Any holiday celebrated this time of year can be an emotional juggernaut when you are coping with infertility. Truth be told, you are probably finding that infertility leaves you sad and longing for a child to bring year-round. However, it seems that this intensified this time of year during family holidays, dinners with friends, and company celebrations. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or any other celebration can simply be a sad reminder of what is missing from your life.
Understand it is normal to feel sad and even angry that you and your partner are experiencing fertility issues. It is important to acknowledge those feels and elicit the support of your partner to help get through this month. Allow yourself to feel the sadness and frustration.
While this will pass, here are some strategies that will help minimize the stress and sadness you may be feeling.
1) Make a Plan
It is inevitable that you will run into new parents, pregnant couples, and kids of all ages during the holiday. Before you find yourself face-to-face, plan how you will react to the situation.
For some, it will invariably involve avoidance. One of the go-to strategies many of us have when it comes to a difficult or unpleasant situation. If that works for you, do not be ashamed. It is a matter of mental health. Here are some tips that will help you navigate those encounters. For some potential encounters, you can simply say “no”, and don’t go. Where you are obligated to attend plan on arriving late and leaving early. Or maybe, just hold an adult-only party
Plan ahead on how you will respond to those questions that invariably come from Aunt Emma. (Doesn’t everyone have an Aunt Emma?). You know the questions:
When are, you going to make me an aunt?
Are you ever going to have a family?
Or my personal favorite: Is your husband shooting blanks?
The only thing certain about the holidays is those questions will come. Think up a few clever quips that will both confuse Aunt Emma and stop the questions. For example, when asked
“When are you going to have a baby”? Your reply can be: “We been trying for a dog, but are not having any success”
“That’s a rather personal question, don’t you think? Anyway, how’s your new job, how much do you make again?”
Alternative, maybe you are that special person who simply loves playing with children. If this helps, you are in luck as undoubtedly you will find nieces, nephews, and even cousins you did not know existed to hold and play with.
2) Develop a Support System
You do not need to face the holidays alone. It is time to find an elicit the support of your friends and family.
First, talk to your partner. While they do not express their sadness the same as you, it does not mean that they are not affected. Talk to them about your feelings, the encounters that are likely to bother you the most. Develop strategies on how you will work together if they do occur. For example, maybe your partner can simply speak up and change the subject. Maybe your partner can ask to speak to you privately to remove you from the encounter.
Fill your time with friends who might be more sympathetic. Make plans with other couples or single friends who are simply not at the stage of their life where they are looking to start a family. It is highly unlikely they will ask or care when you are starting one.
Most likely you cannot avoid family events. If you suspect a particular family member is likely to confront you at an event, take charge of the encounter. Call or meet up with them before the family gets together. Let them know this is a very sensitive subject and ask them for their help. You will be amazed at how effective Aunt Emma can be in deflecting questions that may be asked. More importantly, you can go to the event confident that Aunt Emma will not be lying in wait for you.
3) Take care of Yourself
It is much easier to deal with the stress of infertility around the holidays if you are well-rested and are eating healthy. “Fatigue makes cowards of us all” (Vince Lombardi) is absolutely true. Make sure you get plenty of sleep.
Plan enough events throughout the month that you always have something to look forward to attending. If all you do is fret about the infertility concerns it will begin to consume you.
4) Make More Plans
We often feel better when we are taking positive action to correct whatever is bothering us. If infertility has given you the holiday blues, do not wait until 2020 before you take positive steps.
Once you begin this process, you may find your outlook improves. Taking concrete steps will help ease that sadness. After all, you have a plan to address your fertility struggles.
If you would like to discuss your options and begin the process, please click on the link below to set an appointment with one of our fertility specialists.
Now is the time to ensure that your future holidays will be ones that you can celebrate with your own family.