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When Every Celebrity is Pregnant...and You're Not

How to cope when everyone else is more fertile than you are.

When Every Celebrity is Pregnant...and You're Not

Earlier this month, the media went into a frenzy with the “unconfirmed” pregnancy announcements of Kylie Jenner and Khloe Kardashian. These ladies now share the unplanned-mom-to-be-spotlight with Kim Kardashian, Julia Styles, and even, Mindy Kaling?

While these celebs await their bundles of joy, the public wastes no time analyzing, questioning, and examining these pregnancies. Listening to the media debate the responsibility of a pregnant 20-year-old deserves to be a parent is triggering a lot of emotions in the fertility community. If you’ve been unsuccessful in your efforts to conceive, this constant discussion can be a heartbreaking reminder of your own infertility. It pokes at painful wounds and, understandably, elicits strong feelings of anger, depression and resentment.

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These negative emotions are not helping your fertility, so here’s what you should do to restore your emotional equilibrium and maximize your coping capabilities.

1. Acknowledge and embrace your feelings. As a psychotherapist specializing in infertility, this is the first line of defense I always suggest. Before you can determine the most constructive emotional response, you need to have a clear understanding of what you are actually responding to. In the past few weeks, several patients talked to me about their feelings of resentment and rage around learning that Kylie Jenner, a person for whom they had little respect, was expecting. They believe that she wants a baby for attention, and that makes her unworthy of being a parent. Furthermore, since my patients put so much effort into trying to conceive, they should be pregnant because they deserve it more.

This cognitive distortion, known as the “Shoulds,” can make you feel guilty or like you have already failed. You have to listen to this word in your thinking, call yourself out on this biased thinking, and replace the thoughts with more constructive cognitions. Remind yourself that Jenner’s baby bump is not changing your pregnancy potential. You have to actively work to restore a more realistic perspective. By bolstering your defenses and catching your unhelpful thoughts, you can protect yourself against falling into this trap again.

2. Don't let it get to you. When you are trying to conceive, it can seem like everyone around you is pregnant. This phenomenon, known as the frequency illusion, is a powerful cognitive trick played by your subconscious. It causes you to pay selective attention to a particular concept, and heightens your focus when you are in contact with it. If it feels like you are seeing more pregnant women all around you, the fact is that you actually are noticing more pregnant women. This heightened awareness reinforced by the ongoing celebrity baby chatter in the media can make the most well-adjusted woman believe she is the only one not pregnant.

Now that you have an understanding that your psyche is playing an evil trick on you, you can begin to fight back. You can engage in reality testing techniques to see the situation for what it actually is. For example, ask yourself “is there another angle from which I can view this situation?” Or “am I dedicating too much emotional bandwidth to this issue?” Then use these answers to recognize themes and patterns in your thoughts, and refute any distortions.

3. Pull the Trigger. When it comes to feeling upset, frustrated or inferior, identifying your triggers can be a powerful tool to help you defend yourself. Knowing the people, places and things that will provoke uncomfortable responses can help you avoid the upsetting events until you build up your immunity towards them. For example, it feels like there is no escaping the public scrutiny over these celebrity pregnancies. This suffocating feeling may be heightened when you read the weekly tabloids or watch pretty much any show on E!. Herein lies the problem, what do you do when those activities that used to serve as the foundation for your self-care routine are actually the cause of your distress? In two short words: skip it.

There is no reason to masochistically expose yourself to distressing thoughts and images, so give yourself a break. Instead of picking up Star Magazine this week, opt for something more nurturing. Force yourself to create an inventory of pleasurable activities. Include everything from the basic mundane moments to the most magical activities you can imagine. Keep the list handy so you can easily reference it when you’re feeling vulnerable.

4. Laugh it off. Tuning out on Keeping Up with the Kardashians, doesn’t mean you have to cut the cord with your cable. Instead, invite a buddy over and dive deep into an all-night comedy binge (“Curb Your Enthusiasm” is back, and it’s as hilarious as ever). Research supports that laughing with a friend can enhance the richness of your social support connection. Deep belly laughs actually release opioid peptides, chemicals in the brain like endorphins, which contribute to our feelings of sustained happiness and greater pain tolerance.

Not only will you have more resilience to overcome adversity, but you may feel a deeper connection in your relationships. As you navigate your fertility challenges, you may find that a boosted friendship may provide a healthy distraction. It will give you a necessary reprieve from feeling consumed by your own fertility issues, and help revitalize your spirit.

Lindsay Liben, LCSW, has a private therapy practice near Union Square, focusing on women’s issues including depression, anxiety, and life transitions. She believes that by helping her patients get in touch with their most authentic selves, they can make choices that set them up for personal and professional success. Learn more about Lindsay and her work on her website.

This year many of us have a tighter budget than usual given (looks around) everything that has happened. Coupled with the uncertainty of what Halloween might look like, many of us are reluctant to spend money on brand new costumes that our kids will outgrow by next year. I get it. But I also know that many, like me, love Halloween so much. I thought about skipping the celebration this year, but that just feels like too big of a disappointment in an already disappointing year.

That's why I started looking into alternative costumes—something my kids will be able to wear once the clock hits November, and maybe even hand down to siblings and cousins in the coming years. At the same time, I'm not a DIY person, so I wanted outfits that didn't require any sewing or hot glue. Last year I attempted using one to build my son's Care Bear costume, and of course, I burnt my hand.

So with some creativity (and the brainpower of my colleagues), we came up with these costumes that are both fun and practical, made with items that your children will be able to (and want to!) wear year around:

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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My 3-year-old is eating peanut butter toast with banana for breakfast (his request), and we are officially running late for preschool. We need to get in the car soon if we want to miss the morning traffic, but he has decided that he no longer wants the food that he begged for two minutes earlier. What started off as a relatively calm breakfast has turned into a battle of wills.

"You're going to be hungry," I say, realizing immediately that he could care less. I can feel my frustration rising, and even though I'm trying to stay calm, I'm getting snappy and irritable. In hindsight, I can see so many opportunities that fell through the cracks to salvage this morning, but at the moment… there was nothing.

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