We have all seen pictures on social media of happy parents, pregnancy announcements, maternity shoots, and newborn babies with their seemingly joyous families. And yet, no one seems to openly share the myriad of struggles that can accompany becoming pregnant or the complications that arise when pregnant, despite the fact that these difficulties are exceptionally common. Some individuals endure years of mental and physical agony going through invasive treatments trying to get pregnant, all the while questioning whether or not it will ever work. For others, pregnancy may come more easily, but the pregnancy doesn’t last or can be plagued with complications. Pregnancy loss (e.g., chemical pregnancies, early or late miscarriages, stillbirth) and genetic problems so often leave us with difficult decisions or an unexpected ending that we never imagined. And for many, the arduous struggle to get pregnant becomes even more complicated by problems that arise during pregnancy.
Our therapists use a variety of techniques and expertise in the field to provide an integrative and healing approach to help individuals and families struggling with infertility and difficulties surrounding pregnancy. We help navigate a process that is difficult emotionally and physically by providing support, education, and connection with top resources. We also use integrative therapy and hypnosis to help create positive visualization, promote relaxation, and address anxiety and fears.
Struggling with infertility can be lonely and difficult to describe to others due to the myriad emotions and anxiety that accompany the process of trying to get pregnant. For those struggling with infertility, the experience can be traumatic. You can spend years going from doctor to doctor, trying to understand what is ‘wrong.’ It takes a lot of time, energy, resources, and money - especially for a process that has an uncertain outcome. You may feel isolated - surrounded by others who seem to get pregnant easily - while you’re experiencing so much difficulty. You may want to be happy for family and friends, but the feelings of jealousy or resentment can keep you from feeling connected.
Dr. Sera Lavelle, Dr. Sara Glazer, and Dr. Meghan Downey provide supportive integrative therapy to individuals and couples struggling to get pregnant. They are experts in using hypnosis and therapy techniques to guide clients through the process, and they each have vast knowledge about infertility. Our therapists are able to help clients: connect to the top fertility specialists in the city, understand their medications, feel more confident in regards to advocating for themselves, and develop a plan that incorporates integrative and nontraditional medicine according to the clients' preferences.
Their form of therapy blends hypnosis and psychotherapy with clinical research. While hypnosis and therapy will not directly help a client get pregnant, it will aid in the process. Hypnosis can be used to alleviate the intense anxiety around fertility treatments, increase positive thinking, and relax thoughts related to self-doubt and self-blame. Integrative therapy addresses the struggles associated with infertility and fertility treatments — such as limited time, social isolation, and difficulties with romantic partners — that often arise during this time. By combining hypnosis and therapy, our therapists help clients move through this process with less anxiety, greater confidence, and better connection in their relationships.
Miscarriage, pregnancy loss, and pregnancy complications are extremely common, and yet, so many of us suffer in silence. It can be hard to explain to others why the experience is so painful. For many of us, we are attached on some level the moment we become pregnant. It can be joy or even mixed feelings when we find out, followed by extreme sadness and grief at the loss. Sometimes the loss is unexpected, while others are because of choices that are complicated and difficult to explain. For some people, the loss is early, leaving us mourning for the life that could have been, while worrying that something is wrong and that we will never have a child. For others, the loss is late and feels unbearably painful. In all cases, the feelings are often very complex, the reasons are often complicated, and this often leaves us feeling sad, alone, and anxious about our future.
Dr. Meghan Downey is an expert in pregnancy loss and complications that arise during pregnancy. She creates a warm, validating, authentic environment in which patients can compassionately explore their concerns, process the effects of the loss, and find ways to feel optimistic about their future. Her background includes her work as a Program Manager for Northwell Health, where her role as a leader enabled her to supervise other clinicians and provide community presentations on a variety of subjects, including mindfulness, grief, loss, and resiliency in motherhood.
Dr. Downey not only understands the emotional toll of miscarriage and pregnancy loss, but also has extensive knowledge about both pregnancy and pregnancy complications issues from a medical perspective. This knowledge can aid in helping a person understand these issues and how to navigate requesting more information from their healthcare providers. In many ways, this can help patients make sense of what happened and process it in a way that feels cautiously optimistic and less plagued by uncertainty.
Dr. Meghan Downey works collaboratively with her clients in a person-centered approach that incorporates hypnosis, mindfulness, and evidenced-based techniques to create meaningful change. Her areas of specialization include eating disorders, relationship challenges, anxiety, depression, trauma, and women’s health issues, such as prenatal and postpartum challenges. The blending of her specializations can be extremely impactful for supporting individuals struggling with pregnancy complications, as many of these issues either coincide or are exacerbated when also experiencing loss and complications. By incorporating hypnosis and mindfulness into her practice, Dr. Downey also aids in the healing process by helping individuals find peace after loss and envisioning a life that is both hopeful and gratifying by instilling a sense of resiliency.
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