged or low-income individuals. Financial issues should never be the factor preventing anyone from taking part.
For further information and a registration form contact Gill Tunstall: gilltunstall@gmail.com or tel: 07825 581 148.

http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/counsellors/gill-tunstall

Healing Group for Women Facing Fertility Issues–Starting Oct. 5th in London (UK)

A former client and psychotherapist is running a weekly women’s group in London for those facing fertility problems.
Please contact Gill for further details:

Healing Weekly Workshop for Women Facing Fertility Issues

Starting Weds. 5th Oct and running 10 weeks until Weds 7th Dec 2011, 6.30 – 9.00 pm

Venue: The CASSEL Centre, 4 Waldram Park Road, Forest Hill, London SE23 2PN

Facilitator: Gill Tunstall, MBACP, MA Integrative Counselling

This workshop is for anyone who has experienced infertility, failed fertility treatment, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, premature menopause, secondary infertility, stillbirth, neonatal death, or unwanted childlessness–whatever the cause, including lack of a partner.

The workshop aims to continue and develop the innovative work in this field of the therapist, Meredith Wheeler, (http://www.meredithwheeler.org/).

The intention is to allow participants to explore their emotions, and to open up the possibility of moving on in their life.

• Some may need to acknowledge feelings of grief and loss and this can help women to feel lighter and calmer.
• Sharing feelings and experiences can alter the perspective of participants on their own story. This process can provide clarity for those difficult decisions on what the next step might be.
• Links may be forged during this process that could form the basis of valuable supportive networks offering a route out of isolation.
The longer term benefits may take various forms:
• Some people may come to terms with childlessness and decide to stop further treatment.
• Some people may decide to undertake further treatment, but in a new spirit.
• Some people may reconsider the possibility of adoption.

Care will be taken to create a safe, compassionate and healing atmosphere.

Fees : Sliding scale from £50 to £150, according to income, for 10 weeks.

10% discount for Early bird if booked before 5 September.

Some bursaries for unwaged or low-income individuals. Financial issues should never be the factor preventing anyone from taking part.

For further information and a registration form contact Gill Tunstall: gilltunstall@hotmail.com or tel: 07825 581 148.

Summary of the London MoreToLife Gathering

Did anyone attend the MoreToLife gathering in London last Saturday afternoon?

(MoreToLife is a patient support group in the UK for people who are unwillingly childless.)

About 70 people were present (including quite a few male partners!) to hear four speakers–all women, three of whom discussed their life experience of involuntarily childlessness.

The first talk was by a counsellor for the British Infertility Counseling Association (www.bica.net) named Jayne Williamson from the University of Aberdeen. What I chiefly recall from her presentation is that the path to coming to terms with involuntary childlessness may lead to Mt Kilimanjaro! Some of her clients traveled to Tanzania to climb the highest mountain in Africa. That task probably seemed a good deal easier than facing several more cycles of IVF. So from the pit of despair to the top of the world….

Jayne’s core belief is that we all have the inner resources to find a way through the challenge of unwanted childlessness. It’s not necessary to be mired in unhappiness, regret and misery for the rest of our lives. (I’m with her on that!)

The second speaker was Vivienne Edgecombe who recounted her own journey of recognizing, accepting and moving forward through unwanted childlessness. Vivienne’s core message was that it is possible to live a happy, fulfilled and rewarding life without children. That having a child won’t make us happy. Happiness, she said, comes from within–and we can all take steps to cultivate it.

Vivienne is a practitioner of EFT–Emotional Freedom Technique (also known as tapping). Although she admits it looks a bit strange and may seem odd, this technique helps many people. It involves working through difficult emotions by tapping on various key points on the body–the side of the hand, specific places on the head, face and upper body.

I particularly liked elements of a meditation technique that she calls “Quantum Focusing”. It involves working with three affirmations:

1) I live with a happy heart.
2) I live with a playful spirit.
3) I live with a peaceful mind.

Vivienne recommended two books: Somebody Should Have Told Us–Simple Truths for Living Well by Jack Pransky and The Enlightened Gardener by Sydney Banks.

