For many people, the holiday season is a time filled with social events with family and friends. However, for 1 in 8 couples struggling with infertility, the holidays can be some of the most difficult times of the year. Preparing yourself on how to handle the emotions that come with infertility is a way to help you cope.
5 Ways to Cope with Infertility During the Holidays
- Only attend events that you’re comfortable with. Although you may feel like you should go to all the events that you are invited to, be selective and choose to attend parties where you will be in company of loved ones who know what you are going through. You can also take this opportunity to create relationships with other couples who may be in a similar situation.
- Know your triggers. If seeing pregnant women or babies is too difficult for you, it may be a good option to avoid social events geared toward children and families.
- Choose what to share with others. Curious strangers or family members may ask the dreaded “when are you having kids?” question. Be prepared with responses and how much of your journey you want to share. Some may feel better sharing their infertility story, while others prefer to keep things private.
- Take a break. If the worry of infertility during the holiday season seems too much to bear, it is okay to take a break. Take an exciting trip with your partner or spouse to get your mind off things. Keep in mind that fertility treatments are only temporary and can be resumed in the new year. Your mental health is the top priority.
- Have support. Keeping your closest friends and family nearby is important to ensure you fully enjoy the holidays. Attending a support group can also be helpful. Having peers that can relate to you and a counselor to offer advice is a way to handle a difficult season.
5 Tips for Infertility Etiquette for Friends and Family
- Don’t ask. Some of the most frequently asked questions to couples around the holidays are “When are you going to have kids?” “Have you started trying yet?” “When is it time for another?” These seemingly innocent questions have a significant impact on couples who are trying to conceive. It is just another reminder of what they don’t have and how hard they may be trying to achieve their goal.
- Don’t give unsolicited advice. Although this may seem like the appropriate response, offering advice can actually be hurtful to couples trying to get pregnant. Simple statements such as “Just relax, once you stop thinking about it you’ll get pregnant” can be insulting to a couple who has undergone months of fertility treatments without success. If a friend or family member opens up to you about their struggle to conceive, offer emotional support instead.
- Don’t minimize the problem. When trying to conceive, the last thing a couple wants to hear is “Things could be worse” or “Well at least you have…” It is important to remember that infertility is difficult on everyone, whether they express it openly or not. Trying to grow a family without success can be hurtful emotionally, physically and even financially, especially during the holiday season.
- Don’t complain. While having children and being pregnant can be difficult, try to be sensitive to your audience throughout the holidays. If you are around someone who you know is struggling with infertility, be aware that what you have if what they are trying so hard to accomplish for themselves. Hearing the negative aspects of pregnancy or motherhood are that much more difficult to your friends or family longing to have children.
- Don’t push adoption. Adoption is a deeply personal decision that requires a lot of thought and dedication. While this is the path that some couples may take to build their family, it is may not be right for everyone.