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Infertility Retreat, To Give Pause, Or Just Take a Break Blog Feature
Lisa Rosenthal

By: Lisa Rosenthal on March 11th, 2014

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Infertility Retreat, To Give Pause, Or Just Take a Break

Support | Breath | Choice | Belief Systems | Cycles

Infertility Retreat - What Does It Really Mean?

cat and grumpy dog for infertility retreatI heard the phrase timely retreat recently. Yesterday in fact.


Me, I don’t love the word retreat. Especially as it is used in moving into introspective space, head clearing, heart open space.


Here are the synonyms and they tell the story about why retreat doesn’t appeal to me: move away, draw back, pull away, recoil, withdraw, leave.


Those synonyms are the reason that I don’t like retreat because they indicate a giving up, as opposed to regrouping or reconsidering.

Fertility Treatment Pause

With infertility, rest becomes imperative. Taking time off from fertility treatment is necessary, even when that may seem impossible. When rest is not taken, exhaustion takes over. Hysteria and obsession take over. Given that it’s impossible to make sane, reasoned decisions from a hysterical place, a pause to take a deep breath can make the difference between good choices and not so good choices.


I’m trying the word pause out instead. Synonyms are: hiatus, gap, silence, break in proceedings, awkward moment, recess (I really like that one) and suspension. Here are some words that I looked at to express the meaning I’m trying to convey: give pause, compose, reflect, reconsider, selah and even delay.


What I’m recommending is not a retreat, which is often thought of as backing away. I’m recommending to give pause. To stop and reconsider. To stop and breathe, which is not the same as hyperventilating.


When I stop and give pause, I find that I don’t feel less stuck, I am less stuck. Possibilities that I refused to consider on the basis of them being impossible, become possible, sometimes even attractive. My knee jerk reaction of no, with that delay, becomes a more thoughtful, “well, maybe”.


Focus On Fertility - Remembering We Have Choices


My focus on fertility, pregnancy, and babies was so specific and pointed that I rarely allowed the idea of other options in; I rarely gave pause on what an alternate outcome could look like. Giving pause, taking a break allowed me to make other changes in my life that made my life feel hospitable to other choices about fertility treatment. Breathing in off-cycle months allowed me to be more sane in fertility cycle months.


So maybe that’s what I’ve settled on instead of retreat; to give pause.


To breathe in and out. To reconsider while in a quiet, saner state of mind. To sidestep the hysteria that builds and breathe instead.


What I learned and relearn every day is that when I go into panic mode I forget that most decisions can wait a moment. Or two. Or ten. Or a month. That making a decision when I feel like I have no choice is no decision at all; it comes from feeling bullied, even if I’m the one doing the bullying.


We always have choices. Even if the choices are miserable and hard and not at all what we wanted. Still, we have choices. And taking a moment to pause allows us to consider our choices in a saner, more open way.


To give pause. Yep, I like it.


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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.