For more information, visit her website: www.vivienneedgecombe.comAfter a tea break, the third speaker was Hazel Hodge who volunteers as regional contact for MoreToLife in the Midlands where she runs self-help groups and informal meetings for local members.

She had many tools and coping mechanisms.
Hazel likes the Serenity Prayer by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr which goes like this:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.
Hazel found it important to grieve her childlessness. That process culminated in taking part in a small Fertility Loss Service in London where she read a poem about her loss (reproduced in the MTL newsletter for Spring 2010).

Hazel now cultivates the attitude of GRATITUDE–being appreciative of what she has, not focusing on what is missing.

She emphasizes the importance of supporting creativity in all its forms, especially if biological creativity is not going to be part of this lifetime.

Hazel channels her nurturing energies into volunteer activities. She is an Independent Visitor for the charity Action for Children, which involves being a trusted friend to a young person in care. From this she feels valued; her life has more meaning as she has the opportunity to mentor a young girl in difficult circumstances.

More recently Hazel established contact with an orphanage and school in South Africa where she plans to do more volunteer work.

All of the work Hazel has done on the issue of infertility served her well when suddenly she was made redundant and lost her job. Naturally it was a blow–but the mindfulness and personal qualities that she cultivated to face infertility helped mitigate that setback. She has since set up her own business.

Hazel’s next project is to walk the Inca Trail with of goal of raising funds for Kiya Survivors, a centre in Peru for abandoned children. (Mt. Kilimanjaro may follow!).

The final speaker was Rachel Ormrod, co-author of the excellent book, Beyond Childlessness (www.beyondchildlessness.com)
Rachel told her personal story of childlessness, which started when the man she married announced that he never wanted children. She faced a wrenching situation but decided to stay with her husband. The marriage lasted over 20 years–until he suddenly announced that he wanted to separate–another life shock. Rachel had given up her career as a successful market researcher–and found herelf without a job, a marriage, or a child.

As life evolved, she was able to use her nurturing energies in two important ways: One was in providing loving care for her aging parents until their deaths. The other was in going to Africa to help at an orphanage of children desperate for a loving adult.

Rachel says, “The key benefit for me of looking after my parents and working in a school in Namibia–where many children are orphans and all board–was experiencing a very real form of hands-on mothering, even if not the sort of mothering I’d dreampt of. I’ve done lots of things that have fed my nurturing/caring needs & desires–but never anything as close to actual mothering as these two.”

“The children of Namibia, in their desire for a mother figure, tore down my 20-year-old defences that had kept children at arms’ length until then. It was a very painful but transformative journey.”

Rachel’s key points for moving forward were:

1)Acknowledgement of the loss–giving up the dream of parenthood. Cosmopolitan magazine was wrong. You can’t have it all!
2) Acceptance–experiencing the grief and the loss.
3) Forgiveness–The decision to forgive herself and others was vital. She particularly wished to forgive her husband but also herself for a termination earlier in her life before she was married.
4) Transformation–We all need to find outlets for our creativity and our nurturing & caring side.

Rachel finds it vital to review her coping mechanisms from time to time, to ensure that they have not become a hindrance. For example, she realized after a while that she was ready to let go of her attachments to loss and grief that were in danger of becoming a fixed part of her personality.

She no longer wishes to be identified with the label childLESS. She doesn’t feel LESS. Now she describes herself as a woman who happens to have no children or grandchildren–but no less a woman because of that fact.

All the speakers had positive messages that dovetailed.
Though all had walked in the desert valley of sadness, anger and loss–they were out the other side and holding up a lantern for those behind them.

It was inspiring to hear their stories. One couldn’t help feeling that they had met the challenges life set before them and somehow emerged as wiser, more compassionate, more nuanced souls than when their journey began. May we all be burnished and deepened by the challenges before us!

Both Hazel and Rachel took part in one of the weekend workshops I facilitate for people coming to terms with infertility or unwanted childlessness, whatever the reason. This year’s workshop is coming up this weekend. If you are interested and ready to move forward, there are still a few places.

