Path To Fertility Blogger Lisa Rosenthal  

Lisa Rosenthal has over twenty-five years of experience in the fertility field, including her current roles as Coordinator of Professional and Patient Communications for RMACT and teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a class designed to support, comfort and enhance men and women's sense of self. Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association, where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director

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Infertility, Eyore and Pooh

  When I first started trying to conceive, I imagined every month that I was pregnant. I assumed that I probably was and started to feel pregnancy symptoms. My breasts were more tender, I was slightly nauseous, less PMS symptoms, I felt or imagined that I felt them all. Every month, I figured out my due date, whose birthday the baby's would be near, what seasons I would be pregnant through. My periods were irregular, adding and enhancing the idea that maybe it was this month that I was pregnant.

Sounds incredibly naïve now, doesn't it? Naïve and slightly dumb, even. Remember though, it was 18 years ago that I discovered each month that I was wrong. Infertility wasn't discussed the same way that it is now, not on TV, not in the magazines, not on radio shows. Also, the field of reproductive endocrinology was so much newer and so much less effective. (The pregnancy rates for IVF were so much lower!)

After going through a year of ups and downs, hoping and feeling pregnant, getting my period and realizing that again, I was not, I started to look around. Luckily, for me, unluckily for her, my best friend was experiencing similar problems with conceiving. By the time that I went to an appointment with a fertility specialist, she had gone through a year or more of fertility treatment and was pregnant with her first son. It was a tremendous help to have a friend who knew the language, had experienced the feelings, taken the medications. Easy to speak with her, comforting to hear what she had to say because I knew she had experienced it herself.

I don't remember at what point I stopped assuming or feeling pregnant every month. I do know that there came a time where I knew, every month that I was not pregnant. I do know that there came a time that I knew I would never become pregnant and have a baby. I do know that shift, which felt equally as real to me, was like a storm cloud over my head. I picture Eyore, walking around with the cloud over his head, moving when he moves, pausing or stopping when he does. Head drooping, big sad eyes, tail down, assuming that nothing would ever be right, good, bright or happy again.

I don't remember either, when Pooh turned into a better character fit for me than Eyore. It was a slow evolution, I spent a long time trying to conceive, took quite a few breaks from active fertility treatment. There came a time though, while still trying to conceive, that I felt more peaceful, less doomed, less gloomy. At least for periods of time. Volunteering helped, no question (more about that on Monday!) that giving back, helping support other men and women experiencing infertility gave me a sense of purpose that made me feel more at peace. Pooh is like that, you know. More peaceful, calmer, more hopeful. The perfect yogi really. Or maybe a different version of Buddha. A wisdom that is apparent, silly and naïve as Pooh can sometimes be.

And so, I think, I came to a new place. Not traveling in a circle, arriving back where I started from, assuming I was pregnant every month. Even in a circle, the journey teaches us something each loop around. No longer naively assuming that I was pregnant or even that I would become pregnant that month but also no longer gloomily assessing that I would never become pregnant.

A more peaceful resting spot. My Pooh moments were precious to me, those moments of calm, of clarity, that things were ok, just as they were. Yes, even in the middle of an IVF cycle being cancelled, even during the interminable two week wait after transfer.

As much yoga as I practice now, I realize that my Pooh moments of almost twenty years ago were my real introduction to the practice of yoga. Being present in the moment and knowing that everything is ok, for this breath, for this moment.

And this one too.



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