Experiencing infertility has been shown to impact sufferers on an emotional level that compares to the level of people who were diagnosed with cancer or had recently suffered a heart attack. Many also say that the most upsetting experience of their lives was their infertility.
For this reason, holiday periods, such as Thanksgiving, can be especially challenging for those who suffer from infertility. Part of the reason for emotional difficulties related to infertility during Thanksgiving are due to how family-oriented this holiday is. Also, that you’ll most likely interact with children and their parents, which can be so difficult to do when you so badly want a family of your own.
However, there are several ways to create a healthy mindset to cope with infertility during Thanksgiving:
This may have not even crossed your mind, but it should. Consider not going. Take into account the emotional repercussions that you might experience from the experience and compare those with how it might affect family dynamics. The former may outweigh the latter even if your family is one that would not take kindly to your not being there for this holiday. If you don’t go, it’s generally best to be honest about why, but if you’d rather not be too upfront, simply say that you’re sick and cannot go, which, in a way, is the truth anyway.
But do consider that spending Thanksgiving with your family might also end up being good for you.
Assuming that you are going, you’re might want to mentally prepare for the experience. One of the ways to do that is to make sure to anticipate questions and statements that may not seem awkward to the person asking or saying them but that will be awkward for you given your situation. These can include “When are you having children?” or “We can’t wait until you have your own young ones running around here!” and, for those who do know your situation, “Why don’t you just adopt?”
You can generally respond to these questions in one of two ways. You can be vague and avoid responding directly, or you can be blunt. For example, in the first case, you could say, “We’re not sure. So, how have you been?” Or you could simply say, “Actually, we’ve been trying, but it hasn’t happened yet. We would love to bring our own children to one of these gatherings in the future.”
Having an Ally
If the majority of people there don’t know that you’re suffering from infertility, it helps to have an ally. Of course, your partner is a solid option, but it might be best if you can have a close friend who is not your partner whom you can rely on, as a beacon of support during this time.
Feel Free to Exit
One of the ways that you can take care of yourself is to ensure that you have an exit strategy during the event, whether that’s temporarily or departing for the evening. If it’s the former, find a secluded area. This can be an empty room, outdoors or even the bathroom if no better options exist.
If you need to go home or otherwise recover from the experience, simply excuse yourself. You can say that you’re not feeling well as you truly are not. Also, ensure that, upon your arrival, you park in a manner that would allow you to easily depart the festivities.
This can be an emotionally exhausting experience even if it ultimately ends up being a positive one, so it’s important to have a plan for recharging after it ends. This could involve going out for a quiet cup of tea, settling in on the couch watching one of your favorite movies or anything that will help you come down from the emotional experience and recharge your batteries. Knowing that you will have this experience afterwards will also allow you to have a concrete thought to hold on to during the event.
Thankfulness While Suffering From Infertility During Thanksgiving
Lastly, ensure that you also spend time during this holiday being thankful for the blessings that you have in your life. It’s understandable that doing so may be difficult to do at this time, but do your best.
Even if you are overwhelmed with negative thoughts, there are things that you are thankful for underneath those. Spend some time focusing on those and give thanks for the blessings that you have in your life. You can keep these private, or you can make them public. It’s up to you and what you feel comfortable with.