By Keiko Zoll
The current debate in my house is where to go on vacation this summer. My husband and I have a wanderlust that runs deep and we both just need a break from our routine. For us, vacations are not only an opportunity to explore new places, but they give us a change of scenery for a little while. Vacations can be – and often are – a colorful distraction from the hubbub of our daily life. When I’m on vacation, I’m not thinking about our cycle, or needles or ultrasounds. I’m thinking about where the locals go for dinner.
Do you ever wonder if you need a break from your infertility routine entirely?
It’s a valid question to ask yourself, particularly if you’ve been cycling for an extended period of time without success. Maybe your last cycle didn’t take or it got canceled. Maybe your cycle only resulted in a chemical pregnancy and you might be dealing with a very early loss.
If your family-building journey feels less like a path and more like an endless loop, it might be worthwhile to consider taking a break from treatment.
Taking a break does not mean you’re giving up.
It’s amazing the self-chatter feedback loop of negativity we play to ourselves, isn’t it? The idea of taking a break, for many, is that it somehow represents giving up or failure. When you take a vacation from work, you’re not giving up on work, are you? When you take a breather in the middle of a gym workout, you’re not giving up on your fitness, are you? Taking a break from treatment is no different.
Make the most of your R & R: Reflect and Reconnect.
Give you and your partner a couple of weeks where talk of infertility or your treatment is verboten. It helps to make a clean break and also gives you time to reflect on your journey so far. Taking a break is more than just stopping treatment in the immediate; it’s giving pause to consider the entire spectrum of your entire family-building experience. And don’t forget: treatments may not affect your partner physically, but they certainly can emotionally. How will you use this time to reconnect with your partner outside of the context of treatments? From what activities did you two pull back that you can now engage in more fully together?
Be good to your body and soul.
There’s no denying that infertility treatments can take a toll on you physically. From injections to side effects from medications, your body goes through so much for just one cycle, let alone multiple cycles in a row. Once you take these factors out of your daily routine, you might find your body – and soul – are grateful for the break. So use this time to be good to your body and soul. Give yourself the permission to pamper yourself and remember to be gentle to your body. With as jarring as treatment can be, you don’t want to shock your body into physical activity you may have stopped while undergoing treatment.
Remember, unlike a vacation where you have a limited number of days off, how long you take a break from treatment is up to you and your partner. Try it out for a month and see how it feels. At the end of the month, sit down and discuss if you like how life without treatment feels. Give it another month or more if it feels right.
Like a good vacation, taking a break from treatment hopefully has some good memories and leaves you feeling like you just want one more day away from it all. But taking a break will also hopefully leave you feeling rejuvenated and ready to dive back into your routine – when the time is right for you – with a fresh perspective and new energy.
Keiko Zoll is an infertility and women’s health writer. She blogs at The Infertility Voice and you can follow her on Twitter @KeikoZoll.
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