Ten Tips for Coping with Infertility During the Holidays

The Holidays are upon us, made evident by the store decorations, commercials and invitations; any of our unresolved issues of childlessness can become bigger and more pronounced. This is also true if you are experiencing secondary infertility. Individuals experiencing infertility are not only being challenged by the "normal" holiday stresses, they are also challenged by the grieving process that is built in to the fertility treatment journey.

10 Tips for Coping with Infertility During the Holidays

My hope for all of you is that you follow these self-care guidelines to help ease some of these additional stressors during the holiday season:

  1. Be Healthy Selfish
    Please behave in "selfish" (healthy selfish) ways that suit you and your spouse/partner. This means that the time you spend alone and/or with family and friends must be filtered through what is manageable for you in every instance. For example, it may be too painful to visit a relative’s annual get together if the focus is centered on "who just got pregnant," has the newest "baby," or any focus on family building. Or attending your spouses Christmas party and putting on a “happy face” could be quite hard to do.

  2. Remind Yourself That Treatment Is Temporary
    Remember that treatment, although presently all consuming, has a timeline. You will not be an infertility patient forever. This is a temporary situation and challenge in your life/lives.

  3. Treat Yourself
    Treat yourselves to a special event. This may be a play, a special restaurant, a mini-vacation to a mountain cabin, or a massage, etc. This is one way to offer self care through nurturing yourselves in a bite sized way.

  4. Consider Your Obligations
    Don’t feel obligated to visit family, friends or neighbors especially if they are not aware that you are in treatment and especially if any of these gatherings are stressful already due to other issues. When intense feelings are so close to the surface, we may become overly sensitive and react, then feel guilty and bad about ourselves. Our usual and customary "filter" can be diminished.

  5. Leave If You Feel Uncomfortable
    If visiting with family, friends and neighbors is supportive, go with the awareness that if the visit becomes difficult, you can leave at any time.

  6. Don't Make Excuses
    Don’t explain, make excuses for or defend your plans for the holidays. This is a rightful decision for you, and it is helpful to honor and treat yourselves with compassion and dignity. Your plans are no one else’s business.

  7. Follow Healthy Guidelines
    Try to follow healthy guidelines: Eat wholesome meals, get many hours of rest and sleep, and use distractions such as movies, holiday light displays, phone calls to trusted and empathetic relatives and friends.

  8. Find Support
    Plan to attend and participate in a support group, online or in-person, so that you are among people who understand and do not offer unhelpful advice or make insensitive comments.

  9. Take a Break
    Take a short break from treatment, unless you are on a tight schedule due to timing issues, and have an experience of being "yourselves" again.

  10. Be grateful
    Practice gratitude for the good things that you do have in your lives. This may be a great job, a close connection to your religious or spiritual support community, family, friends, financial stability, general and mental health. Try to focus on appreciation and thankfulness for the areas in your life that are going well.

By following this self-care tips for coping with infertility, know that after the holidays, you will be ready and rested as you return to fertility treatment.

Watch the video below for additional self-care tips from Maureen:

If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of Atlanta Center for Reproductive Medicine's top fertility specialists, call 678-841-1089 or schedule an appointment online.

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