Reduce Holiday Infertility Stress
It’s the Holiday season which means it’s time for gatherings with friends and family. What a lovely time of year! You see your loved ones and they ask you difficult, uncomfortable questions about your personal life struggles. Suddenly, it’s not so great anymore. You feel like you’ve been hit when you’re already down. You have the urge to verbally shut the questions down completely, physically damage something near you, run and cry or all of the above.
Before any of that happens there are a few ways to help keep some of these feelings at-bay and prevent any outbreaks. It only takes a little bit of thinking ahead to get you prepared for anything that comes your way so you can have a happy and enjoyable holiday season this year.
Organize and Prioritize
Do you really want to go to that party? Go through your calendar and ask yourself if you really want to join in the festivities. Even the parties that you’ve always gone to and feel obligated to go to, put yourself first this time and do what you want to do. It’s okay.
Now it’s time to go through the list again and think about what “emotional triggers” might be at each of them. Think if there will be any children there or if there will be a lot of family photo Christmas cards around. Also anticipate pregnancy announcements, etc… Size up the risk with what you feel you can handle at the moment. If you think there will be too much around to make you uncomfortable, remember you have the option not to attend. Try to be completely honest with yourself on this one. Remember you shouldn’t have to feel like you’re walking into a trap when going to parties.
The insensitive, inconsiderate, assuming, question is coming out of your mom or dad’s, Grandma’s, aunts, uncles or cousins mouth, “When are you going to have kids?” Okay here is where the issue is. What’s your response? Do you tell them about your struggles with conceiving? Do you give them a vague answer and hope they drop it? Or do you shut them down and out completely like, “It’s no one’s business but mine.” The lesson to be learned here is to answer their question before they ask it. This is almost like researching what questions your doctor is going to ask you for a first fertility check-up or what questions you should be able to answer in a job interview. Assume that someone will bring it up during the holiday season and come up with a response that you are comfortable with. You can be as vague as you’d like to be. Remember that this is your business and just because somebody asks doesn’t mean you have to give them the whole story.
The Last Resort
Even though you thought of everything that could go wrong and could handle the rest sometimes you just can’t and the overwhelming uncomfortable feelings come up. You need an escape. Excuse yourself to the restroom, lock the door, turn on the faucet in the sink so no one hears you and let the feelings take over for a few minutes. Keeping them locked inside hurts much worse. Sometimes it’s even impossible to hold back. After you let it all out, focus on taking deep breathes and relaxing your heartbeat. This can be your solution for those feelings that sneak up and hit you out of nowhere.
Finding infertility support is different from person to person. Some people have no problem getting support from friends and family while others struggle finding someone to confide in about their fertility problems. A big part of the issue is that sometimes family and friends aren’t sure what you’re going through and don’t know how to help you. In an attempt to help sometimes they hurt you. It’s not their fault. They just don’t understand it all. In fact nobody gets it if they’re not going through it too. Today in the US 1 in 6 couples face infertility. There are people to relate to and some go online to talk about their experiences with others. There are support groups out there for you to hear others’ stories on their pathway. It just might help you to share your story. Communicating your feelings freely is highly beneficial.
Put Yourself First
Make the time to really take care of yourself during this difficult period. Get the sleep you need, eat regular, wholesome meals. Also try to think in the moment and take time to notice sights, smells, sounds, and touch. This helps you appreciate the here and now. Most importantly, accept what you are going through. Accept that this is taking a lot from you and that you need to do things for yourself in order to cope and heal. Anything and everything you’re feeling is acceptable. Never think you’re feelings are irrelevant or invalid. Once you allow yourself to feel you allow yourself to heal.
 National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development;