The winter holidays are supposed to be a season of joy and light. But for many, this time is tough, especially when you struggle with infertility. As you gather together with your loved ones and see their children running around, this can be a painful reminder that building a family has been more difficult than you imagined. You may feel defeated and overwhelmed, but don’t let this hardship rob you of this season of joy.
Rather than isolating yourself from those you love in an attempt to protect yourself, there are ways that you can hurt less at Christmas parties or family gatherings. If you’re beginning to feel anxious because of the approaching holidays, arm yourself with a few coping strategies that may help you feel more at peace from Thanksgiving to New Year’s.
1. Decide What to Share About Your Infertility Struggles
Unfortunately, you’re bound to get a well-meaning cousin or aunt who asks the probing question, “So when are you going to have kids?” Instead of getting taken off-guard or stumbling for an answer, prepare what you’ll say ahead of time. This is a way to claim some control and manage what you want people to know. Here are a few tips for managing these sticky situations:
- Share just enough basic information to shield you from a flurry of questions
- Don’t offer details that open you up to commentary or advice
- Switch the subject if needed
- Don’t be afraid to say you don’t want to talk about this right now
2. Make a Cameo
If you feel like you can’t say “no” to an invite to a loved one’s party or you honestly don’t want to be there, don’t feel like you have to stay long. Making an appearance allows you to participate in the event on your terms. Set up a reason you have to leave early or just be blunt and tell the truth. This will help you feel more in control of the situation.
3. Only Hold Babies If You Want To
For some women in fertility treatments, holding children is a painful reminder that your arms are empty. For others, you may need to soak in some baby love whenever you get the opportunity. So, only hold a baby if you want to. If this makes you uncomfortable, feel free to say “no” gently.
4. Realize It’s Okay to Feel What You Feel
If struggling with infertility teaches you anything, it’s that you don’t have to pretend you don’t have feelings. You’re not a robot, and you’re bound to be affected by this tumultuous time. So, whatever feelings come up, whether it’s anger, sadness, jealousy, or guilt, allow yourself to feel these emotions.
As you learn to accept when you’re feeling down, you can also practice treating yourself with kindness and understanding — both are great tools to carry throughout your life.
5. Plan Some Post-Event Self-Care
Whether it’s a spa day or a date night with your spouse, a little bit of self-care will help you cope once the various holiday events are all said and done. If you put self-care into your schedule ahead of time, you’ll be able to truly focus on resting and recouping. After all, if everything goes according to plan, this may be the last holiday you can indulge in without thinking about a little one.
Turn to the Compassionate Team at Western Fertility Institute
When we partner with you during your fertility journey, we commit to walking alongside you every step of the way. We know that the holidays can be difficult while going through fertility treatments, and we want to help you find a way to get through this time happy and healthy.
If you’re ready to learn how we can help you grow your family, make an appointment to speak with a compassionate member of our team.
This content was medically reviewed by the Western Fertility Institute medical team on December 12, 2019.