Couples who are facing infertility may dread the inevitable questions from family and friends about when they will have a baby during the holiday season. There can also be the internal pressure of concealing grief from a failed pregnancy attempt. However, there are ways to cope and make the holidays enjoyable in spite of the difficulties of the infertility journey.
Feel Free to Opt-Out
When deciding whether to attend a holiday party or family gathering, ask yourself if it’s in your best interest to go. If you aren’t looking forward to seeing certain people or talking about certain things, then don’t feel guilty about turning down an invitation. If you’re worried about appearances or feel obligated, consider making brief appearances at events to say hello and then slip out. But the people who truly care about you will understand if you need to skip something.
Come Up With a Strategy
If you decide you do want to socialize during the season, sit down with your partner and discuss how you want to handle potential questions about sensitive issues related to your infertility. What you say is up to you. You can be as honest as you want or come up with a vague answer you can use multiple times.
Focus on Things You Love
If you don’t feel up to doing much while you’re coping with infertility during the holidays, that’s fine. Choose holiday traditions and activities that are most important and focus on those things. Bake your favorite cookies or have a holiday movie marathon. Go to holiday services at your place of worship. Sing carols. Or skip all of it. You’re not obligated to participate in something that makes you unhappy.
Celebrate without Children
If being around kids is hard for you, seek out friends who don’t have children and celebrate with them. Take advantage of being childless for a night without dwelling on why. Stay out late and enjoy the company of people who aren’t sharing anecdotes about their kids or worrying about getting home to relieve the babysitter.
Know You’re Not Alone
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 12% of women in the US will struggle with fertility between the ages of 15 and 44. That means there are a lot of people out there who know what you’re going through. Knowing that you’re not alone in going through this difficult time can be comforting. If you feel up to it, you may want to consider connecting with an infertility support group during the holidays to share your feelings with people who know what you’re going through.
Stay off of Social Media
Social media can be a trap for negative feelings at the best of times. It encourages us to compare our own lives to a curated and idealized version of someone else’s life. During the holidays, social media profiles are full of perfectly posed family photos with children dressed in their festive finest, and snapshots from seasonal outings. All of this faux-perfection can be triggering when you’re struggling with something like infertility, so pull the plug on social media for the season.
There are also many women on social media who use it as a platform to share their fertility journey. Curate our feed so that you only see posts from accounts that motivational, encouraging and relatable.
Be Honest About Your Feelings
Infertility can bring up a confusing mix of emotions, and guilt is often one of them. You may feel guilty for being sad or angry during a time when the rest of your friends and family are trying to have fun holiday season, but you must acknowledge and accept your feelings as valid. It’s not your fault that you feel this way, so don’t double down on the negativity. Be honest with yourself, your partner, and your loved ones about your state of mind and what you can handle emotionally.
At Laurel Fertility, we know that your fertility journey is an intensely personal experience that can be emotional, especially during the holidays. Our commitment is to our patients and their physical, emotional, and financial well being during the process. We can tailor a program just for you based on your medical condition and budget. If want to explore the possibilities of fertility treatments, call us at (415) 673-9199 to request a consultation.