When Trying to Conceive Again Is Stressful


Published:

If you're among the roughly 3 million women of childbearing age estimated to be affected by secondary infertility (infertility following the birth of one or more children), you're no doubt exhausted by it all. From the blood tests and sonograms to the do-it-yourself hormone shots and strategically planned doctor's appointments to the actual procedures — whether it's as low-tech as intrauterine insemination or as advanced and invasive as in-vitro fertilization (IVF) — the world of infertility is an emotional and physical wild ride. And that's even before you've waited for and received that phone call telling you whether treatment was successful, or not (or simply gotten your period).

Besides the psychological and physical toll infertility treatments can take, appointments for blood tests, sonograms and related procedures can cumulatively consume hours, days and weeks of your life. But as all-consuming as it is, infertility treatment doesn't have to disrupt your entire life. Here are sanity-saving strategies for managing responsibilities during this particularly challenging time.

Seek support from others

With secondary infertility, you may be less inclined to confide in others about your situation than if you were trying to conceive for the first time. And for good reason. "Secondary people often don't get the understanding they need from coworkers, friends and relatives. The sense is, 'What are you complaining about? You already have a child,'" says Harriette Rovner-Ferguson, clinical social worker, co-author of Experiencing Infertility and a support group leader for RESOLVE, a national infertility organization. But as a result, you're apt to feel even more disenfranchised than those with primary infertility.

But getting others' understanding and empathy can be helpful, especially through a secondary infertility support group of those going through a similar experience. Studies show that the emotional support these groups provide may even improve pregnancy rates in infertile women. (To find a support group, preferably one that specializes in secondary infertility, visit www.resolve.org.) Online support communities and discussion boards such as www.fertilethoughts.com are available, too.

You may wish to seek individual psychological counseling, especially if you're depressed because of your infertility or if it's creating marital conflicts and other deeply personal problems a support group can't really address, says Linda D. Applegarth, director of psychological services at the Center for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility in New York City.

Choose a doctor with job-friendly office hours

If you travel for business, it's tough. Your whole month can be ruined if you're away when you need to be at the doctor's office for baseline hormone tests and other procedures, such as ultrasound exams to monitor ovarian follicle development—not to mention the actual infertility procedure, all of which track with your menstrual cycle. In which case, the best you can do is to coordinate your business travel schedule with your cycle, if possible. Otherwise, try to seek an infertility specialist with office hours before or after the traditional workday.

Confide in colleagues, selectively

At work, keeping your infertility a secret can jeopardize your career. For example, unexplained frequent absence can make your boss think you're out job hunting. But the other extreme — using your boss and colleagues as a sounding board — can also backfire.

Besides risking not getting the empathy you need, "coworkers can grow weary of hearing about your treatment and become resentful of the fact you're out so much," says career coach Laura Berman Fortgang, president of InterCoach Inc. and author of Living Your Best Life.

Or your coworkers may start tracking your treatment cycle and know exactly when you should be pregnant, which can feel eerily invasive, especially when treatment isn't successful.

Your best bet: Don't give your coworkers the play-by-play, but do brief your supervisor on why you'll need to be out the office frequently (unless, of course, your medical appointments don't interfere with your workday). If they do bleed into company time, emphasize that you'll stay late, work through your lunch hour or take work home, if necessary, to get your job done.

If you aren't comfortable mentioning your treatments to your supervisor, you don't need to disclose even that much. "To legitimize your absences, you can justsay, 'I'm having female troubles.' That catch phrase buys you a lot of privacy," says Mary Casey Jacob, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. She suggests then saying something like, "It requires treatment and it's hard to predict because it's based on my menstrual cycle. I'm going to have to pop in and out of the doctor's office for a while and I'll do my best to keep you informed. How can we work this out?"

Know your baby limits

When undergoing infertility treatments, you're sensitive to anything about babies. "Seeing pregnant women or babies, or holding babies, can make me depressed," admits Donna Williamson, 33, a legal administrative assistant who underwent treatment to conceive a child with her second husband. (Williamson has two daughters from her first marriage.) "And going into the baby department is a big no-no," she says.

Whether or not to attend baby showers may depend on what's best for you that day, Rovner-Ferguson says. The same applies to visiting friends and relatives with babies and anything else in your life in which babies are involved.

You can't just blow off important events, however, or you risk harming relationships, says psychologist Casey Jacob. "If it's somebody you want to maintain a good relationship with, you either need to just pop into the shower briefly or privately take her a gift and say congratulations," she says.

