Coping with infertility can evoke feelings of sadness and anxiety throughout the year. However, there are certain times of the year when the pain intensifies.
“The most wonderful time of the year” is just around the corner. The lights are glowing, the storefronts are decorated with toys, there is Christmas music all over town… it all comes together to be a fantastic season. However, this time of year can be overwhelming for couples and individuals struggling with infertility or secondary infertility. Christmas can remind you what is missing in your lives, making you feel angry, fearful, guilty, lonely and empty.
The “usual” stresses of the Holidays are a challenge for those experiencing infertility. Not only you’ll have to deal with insistent comments and questions from family members who do not know their infertility history, but also you’re confronted with children opening gifts and family members with babies, which will increase your wish to conceive.
It is time to celebrate, but for you who are experiencing infertility, the Christmas season can increase emotional stress. Though it is not expected that you stop feeling pain around infertility, some suggestions can prepare and help you cope with infertility during the Holidays, making it less uncomfortable.
Tips For Coping With Infertility During Holidays
Sometimes you probably wish you could just leave for a paradisiac island and stay there until everyone stops focusing on babies. It is a sweet thought but not a brave one. And you are brave. You can go through this and overcome it.
Besides, Christmas is time to spend with family and friends you love, and their support may be helpful to you. But, first, you’ll need to change your mindset and be prepared, so you can enjoy every moment and be grateful for everything you have. See the tips below to cope with infertility stress during these days:
Be Selfish: In this case, practicing healthy selfishness will help you protect yourself from conversations or situations that make you uncomfortable. Focus on your wellbeing and avoid dinners or parties where the center subject is “who just got pregnant,” “the newest baby,” or other themes that make you feel sad or anxious. Remember, you don’t have to let everyone in on your story and situation.
Manage what to share: Decide in advance what information you want to share with your family or friends. What information do you want them to know? For example, you may feel it is important that your family and the people who care about you know about your infertility. Their support may be helpful to you, but you don’t need to explain all the details about your infertility. Nevertheless, you may not want other people like uncles, aunts, or cousins to know, and that’s okay. Providing basic information protects you from being subject to comments all night.
Remind yourself that treatment is temporary: Right now, you’re struggling with guilt, fear and anger because of infertility stress. However, don’t forget that you won’t be an infertility patient forever. If you are in treatments, you need to be patient because, in most cases, there are solutions.
Allow yourself to leave if you are uncomfortable: If you want to spend time with your family and friends, do it! Do it if you know how to respond to hard questions or deal with difficult matters. But, if you start feeling uncomfortable, leave the party kindly. It is a mental health matter, so don’t be ashamed or guilty for leaving.
Take a break: Take a break if you don’t want to leave the party or dinner early. Go outside and take a deep breath. Get some time with your partner or someone you trust. It is essential to take a break but still be with someone who cares about you.
Spend time doing the things you like the most: What do you enjoy most about the Christmas holidays? Cooking? Chatting? Reading with a hot chocolate next to you? Skiing? If you like this time of the year, don’t let your feelings of sharing, love and happiness disappear because of infertility. Enjoy the moments and do what you love. Prepare a spectacular meal with your mom or grandmother, take long walks with your uncle, ski with your dad, or simply relax and enjoy reflecting on your wellbeing.
Be thankful: Practice gratitude for everything you have in your life. You have family, friends, people who love you. Even if you are struggling with infertility, there must be other areas in your life that are going well, such as financial stability, mental health, health in general, a good job, a good support community, or others. Focus on being thankful and appreciative of what surrounds you.
Find support: Plan to participate in a support group or get professional help. It could be helpful for you to be amongst people who are also struggling with fertility as they will listen to you, understand you and give you all their advice, support and comfort words.
Take care of yourself: It’s much easier to deal with the stress of infertility around the holidays if you are well-rested and healthy. Focus on getting a good night’s sleep, drinking water, and having a healthy diet during this time. Plan to participate in activities you like to keep your mind busy. If you only think about your infertility, you will be consumed by negative emotions, which will block you in several aspects of your life (social, economic, mental health). Thus, it is essential to love yourself and your body and appreciate what you have.
It is Christmas time! So, enjoy it as best you can.
But remember that the most important person at this moment is you, and your mental health is your priority. So, if you need to say “no” to some event, party or dinner, say it without guilt, shame, fear or sadness. You are only doing what is best for you.
Plus, spend time doing what you like most and don’t forget you are strong and brave. You can overcome any obstacles in your path.