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Harm Reduction- Fertility Treatment - What Can You Shift? Blog Feature
Lisa Rosenthal

By: Lisa Rosenthal on March 22nd, 2013

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Harm Reduction- Fertility Treatment - What Can You Shift?

Infertility | Health | Fertility Treatment

Treating Infertility and Harm Reduction - What Habits Can You Change?

Dealing with Infertily & Breaking Bad Habits - Group Discussions


Infertility is a pain in the a**. Let's just agree that's true. It's not fun or what you would choose. We give up a lot when it comes to dealing with infertility. Intimacy, privacy, spontaneity and more. Below is a short list of what we talked about last night, that had to be given up for fertility treatment. 


No coffee. No cigarettes. No recreational drugs. No artificial sweeteners. Not too much sugar. Not over exercising. No sex for a while after a transfer. No gluten for some of us. No dairy for others. No white flour for most of us.


That's a lot of nots. A LOT. 


We know that those are all good things to give up. We all know that giving those things up wil make us healthier. We also know that most people, most women, don't have to give up those things to become pregnant. And it's frustrating. Because we give those things up and we add fertility treatment and it still doesn't work nearly as fast or as easily as we would like. At least most of the time.


Our Fertile Yoga Guilty Pleasures

Last night in Fertile Yoga, we made a list of treats. Delicious, wonderful, non-caloric treats. No guilt (not too much guilt) treats. 


Here are a few:

  • US magazine (you know who you are!)
  • Decaff coffee
  • TeenMom 2 television series (I am NOT making this up)
  • Television
  • Gum chewing
  • Reading of any kind
  • Yoga
  • Music
  • Bubble baths with candles
  • Hikes in the wood
  • Cuddling our animals
  • Declining invitations to plan baby showers


Giving Up Our Bad Habits for Harm Reduction


Then we talked about habits. Specifically "bad" habits. What we'd like to give up or change. A dear friend from long ago wrote about a program called harm reduction. It's an alternative to giving something up entirely or all at once. Harm reduction asks you to look at a behavior, see what's the most destructive and see how you can take it down a whole bunch of levels. (This is me, paraphrasing Harm Reduction. For specifics, if you are interested, please look here.)


What would that mean?


It might mean eating less chocolate, not giving it up entirely. Smoking less cigarattes or using a patch to quit. It might mean adding decaff coffee to regular coffee and switching over gradually. It might mean a hike in the woods instead of a half marathon.


Harm Reduction is a wonderful way of easing off things, if you can do it.


Last night, we all made an agreement of what we would change or shift for the week. We decided to reconvene next week and see how we did.


Except for me. I couldn't think of a bad habit that I wanted to shift or stop. I had no problem coming up with extra treats though, my heart and mind can think of endless treats. So I had some extra work to do last night and this morning. It came to me that one of my bad habits is procrastination or avoidance. Not a big surprise to those who know or live with me. So I found a committment to shift after all.


My committment for the next week, to talk about with the others, is to clean my house forty five minutes a day. Shifting away from avoiding cleaning all together or feeling and trying to do it all at once.


Harm reduction.


Time to clean house.


We've all made our commitments to shifting behavior for the next week.


Anyone want to join us?






About Lisa Rosenthal

Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.

Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.

Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.

Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.