Infertility can come with a lot of difficult days and can be a hard thing to deal with most of the time. With the added pressure of the holiday time, it might make infertility seem like even more of a burden.
You could be worried about the upcoming conversations that will arise from visiting with friends and family or perhaps just being around your relatives and their children will be a difficult reminder of what you are going through. To help you cope with infertility during the holidays, we have put together a list of tips to help you and your partner have a stress-free and happy holiday season. Hopefully, a season without the pain of infertility struggles as the focus and instead an enjoyable time spent with friends and family.
It has probably been a long hard year or more of trying to conceive. Take this time to treat yourself for all of the hard work that you have put in. Remember that you have needs too and that you should be rewarded for all that you have done.
Maybe this is something simple as enjoying a few more warm baths with candles during this time of year. Perhaps you can go enjoy a pedicure or even a nice massage to reward yourself! Take the time to pamper yourself and to remember that you need to be taken care of as well.
If you love baking, take the time to bake more and enjoy what you are doing! Find the time to do what you enjoy most, whatever that may be. If your significant other enjoys doing similar things then go ahead and pamper yourselves together. You have both put in a lot of work up until this point. This work might include a lot of doctor appointments, ovulation tracking and planning, treatments or medicine protocols, and you both are probably a little exhausted from it all. Embrace the holiday season and indulge yourselves!
Embrace Your Feelings
Infertility comes with a lot of feelings and battles. With the holiday season, you may feel the need to bottle it all inside and put on a brave face. While, this is is alright to do in certain situations or outings, don’t forget that you are human and have feelings. Find someone that you can talk your feelings out with during this time when they arise.
It is alright to be feeling things such as guilt, anger, jealousy, helplessness, or exhausted. These are all normal feelings that can come with infertility. Infertility is a struggle, it is hard and can be emotionally draining.
Learning to accept these feelings and how infertility impacts you will help you to treat yourself better in the long run. Bottling up how you feel does not usually end well. It is best to have a support system lined up to share your thoughts and troubles. This system may be your significant other, a good friend, or a family member (or more). Finding someone to share your thoughts and feelings will help you feel better and become more open to an enjoyable holiday.
Have a Preemptive Strike Planned for “Those Conversations”
You may be a couple that is very open with your infertility struggles or perhaps you haven’t quite shared the news with anyone other than your significant other, either way it can be very helpful to plan for the conversations that you may not want to have.
There is always someone in the family asking those kinds of questions that are too personal or worded in a way that no one would take well. Infertility can make these conversations seem even worse. Especially if you have not quite shared your struggles with your friends or family.
It is best to talk to your partner about the possible, “When are you going to have kids,” “Why haven’t you gotten knocked up yet,” “When am I going to be a grandparent” questions that tend to arise during family events. Decide if there are questions you wish to be upfront with and perhaps others you would rather avoid all together.
Whatever option is best for you is the route to take, as everyone is in a different part of their journey and there is no “one fit all answer”. By talking about these possible awkward or hurtful conversations ahead of time it will give you a chance to be prepared and not feel ambushed or like a “deer in headlights”.
Spend Time With Supportive Friends and Family
Along with preparing for the conversations that may arise, you can also choose who you want to spend your time with. While you may feel obligated to do every family or friend event and fit them all in, it depends on what is best for you. There are sadly some friends or family who are not always very supportive and who may in fact make you feel worse during this time.
It is alright to say no and avoid them if you wish. It is best to surround yourself with friends and family who you know will be supportive of what you are going through and respectful of your wishes.
This will help to alleviate the stress of what may result with those that may not be as supportive.
Spend Time with Your Childless Friends
Just because it is the holiday season, doesn’t mean that your time is only available to your family members. If you have childless friends or friends who are also struggling with infertility, make time to spend with them. This may help to counter the stress that can come from family during the holidays.
It will help infertility feel more normal, during this time. Family does not always understand that struggles with fertility are not that uncommon and affect one in ten women. Spending time with someone who understands the struggles with you during the holidays can be one of the best ways to enjoy the season.
If your childless friends aren’t struggling with infertility it will still help you to enjoy a wonderful night out without having to worry about conversations you may not want to be a part of and without children running around reminding you of what you want so badly.
Make the Most of Being Child Free
While this may sound like exactly what you do not want to do, think about all of the things you wouldn’t be able to do if you did have children in tow this holiday. Take advantage of being spontaneous and in the moment. Perhaps you had a hard day at work with the holiday rush, why not go out for a few drinks and enjoy the night with your significant other? You are still able to make plans with the snap of your fingers and stay out as late as you would like. These are things that will not happen as easily once babies do come around.
There are many adult pleasures that will become hard to do once you have children. So try to take advantage of the holiday and indulge yourself without having to think twice about what you are doing. Make the most of the holiday with your significant other, for all you know it may be the last Christmas to indulge in adult life before a baby comes along!
Stay Busy/ Get Involved
The holiday season offers a lot of different things to do! Now is the time to dive into something that you enjoy, perhaps learn something new, or join a volunteer group for the holidays.
By getting involved and staying busy during this time, you can find things to help keep your mind of infertility and hopefully bring around some holiday spirit. One of the best ways to find holiday spirit is to help others in need during the season. You could even join a caroling group or a gift wrapping group to become more involved!
Perhaps groups aren’t really your thing, you can always find new crafts or projects to work on at home during this time. Maybe you want to devote some to making homemade ornaments or decorations this year? Perhaps you could research and try out different baking recipes ?
Sitting around in an empty house could make the holiday season feel even more sad and lonely, by getting out and being involved this will help to keep your mind off of things and hopefully find some happiness this Christmas!
Coping This Holiday Season
While infertility and the feelings that can come with are not easy and can be very difficult to live with, hopefully using these tips during the holiday season can help to make things more enjoyable. Try and remember that you are human and that you deserve some happiness, even when things seem like there is no light in the tunnel. Having supportive friends and family, planning for the awkwardness that may arise, and focusing on yourself this holiday should help to make it an enjoyable one!