March Workshop in north London

Just to say that as of today (March 16th) a few places remain on the workshop over the weekend of March 25th-27th, 2011 in north London (Muswell Hill).

This is open to couples or individuals attending on their own. This workshop has both single women and a couple.

If you are suffering, don’t sit home alone.
Small group work is powerful and healing for people with fertility problems. It offers something that sharing on web forums cannot: direct contact with others who are walking a similar path.

Please read the comments of men and women who have participated in these workshops in the past, to get an idea of how you might benefit.

I’ll be attending the MoreToLife workshop on Saturday afternoon, March 19th, in north London if you’d like to meet me ahead of the workshop.

See you in London!

Meredith


One woman’s story with a happy ending

This is the first-hand account of a woman who had long-term fertility problems yet finally had a baby. She took part in one of my workshops. I share it here with her permission. It might be especially helpful to any other women who have auto-immune issues (allergies, asthma and arthritis). The clinic she used in Nottingham sounds very caring and well-run.
“You asked at the time how I managed to finally conceive her after 6 years. Well after 5 IUIs and 3 IVFs, as well as lots of alternative treatments including reflexology, the Foresight Programme, the Marilyn Glenville Programme  and 2 years of heavy chinese herbs and acupuncture with Dr Zhai on Harley St, my partner saw a piece in the newspaper about a clinic in Nottingham called Care who were pioneering a range of new treatments. By this point I was almost 40 years old and had very little faith left. I was struggling to accept the situation and was having panic attacks as I felt so overwhelmed with grief and self recrimination.

We went for a consultation with a doctor called George Nduwke who looked at my health record and said that because I had so many autoimmune problems he wanted to run tests to see if my infertility was was connected (he felt that my underlying fertility was not necessarily the issue). I should say at this point I thought that this had already been ruled out by tests I’d had with a guy called Dr Shehata on Harley St - an expert on miscarriage and autoimmune issues. When George’s tests came back (an advanced version of the ones i’d had with Shehata)  they showed that I had lots of immune issues, my own system was overproducing antibodies which would attack embryos, as well as attacking the hormones that support pregnancy. Also my partner and I have very closely matched immune systems which on its own may not be an issue but could have been a contributing one. I was not metabolizing folic acid properly and my TSH levels were borderline at almost 4.

Before having these tests I had decided not to have more IVF as I wasn’t sure I could cope with more loss and my health was suffering from all the treatments and stress over the years. However when it became clear that the tests had showed up something new and that they had something different to offer I agreed to try again. We got the results in January and did the treatment the following month. I did not wait for months as I had previously, cleaning up my diet, detoxing, cutting sugar and alcohol, although i was pretty healthy and virtually teatotal anyway.  I took 5mg of Folic Acid, a low dose of Thyroxine, Clexane (for a blood clotting issue) and was given an IV drip of Intralipids every two weeks (i would normally have also taken steroids as well but didn’t feel I could manage this cause of my reaction to them and George was happy for me to try without them) and I got pregnant!  I should say that in the previous 6 months my FSH levels had gone from borderline around 9 - 10 to 27! (possibly due to the Chinese herbs which really messed up my hormones for a while or possibly age related).

If you come across women for whom this might be an issue (I have allergies, asthma and arthritis) please do recommend this doctor and clinic. They were amazing - respectful, compassionate and professional. The care I received with them was completely unlike that I had from any of the London hospitals (Hammersmith, Lister and Elizabeth Garret Anderson) or fertility professionals I met. They were the first people to take the time to diagnose my problem and then to treat me in a way that was manageable for me, they were also brilliant communicators, always available to talk to and often called without being asked to check on my progress.

For the first half of my pregnancy I was completely stunned and freaked out by the fact that it had worked. I felt a sense of guilt (why me) and the fragility of it all and the feeling of it being such a close call was quite overwhelming sometimes. [My baby] is now 11 weeks old. All the years of not being able to conceive and the journey we went through to get there still haunts me however [this baby] has brought a peace and happiness to my life that I did not have before and that I am thankful for every day.”