Polish your comeback

Throughout the infertility process, you're bound to get your share of intrusive, albeit innocent, questions and comments, such as "Do you want more children? Are you trying?" Even, "You should just be happy with one (or the number of children you already have)." To keep from losing your cool, develop an arsenal of short answers that curtail the topic.

When are you going to have another child? "Well, gosh, I wish I knew" or "Still practicing." Do you want more children? A simple, "Yes, we do," is sufficient.

Keep a journal

Throughout your infertility treatments, keeping a journal (either daily or weekly) can help vent any negative feelings that can cast a shadow on your life. To keep it in perspective, also write down at least three things you're grateful for at the end of each journal entry, such as the wonderful events and milestones occurring in your children's lives. Otherwise, they're easy to overlook because you're so involved in your infertility treatments.

Give back to your body

Because infertility treatments can be so physically and emotionally demanding, it's important to pamper yourself throughout the process. Manicures, facials or pedicures and/or stress management techniques, such as meditation, exercise and yoga, can also give you a much-needed emotional boost.

"When I was going through in-vitro, I had to give myself injections of progesterone, which made my muscles sore. So I gave myself permission to get massages during that part of the in-vitro cycle. Even though it felt extravagant, the massages really helped my muscles," says Shelli Fidell, a psychologist in private practice who specializes in helping women deal with infertility and other pregnancy-related issues. "The fact that I was taking care of myself helped me get through it."

Sandra Gordon is a mother of two and the author of Consumer Reports Best Baby Products.

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Cost: 20

Where:
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5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
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Cost: Free

Where:
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5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
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Sponsor: USNWC
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More information

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Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
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Sponsor: LetsRoam!
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Cost: Ticket prices start at $15

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Cost: $11

Where:
Downtown
500 S Salisbury St
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Sponsor: Let's Roam
Telephone: 833-202-7626
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Website »

More information

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Cost: Varies depending on camp week

Where:
JC Raulston Arboretum
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View map »


Sponsor: JC Raulston Arboretum
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More information

Kindermusik is a research-based early childhood curriculum that includes 45-minute classroom lessons with materials and resources that encourages parental involvement . Research has linked...

Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
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Telephone: 191-990-25432
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Cost: 20

Where:
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Cost: Free

Where:
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5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
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View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
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Website »

More information

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Cost: See website for fees

Where:
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Cost: Varies depending on camp week

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500 S Salisbury St
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Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
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View map »


Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
Website »

More information

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Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
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View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
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View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
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More information

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Cost: 20

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Cost: $225

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Apex, NC  27539
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Sponsor: Beyond Personal Finance
Contact Name: Charla McKinley
Website »

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Azevedo Family Psychology and Kym Azevedo will host an Art for Life group each Thursday from 5:30-6:30PM beginning January 16 and running through March 26. This group is completely free, kid...

Cost: FREE

Where:
1903 N. Harrison Ave
Suite 201
Cary, NC  27513
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Sponsor: Azevedo Family Psychology
Telephone: 919-624-9568
Contact Name: Kym Azevedo
Website »

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Explore astronomy, biology, architectural and engineering principles, technology and so much more through our hands-on, play-based activities. Spend an evening with your preschooler, experiencing...

Cost: free

Where:
Saint Raphael Preschool
5801 Falls of Neuse Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Sponsor: Saint Rapahel Preschool
Telephone: 919-865-5725
Contact Name: Katie Mistele
Website »

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The goal of the How To Talk So Kids Will Listen Group workshop is to help you communicate more effectively with children.   In each session of the workshop you'll be introduced to an...

Cost: $12.95 materials fee

Where:
Wildflower School at Belle Vie Farm
3100 Damascus Church Road
Chapel Hill, NC  27516
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Sponsor: Wildflower School at Belle Vie Farm
Telephone: 919-260-6859
Contact Name: Shelley Welch
Website »

More information

Hounded by Death, the character of Everybody desperately seeks out everyone and everything they know in hope of finding something meaningful to take to the grave. These 90 minutes of theatrical...

Cost: Ticket prices start at $15

Where:
PlayMakers' Repertory Company
120 Country Club Rd
Chapel Hill, NC  27599
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Telephone: 919-962-7529

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Forget tourist-filled museums, make your own memories with a photo scavenger hunt tour in Raleigh! On a Let’s Roam scavenger hunt, you and your team will work together to wander throughout...

