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Dealing with Infertility During the Holidays: A Self Care Guide

One out of every 10 couples in the United States struggles with infertility, according to the American Fertility Association. With the holidays approaching, prepare yourself with this self care guide.

Let’s admit it, holidays can be stressful. As visiting family during the holiday comes with pressure and high expectations. But for someone who is experiencing infertility, holidays can add additional emotional stress to an already difficult situation. This self care guide will provide tactics to help those struggling with fertility issues during the holiday season. 


Here are a few tips to help you to prepare yourself and improve your chances of getting through the holidays. 

 

1. Consider Your Obligations


First and foremost, consider your obligations. What holiday events have you gotten invited to or expected to show up at? The holiday work party? Christmas dinner at your mother in-laws? Don’t feel obligated to visit any family, friends, or neighbors especially if they are not supportive of you. If any of these events you were invited to are stressful to you already due to other issues, don’t feel obligated to go. 


It’s also important to remember that if you decide to not go to an event you don’t need to make any excuses or defend your plans for the holidays. You don’t owe anyone an explanation as this is a rightful decision for you and only you. What you want to do on the holidays is no one's business.

2. Leave If You Feel Uncomfortable

Remember to practice self compassion! This can apply to all aspects of the holidays — whether it’s chatting with people at an office party or holiday gift exchanges. Recognize that no one expects perfection from you and simply enjoy the moment. Image courtesy of Goodhousekeeping.com.
Remember to practice self compassion! This can apply to all aspects of the holidays — whether it’s chatting with people at an office party or holiday gift exchanges. Recognize that no one expects perfection from you and simply enjoy the moment. Image courtesy of Goodhousekeeping.com.


 
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.

 

 

3. Lean on your Support System

You don’t need to face the holidays alone, and many more people are going through the same things than you might think. Find your support system, whether it be your sister, friend, or therapist.

If everyone in your life kind of sucks at listening, plan to participate in a support group, either online or in-person. It’s never healthy to suppress any emotional stress you’re going through. A support group will make you feel better as there will be people there who understand what you’re going through and will offer judgement-free support, putting you at ease. 

 

4. Be Grateful

Everything seems to be the worst when you’re infertile. But the holidays? Forget about it. Especially a whole season of them. When struggling with infertility it can feel impossible to muster the energy for false cheer. The “What have you been up tos?” arise, when all you had been up to was the never-ending treadmill of doctor’s appointments, shots, insurance calls, the vicissitudes of being pregnant and miscarrying. It can make the holidays hard to get through. Image courtesy of todaysparent.com. 
Everything seems to be the worst when you’re infertile. But the holidays? Forget about it. Especially a whole season of them. When struggling with infertility it can feel impossible to muster the energy for false cheer. The “What have you been up tos?” arise, when all you had been up to was the never-ending treadmill of doctor’s appointments, shots, insurance calls, the vicissitudes of being pregnant and miscarrying. It can make the holidays hard to get through. Image courtesy of todaysparent.com


Practice gratitude for the good things that you do have in your lives. Try and think of some things in your life that you’re grateful for. This could be family, friends, financial stability, your job, etc. Try to focus more on the areas in your life that are going well and appreciate them. 

5. Encounter Management

If there’s one thing certain about the holidays, it’s that you can’t avoid family get-togethers. Plan ahead on how you’ll respond to those questions that inevitably come up at every family gathering. Thanks to societal expectations, we have to deal with these triggering questions from Aunt Carol. Think of clever comebacks to respond to these routine questions to better deal with it. 

If you suspect a particular family member is going to confront you at Christmas brunch, take charge of the encounter and have a good comeback ready to fire back. Image courtesy of eehealth.org. 
If you suspect a particular family member is going to confront you at Christmas brunch, take charge of the encounter and have a good comeback ready to fire back. Image courtesy of eehealth.org


When asked something like, “When are you going to have a baby?”

Make a comeback that’ll be sure to either confuse them or get the questions to stop. 

Respond with something like this, “Kind of a personal question, don’t you think? Anyway, how’s your job, how much do you make again?”


If you suspect a particular family member is going to confront you at Christmas brunch, take charge of the encounter and have a good comeback ready to fire back. 


Most importantly, don’t forget to take care of yourself. It’s much easier to deal with the stress of infertility around the holidays if you are well-rested and healthy. Make sure to always get at least seven hours of sleep, drink enough fluids, and maintain a healthy diet. Remember to love yourself and your body. 

 



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