Dr. Simmons Chats About Getting Through the Holidays at Resolve Meeting Tonight at 7 PM

Come meet and make community with others struggling with infertility or pregnancy loss at Resolve’s free monthly meeting TONIGHT, 12/16 at 7 pm.  Topic?  Getting through the holidays.  The meeting will be held at Ridgedale Library, 12601 Ridgedale Dr, Minnetonka, MN.    If you haven’t seen my article on getting through the holidays, “It’s the Holidays…Again (and You’re Still Struggling with Infertility or Pregnancy Loss)”, here it is again.  Your comments are always welcome.

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New Study Finds That Pregnant Women Prefer Therapy to Antidepressants

From today’s Science Daily, a new preliminary study in the November Journal of Psychiatric Practice by Cynthia L. Battle, PhD has found that pregnant women prefer therapy to antidepressant medication during pregnancy. That sure makes good sense to me. I see many pregnant women with perinatal mood issues (depression and anxiety) who prefer therapy to medications. “Do the work to feel better!” I always say. After delivery, there are some different concerns for mother and baby where medication may be very useful. It’s great for women to know that there are options including psychotherapy, yoga, exercise, light therapy, and couples therapy.

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Face2Face Pregnancy Loss Group Meets at Partners in Healing of Minneapolis

Face2Face, the Twin Cities chapter of Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope, will start meeting at Partners in Healing of Minneapolis on December 17th at 6:30 pm. Meetings will be held on the third Tuesday of every month! Please join the kick off meeting at the new location on Tuesday, December 17th at 6:30 PM.

Partners in Healing of Minneapolis
10505 Wayzata Boulevard, #200 (2nd floor)
Minnetonka, MN 55305

**Enter the building on the west side across from Voyager Bank.

Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope and it’s Twin Cities chapter, Face2Face, is a support group for those who have suffered stillbirth, miscarriage, or infant loss.  All are welcome.

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This Year, Make Mother’s Day Your Own

I wrote this article for the Resolve national newsletter, For the Journey and Beyond  (Spring 2013 issue.)  Please share it with others so that Mother’s Day can be different this year.



Advertisers sell Mother’s Day as a day filled with family celebrations. For many who are undergoing fertility treatment and family building, this manufactured holiday can generate anxiety, dread, and anger. You want to be one of the people being celebrated, but you are not there yet.

This year, you can decide what you want to do about those ads and others’ requests that you “happy up” for Mother’s Day. Let this day become your own personal Empowerment Day. You may not feel that you have many choices about fertility treatment, but you absolutely do have choices about how you approach Mother’s Day.

Rather than a day of “Why?” let this become a day of “How?” Ask yourself:

“How am I doing on my journey to parenting?”
“How do I need to change my perspective or treatment protocol?”
“How would I LIKE to spend the day?”

Let this be a decision day about where you are in your life, not just in your attempts to conceive. Let this be a day that is all about you. Embrace self-care as part of your quest to be a mother.

Did you know that you do not have to attend celebrations, even though you have been asked or even if someone demanded you attend? What would you like to do? Being honest does not make you Debbie Downer. It makes you human, and real, and a person. Here’s a truth—someone else may not like you making a different kind of decision, but you will do better. You have absolute permission to stay in bed the entire day, to cry, and to breathe.

But there are other options. You might do something you enjoy by yourself or with your partner. Commit to changing your diet to better support your health and well-being, not just your fertility. Let this be a day when you have that glass of wine or big cup of coffee that you avoid while you are doing fertility treatment. Commit on that day to living in the most authentic, empowered way you can. Remind yourself that you are a person on this earth and you matter. You deserve love and compassion 365 days of the year.

Here’s another thought that might be surprising. Mother’s Day is just a Sunday, as there are 51 others throughout the year. God will support you if you choose not to attend a church service that day where the sanctuary is overflowing with children. You, yes you, get to choose on Empowerment Day.

In advance, commit to talking with your clergy person about how he or she can recognize the struggle of parents-to-be. He or she may have no idea how difficult it is for you on a daily basis, but especially during holidays that promote and celebrate families. What if we all suggested that clergy set aside for a day of prayer for those who are struggling to bring their dreams of parenting to reality?

You can also choose to engage in celebration of your own mother. This year, find a way to do so that fits with your love for her and for yourself. In whatever ways you choose to spend that day, empower yourself to be the beautiful person you were before your fertility journey began and the person you will be after your fertility challenges are resolved.

Deborah S. Simmons, PhD, LMFT is co-owner of Partners in Healing of Minneapolis.  Dr. Simmons has been a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine for 15 years and has counseled many individuals and couples during the journey to parenting.

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After Bariatric Surgery, Wait at Least 12 Months to Conceive

As more and more women seek out bariatric surgery, questions of safety and pregnancy follow. An article in today’s Science Daily recommends waiting for at least 12 months after bariatric surgery before trying to conceive. Preparation makes for a healthier experience.

Women Should Wait at Least 12 Months Before Trying for a Baby Following Weight Loss Surgery, Experts Say

Science Daily (Jan. 10, 2013) — Women should wait at least 12 months before trying for a baby following weight loss surgery and need further advice and information on reproductive issues, suggests a new evidence-based literature review published January 11 in The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist (TOG).

The review looks at the safety, advantages and limitations of bariatric surgery and multidisciplinary management of patients before, during and after pregnancy.

With the prevalence of obesity among women of reproductive age expected to rise from 24.2% in 2005 to 28.3% in 2015, the number of women undergoing bariatric surgery is increasing.
Obesity increases the risk of obstetric complications, however, pregnancy after bariatric surgery is safer than pregnancy in morbidly obese women, states the review. A previous study following pregnancies after weight loss surgery concluded that pregnancy is safe with 79.2% of participants having no complications during their pregnancy.

However, there can be surgical complications during pregnancy following bariatric surgery. A previous study found that band slippage and migration can occur, resulting in severe vomiting, and band leakage was reported in 24% of pregnancies.

Furthermore, based on the current evidence available, the authors of the review recommend that patients should not get pregnant for at least 12 months following bariatric surgery. One study found a higher spontaneous miscarriage rate among pregnancies occurring within 18 months of having weight loss surgery compared with those pregnancies occurring more than 18 months after surgery (31% versus 18%).

The review also recommends that women should receive advice and information pre-conception on topics such as contraception, nutrition and weight gain and vitamin supplementation.

Optimising success for a healthy maternal and neonatal outcome requires a multidisciplinary team including obstetricians, surgeons, primary care clinicians, anaesthetists, fertility specialists, nutritionists, psychologists and plastic surgeons as well as patients themselves, before, during and after pregnancy following weight loss surgery, concludes the review.

Rahat Khan, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust, Harlow and co- author of the review said: “An increasing number of women of child-bearing age are undergoing bariatric surgery procedures and need information and guidance regarding reproductive issues. In light of current evidence available, pregnancy after bariatric surgery is safer, with fewer complications, than pregnancy in morbidly obese women. Multidisciplinary input care is the key to a healthy pregnancy for women who have undergone bariatric surgery. However, this group of women should still be considered high risk by both obstetricians and surgeons.

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COVID-19 Notice

Due to concerns related to COVID-19 we will be
doing online therapy exclusively until conditions improve.