Cost: $11

Where:
500 S Salisbury St
raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: Let's Roam
Website »

More information

Amongst the ancient oak trees is the heart of Raleigh. We'll help you see the forest for the trees and all its magic splendor. Tourist, local, or new to town, this is a lively small group activity...

Cost: $11

Where:
Downtown
500 S Salisbury St
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: Let's Roam
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: Kelly
Website »

More information

Summer Garden Camps at the JCRA invite your child to investigate nature during half or full day camps.  Campers tend to the garden, harvest vegetables, catch insects, and create crafts from the...

Cost: Varies depending on camp week

Where:
JC Raulston Arboretum
4415 Beryl Rd
Raleigh, NC  27606
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Sponsor: JC Raulston Arboretum
Telephone: (919) 513-7011
Contact Name: Elizabeth Overcash
Website »

More information

Kindermusik is a research-based early childhood curriculum that includes 45-minute classroom lessons with materials and resources that encourages parental involvement . Research has linked...

Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
Hope Community Building, Fuquay Varina Room
Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
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Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
Website »

More information

Skate on an ice trail or free skate on 17,000 sq. ft of ice. Located in the Upper Pond of the Whitewater Center, the skating environment features three distinct programming areas and an on-ice...

Cost: 20

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
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Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

Lights is a half-mile walking trail that leads viewers through a series of immersive light installations featuring  honeycombs, vines, crystals, and other natural features integrated into the...

Cost: Free

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
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Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

Join us for Family Trivia Night!  Test your knowledge of pop culture, books, music and more. Pizza and drinks provided.  Call or stop by to register: 919-245-2532. Best for kids ages 8 and up...

Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Main Library
137 W Margaret Ln
Hillsborough, NC  27278
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Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
Website »

More information

Art Walk featuring local galleries and artist studios in historic downtown Hillsborough on the Last Friday of every month (no Art Walk in December).

Cost: FREE

Where:
Downtown Hillsborough (multiple locations)
102 N. Churton St.
Hillsborough, NC  27278
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Sponsor: Hillsborough Arts Council
Telephone: 919-643-2500
Contact Name: Torey Mishoe
Website »

More information

Kids! Are you sick of the Winter? Enjoy a Summer's night at Peach Road Center. Enjoy a Summer-like evening with us. Get into the luau spirit and play summer games!  

Cost: Free

Where:
Peach Road Community Center
911 Ileagnes Rd
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Sponsor: City or Raleigh Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-807-8545
Contact Name: Christy Famolare

More information

Hounded by Death, the character of Everybody desperately seeks out everyone and everything they know in hope of finding something meaningful to take to the grave. These 90 minutes of theatrical...

Cost: Ticket prices start at $15

Where:
PlayMakers' Repertory Company
120 Country Club Rd
Chapel Hill, NC  27599
View map »


Telephone: 919-962-7529

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Forget tourist-filled museums, make your own memories with a photo scavenger hunt tour in Raleigh! On a Let’s Roam scavenger hunt, you and your team will work together to wander throughout...

Cost: $11

Where:
500 S Salisbury St
raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Website »

More information

Join our bird enthusiast, Vernon, for an easy walk while looking and listening for our feathered friends. Discover different types of birds and their habitats.​ No preregistration required. Meet...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

More information

How did people predict the weather before The Weather Channel, and can animals really help? Come to the Finley Center to put our colonial weather proverbs to the test and make a pop-up woodchuck...

Cost: For all ages; FREE. Registration is not required

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Amongst the ancient oak trees is the heart of Raleigh. We'll help you see the forest for the trees and all its magic splendor. Tourist, local, or new to town, this is a lively small group activity...

Cost: $11

Where:
Downtown
500 S Salisbury St
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: Kelly
Website »

More information

Summer Garden Camps at the JCRA invite your child to investigate nature during half or full day camps.  Campers tend to the garden, harvest vegetables, catch insects, and create crafts from the...

Cost: Varies depending on camp week

Where:
JC Raulston Arboretum
4415 Beryl Rd
Raleigh, NC  27606
View map »


Sponsor: JC Raulston Arboretum
Telephone: (919) 513-7011
Contact Name: Elizabeth Overcash
Website »

More information

Kindermusik is a research-based early childhood curriculum that includes 45-minute classroom lessons with materials and resources that encourages parental involvement . Research has linked...

Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
Hope Community Building, Fuquay Varina Room
Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
Website »

More information

Join us to meet the educators, see the farm and learn more about our Preschool for 3-5 year olds and Camps for 4-10 year olds. We'll have a campfire for some warmth but please come dressed for the...

Cost: 0

Where:
Longleaf Forest School
4826 Mt. Moriah Road
Durhan, NC  27707
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Sponsor: Longleaf Forest School
Contact Name: Tara Lawson
Website »

More information

Chinese New Year Festival, also Lunar New Year Festival. Largest public event in the Triangle. MAIN STAGE has vocal and orchestral music, folk dance, Lion and Dragon dances, martial arts, and comic...

Cost: $10 entry at door, military and senior discounts, kids<6 free

Where:
Dorton Arena, NC State Fairgrounds
1025 Blue Ridge Road
Enter Gate 1,2,4,5,11
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Sponsor: NC Triangle Area Chinese American Society
Contact Name: Michael, Shin
Website »

More information

Chinese New Year Festival or Lunar New Year Festival, largest public event in the Triangle. MAIN STAGE with musical and dance performances, Lion Dance Dragon Dance, martial arts, comic skits emceed...

Cost: $10 entry at door, military and senior discounts, kids<6 free

Where:
Dorton Arena, NC State Fairgrounds
1025 Blue Ridge Road
Enter Gate 1,2,4,5,11
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Sponsor: NC Triangle Area Chinese American Society
Contact Name: Michael, Shin
Website »

More information

Skate on an ice trail or free skate on 17,000 sq. ft of ice. Located in the Upper Pond of the Whitewater Center, the skating environment features three distinct programming areas and an on-ice...

Cost: 20

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

Lights is a half-mile walking trail that leads viewers through a series of immersive light installations featuring  honeycombs, vines, crystals, and other natural features integrated into the...

Cost: Free

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

Spanish Alive is providing Family Spanish classes starting in January! Join us to learn Spanish as an entire family in an immersive, fun environment. Our teachers are trained Spanish educators and...

Cost: $75-$216

Where:
Spanish Alive
156 E. Chatham St
Cary, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Did you know that Disney, Netflix, Google and NASA, just to name a few, are all using Python? Python can be used for creating web applications, automation, programming robots and artificial...

Cost: Free: registration required

Where:
, NC


Website »

More information

FEB. 1, 2020 | 1 – 4 P.M. | BLUE JAY POINT COUNTY PARK Spend a winter afternoon getting to know Blue Jay Point County Park at our Winter Open House. Whether you’re a regular visitor or have...

Cost: Free

Where:
Blue Jay Point County Park
3200 Pleasant Union Church Road
Raleigh, NC  27614
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Telephone: 919-870-4330
Website »

More information

Hounded by Death, the character of Everybody desperately seeks out everyone and everything they know in hope of finding something meaningful to take to the grave. These 90 minutes of theatrical...

Cost: Ticket prices start at $15

Where:
PlayMakers' Repertory Company
120 Country Club Rd
Chapel Hill, NC  27599
View map »


Telephone: 919-962-7529

More information

Come on out to support the NC State Gymnastics team as they take on North Carolina in a RED out on February 1st! The first 300 fans in attendance will receive an exclusive red NC State Gymnastics...

Cost: $3-$7

Where:
Reynolds Collisuem
2411 Dunn Ave.
Raleigh , NC  27607
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More information

Come on out to support the NC State Gymnastics team as they take on North Carolina in a RED out on February 1st! The first 300 fans in attendance will receive an exclusive red NC State Gymnastics...

Cost: $3-$7

Where:
Reynolds Collisuem
2411 Dunn Ave.
Raleigh , NC  27607
View map »

More information

Hounded by Death, the character of Everybody desperately seeks out everyone and everything they know in hope of finding something meaningful to take to the grave. These 90 minutes of theatrical...

Cost: Ticket prices start at $15

Where:
PlayMakers' Repertory Company
120 Country Club Rd
Chapel Hill, NC  27599
View map »


Telephone: 919-962-7529

More information

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Annual Guides

Education Guide

The 2019-20 Education Guide offers 718 education resources in the Triangle, including area preschools, private schools, public school systems, charter schools, boarding schools and academic resources.

The Triangle Go-To Guide

Our Triangle Go-To Guide connects you to family fun resources across the Triangle. In our 2019-20 issue, explore 1,028 resources for family fun.