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Counseling/Stress effecting my chances to start a family


I need some tip on how to better deal with stress in my life right now. I'm 26 and have been married to my best friend and soul mate for almost 2 years. We've been trying for our first child for around the same amount of time we've been married and are now under going fertility treatment. In its self has been very difficult just because I so dearly want a child. but Iím also working full time in a job I donít enjoy, school part time to get my diploma in HR, dealing with drama with my so called best friend and supporting (mentally) both my parents in there separation. All this I believe is affecting my chance to conceive a child. I have though of putting the child on the back burner for awhile, but since fertility doctors are hard to get into and we luckily got in faster than we though. I really donít want to push it aside in fear that if we do need them it will take longer. Not only that my husband it so wonderful that I really want to start a family with him, the though of a child that is part him and part myself warms my heart. I seems like the only going well in my life right now is my marriage and my husband has been a huge support.  What does a person do in this kind of situation? I've stopped talking to my friend and Iíve stepped back from my parents, Iím not giving up my education and I still need to work.. It just doesnít feel like enough. Iíve tried to focus on my weight loss and our up coming vacation in May to celebrate our 2 years together and that seems to be helping a little but I donít know if itís enough. As well Iíve stopped worry about getting pregnant and have accept that itís going to take awhile and to enjoy the way we are now. Any advice will be a great help!

Thank you

Hi Stacy - Your plate sounds very full. It seems you're already doing what you can to balance many important things in your current life. As you know, some are more urgent than others.

"Stress" is a combination of anxiety, confusion, frustration, hurt, impatience, and sometimes guilt and/or shame. To reduce stress, try to identify which of these emotions you're feeling and - specifically - why. Then look at each cause, and decide what you need - specifically - to reduce that emotion. You'll probably see that some issues you can make a difference in, and others you cant [are beyond your control].

Affirm your personal rights, and let go of the problems you cant control [like other peoples' attitudes and behaviors]. Give yourself permission to do only what you're capable of now. Then rank-order the problems you CAN effect. For each such problem, ask "Do I have to act NOW, or can I delay acting?" See these:  

If you're feeling significant guilt over something [e.g. supporting your parents], see if these options help:

If part of your stress is from relationship, review these ideas:

Exercise, sleep, breathing exercises, meditation, and diet can all help regulate "stress."

If you have questions about any of these resources Stacy, please ask. Good luck to you both!

- Pete


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Peter Gerlach, MSW


I can answer questions about mood disorders, depression, suicide, relationships, communication skills, problem solving, clear thinking, bonding disorders, trauma recovery, addiction management, grieving, shame, guilt, fear, reality distortion, and trust disorders; courtship, family functioning, "problem kids," mediation, (re)marriage, divorce, stepfamilies, stepparenting, boundaries, self-neglect, abuse, parental neglect, personality subselves, ("parts work"). I cannot answer legal or medical questions.


I maintained a private therapy practice near Chicago for 27 years, and have worked with over 1,000 men, women, couples, and families on a wide range of personal and family problems. I have been in personal recovery from growing up in an alcoholic family since 1986, and have worked with five therapists to heal my own psychological wounds. I maintained a "warm (phone) line" for callers on the topics above for 20 years, and have taught over 200 seminars and classes in midwestern universities, churches, support groups, and schools since 1981. I have practiced internal-family therapy ("parts work") with trauma-recoverers since 1991.

National Stepfamily Resource Center (NSRC) Experts Council; Compassion and Choices, and Final Exit Network

# Several hundred articles in my non-profit "Break the Cycle!" Web site at These articles are augmented by over 150 educational YouTube videos .

# six books on childhood-trauma recovery, effective communication, and stepfamily courtship, coparenting, and management.

A bachelors degree in mechanical engineering (BSME, 1959) from Stanford University, a Masters degree in clinical Social Work, (MSW, 1981), and over 500 hours of post-grad training in the topics above - including clinical hypnosis, spirituality, codependence, addicrtion-management, and guided imagery. My post-grad traning includes two 9-month internships on doing internal-family therapy at the University of Illinois.

Awards and Honors
Hundreds of grateful emails and comments from students and clients all over the world.

Past/Present Clients
Over 1,000 average Midwestern-US women, men, couples, and families. A physical disability limits me to doing telephone and Skype counseling now.

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