The holidays are a happy yet stressful time for many people, and even more so for couples living with infertility. Certain holidays often focus on children and it can be painful when you are unable to reach your goal of conception. You are happy for those with children but also grieve for your losses at the same time.
Whether in person or on social media, you might see a stream of family photos highlighting what you are missing, and avoiding them can be difficult. It can be helpful to spend time on fertility support groups so you know you are not alone and you are heard.
One holiday signature is having gatherings, family, friends, co-workers, this is a time of meeting with others. In these Covid-19 times, the crowd size is likely small. Wishing those you care about well might be accompanied by feelings of grief and longing and even pangs of shame and guilt if your feelings are still raw.
Picture perfect holiday festivities may leave you feeling left out. Picture perfect tv families may bring you longing for the day when you can celebrate your own family with others. Being around family during these gatherings might mean fielding questions about your personal life even when you are reluctant to go into the details. It can help ahead of time to plan on your response so that you don’t need to feel pressured.
Gleaning ideas from your support groups can help you come up with a strategy that boosts your confidence and knowing that you are not alone with your feelings during this season.
Navigating Infertility During The Holidays
While families often create traditions once children enter the picture, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can start traditions that bring you joy and peace as an individual or couple.
1-Create traditions that make you happy now. You can drop those that don’t support you and incorporate those that do. People grow and change, so it makes sense that traditions can as well. This year, stick to adult gatherings that won’t make you feel conflicted, or stay halfway during a visit and leave when child-focused activities begin.
2-Create soothing rituals like walking with your significant other at night, feeling the peace and enjoying the holiday lights around your town or neighborhood. Midnight strolls are often soothing and uncrowded. Sitting around a fire pit in the backyard, enjoying holiday treats, ice skating, doing Secret Santas, enjoying holiday movies snuggled on the couch with your partner, pet or favorite blanket can all be heartwarming activities.
3-You and your partner can make it a priority to be there for each other when the feelings get to be too much. Explore how you can support one another when the holidays encroach on your peace. Incorporate supportive measures like reassuring hugs, massages, begin vulnerable to cry without guilt, and whatever ways help you both support each other.
4-When around small gatherings, you can address the things people say depending on your boundaries. Friends and family may mean well, but sometimes they can still hurt us without meaning to. You can answer directly or vaguely and even say you prefer not to talk about this right now. Not everyone understands the feelings around fertility, and you are not obligated to talk about sensitive subjects.
5-Host a small gathering of your own for adults only, in your home, in your backyard or at a restaurant. Just a kid-free zone for those you enjoy spending time with.
6-Remember to treat yourself during these times. Self-care like massages, mani-pedis, facials, yoga, meditation or even shopping online. During this often hectic time, schedule some “me time” to relax and tune in to your body.
The holiday season can be enjoyable as you plan ahead, nurturing your mind, body and spirit. Give yourself permission to grieve without guilt because infertility means you are missing something you are longing for. Honor your journey, your losses and be there for yourself. Surround yourself with the support you need, including a significant other or close friend as well as support groups. At Idaho Fertility Center in Idaho Falls, our team is here to support your fertility journey. Call today to learn more!