March Workshop 2011

Healing–A Workshop for anyone facing fertility losses

This workshop is for anyone who has experienced infertility, failed fertility treatment, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, premature menopause, secondary infertility, stillbirth, neonatal death, sperm problems or unwanted childlessness–whatever the cause, including lack of a partner.North Bank

28 Pages Lane
Muswell Hill, London
N10 1PP

Dates: March 25th, 26th, 27th 2011 Friday evening 7.00pm-9pm, Sat and Sun, 10am-5pm.

Cost: £200

£350 for couples
(some bursaries for unwaged or low-income individuals)

Financial issues should never be the factor preventing anyone from taking part.

Women, men and couples are welcome. Partners are particularly encouraged to attend.

All sexual orientations welcome.

Men who find the courage to attend report great satisfaction from having done so.
(It is not unusual for male partners to be reluctant!)
Usually there are several women attending alone.

MoreToLife event in London on March 19th

The patient support group in the UK called MoreToLife is holding a London workshop on Saturday afternoon, March 19th.

Details are here: http://www.infertilitynetworkuk.com/moretolife/?id=14958

The afternoon includes:

Coping Strategies - with Jayne Williamson, BICA Counsellor, University of Aberdeen

Childlessness and a Happy Life - workshop run with Vivienne Edgecombe

Tea break and regional gatherings

A Fulfilling Life Without Children of Your Own - with Hazel Hodge

Surviving, then Thriving - Rachel Ormrod, Co-author of the excellent book, Beyond Childlessness

Venue: The Resource Centre, 356 Holloway Road, London N7 6PA

Time 1.30 - 5.30pm

Cost for MTL & I N UK Members £10; non-Members £15

I plan to attend.

Deadline for booking March workshop at discounted rate

Hi friends,

If you are thinking of coming to the March workshop, do book soon.

The discount for early booking runs out on Tuesday, Feb. 15th.


London Workshop March 2011

Healing–A Workshop for anyone facing fertility losses

This workshop is for anyone who has experienced infertility, failed fertility treatment, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, premature menopause, secondary infertility, stillbirth, neonatal death, sperm problems or unwanted childlessness–whatever the cause, including lack of a partner.
Many people find the workshop is an important turning point.

North Bank
28 Pages Lane
Muswell Hill, London
N10 1PP

Dates: March 25th, 26th, 27th 2011
Friday evening 7.00pm-9pm,

Sat and Sun, 10am-5pm.
Cost: £200
Early booking discount: £180 if booked by Feb. 15th

£350 for couples
(some bursaries for unwaged or low-income individuals)

Financial issues should never be the factor preventing anyone from taking part.

Women, men and couples are welcome. Partners are particularly encouraged to attend.

All sexual orientations welcome.

Men who find the courage to attend report great satisfaction from having done so.
(It is not unusual for male partners to be reluctant!)
Usually there are several women attending alone.

The outcome of this workshop varies, but most participants find it moves them forward.

  • Most do some necessary grieving and finish by feeling lighter & calmer.
  • Most gain valuable insight & have a change of perspective, especially after hearing others speak; most participants have more clarity about what to do next.
  • Important links are often forged that lead to ongoing supportive relationships of depth & value. Isolation is broken. This is cited as one of the most significant positive outcomes.
  • Occasionally groups decide to do further work together.
  • Those who attend with partners report a much improved sense of rapport and connection with the partner.

The longer term benefits take various forms:

  • Sometimes people come to terms with childlessness and decide to stop further treatment;
  • Sometimes individuals & couples decide to undertake treatment, but in a new spirit;
  • Sometimes the door opens to adoption, when it had seemed closed.

Some ‘ways in’ include: visualisation, art/drawing, movement, meditation and plain old sharing!
No previous experience is expected.

If you were terrible at art, it doesn’t matter!
Great care is taken to create a safe, compassionate and healing atmosphere.

FACILITATOR: Meredith Wheeler

Queries? Contact me.
To sign-up, use the registration form on this web site.

Meredith Wheeler
meredithwheeler1@gmail.com
Tel: (00 33) 563 59 11 32