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Infertility Empathy for Fertile Yoga Students – Not Sympathy Blog Feature
Lisa Rosenthal

By: Lisa Rosenthal on August 25th, 2015

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Infertility Empathy for Fertile Yoga Students – Not Sympathy

Infertility | Support | Yoga

infertility-support-fertile-yogaI’m ready for a full week of teaching and being in Fertile Yoga after two weeks of being away.

These are the classes that I miss most when I travel. You are the people I most miss seeing.

Despite having not been in fertility treatment for a very long time, you are the people I feel connected to, the people who I know understand. The people who I understand.

I have sympathy, tons of it, for people who are facing cancer, who manage painful treatments, who suffer loss of capability. Likewise with many other diseases that cause heartaches and heartbreaks. Tons of sympathy, high as the tallest mountains is extended to my friends, family members and colleagues who fight other diseases and illnesses.

Empathy vs. Sympathy

Sympathy is defined as “Acknowledging another person's emotional hardships and providing comfort and assurance.”

For my Fertile Yoga students though, it’s all about empathy. As defined, “Understanding what others are feeling because you have experienced it yourself or can put yourself in their shoes.”

I get what it feels like to be in your shoes. I wore those shoes for a long time. I know how uncomfortable they feel. How they squeezed my toes and bit into my heels. How the blisters they caused made it painful to walk, even short distances.  How carefully I stepped not to create more pain and injury. How bloody my feet got when I pushed too hard with no rest.

I get it all too well.

I get what it feels like to be the one who doesn’t have what everyone else has. I get what it feels to want. To be consumed by wanting.

That’s not sympathy. That’s empathy.

I feel it when I spend time with you. It is apparent on your faces, brave as you are. Your bodies show me where you are holding your stress, sadness and pain. Your breath expresses the effort you are using to hold yourself together in shortened exhales and inhales.

You are the people whose pain, shining through your eyes, I understand.

You are the people I feel responsible to hold and support.

Find Infertility Support At Fertile Yoga


If you have never attended Fertile Yoga, I would love to meet you. If you have been feeling like you have been holding the world at arm’s length because of infertility, please come join us.

It is frightening to think that you may be the one who never becomes pregnant, who never becomes a mommy or daddy. It’s hard to acknowledge that out loud, even to those closest to us. It is just too scary.

Yet it is what most of us are afraid of. And we sit in that fear, by ourselves.

That is the unnecessary part.

Come join us. For Fertile Yoga. For Ladies Night In. For a special RMACT seminar/event.

You don’t have to do this alone. We are here to help.

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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.