New Year's Resolutions - Fertility Treatment and Marathons, Inspired By Dr. Mark Leondires
New Year's Resolutions
Today is the day for intentions. And declarations. New Year's Resolutions.
We make huge statements on what we will do for the entire year.
Usually they have to do with things that we can barely do one day at a time or even, sometimes, one meal or hour at a time. Usually our intentions are about habits that we desperately want to change or think we should change or things we wish were different and that we would change if we could.
The crazy thing is that we think if we say it, especially out loud to enough people, that our declaration alone will be enough to change things. As if simply saying it will make it come true. The gyms are packed in January with people who have made New Year’s resolutions. They are crowded in February. They are back to normal in March with the people who make a commitment to exercise every day, not for an entire year.
One thing I know about infertility and fertility treatment is that if being determined and focused were enough, board certified reproductive endocrinologists would be out of work.
Fertility Treatment is a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Mark Leondires, Medical Director of Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT), talks about fertility treatment being a marathon, not a sprint. Luckily, that turns out not to be true, very often. At least in as much that so often, one can and does get pregnant on the first fertility treatment cycle. What he is referring to, of course, is that so often men and women are trying for quite some time before they ever walk into his office. Hence, marathon, not sprint. If you have been trying on your own for any amount of time, then you are already exhausted by the time you walk into his office. Maybe you feel like you’ve already run several races, as hard and fast as you possibly can.
The thing about a marathon is that just like a sprint, you have to do it one step at a time. In a sprint, you are moving much faster, usually with more effort. In a marathon, you know you will be out there for several hours, just for the race itself. There is no expectation that in fifteen or thirty minutes you will be finished. The training is a whole other issue though.
If I look at a new year’s resolution as a marathon, in that I would like to accomplish my goal for one solid year (secretly hoping of course that I will have retrained myself not to do, or to do, something astonishing) and allow that each day I am in training, somehow that feels manageable. At least to me. Each day, I have to achieve my goal. Not for an entire year. Just for that one single day. That breaks my goal into the steps I would have to take to run that marathon. That gives the training needed.
I can’t run a marathon tomorrow. But I do know that if I run today, let’s say three tenths of a mile on my five mile walk, that I’ve started my marathon. Because then tomorrow I could run a half of a mile. And Friday, perhaps a bit more. And on Saturday, I might not run at all, because that’s how training works. I know that with training, I could run a marathon in about five months. Barring injury, and not very fast, I could run a marathon in May or June.
With Life, As With Fertility: the Smallest Pieces First
And I know something else too. I will not be able to run a marathon without taking that smallest piece first. Three tents of a mile is about the distance between two telephone poles. Doesn’t look a bit like the 26.2 miles that a marathon is, all big and glorious. In fact, three tenths of a mile looks a bit silly maybe. Still and all, it’s where I would need to start. And without starting, there would be no marathon ever.
I like Dr. Leondires’ analogy with the marathon. It allows us to break things down into smaller pieces, knowing that is how it has to work.
First step on your marathon to become pregnant - Ask yourself these questions: have you been trying for more than one year to become pregnant and you’re under the age or 35? Or six months of trying over the age of 35?
Next - Understand that if you have been trying to become pregnant and have so far been unable to that there is help out there so that you can have the family you are dreaming of.
Finally – make an appointment! You do not have to do this alone. In fact, you may be unable to do this alone. So far, it has not worked. Get some help. See a board certified reproductive endocrinologist who specializes in helping conception along. Take the time and effort to succeed by having professionals guiding and supporting you each step of the way.
New Year’s resolutions are a great idea. They are a great way to reflect your desires and dreams and announce them to the universe.
Then do the footwork, so to speak. Do those New Year resolutions, one piece at a time, each day.
We are here to help. Please let 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.