The holiday season is a very stressful time of year. It can be even more stressful for those suffering from infertility. The holidays are filled with family get-togethers which can bring out a variety of emotions, especially if everyone is talking about their babies, children, and their pregnancies. You may even get pressure from family and friends, who do not know your struggle, to start a family.
What can you do to get through this time with the least amount of emotional pain?
1. Let Go: As a society, we are used to the idea that if you work hard enough at something, you will achieve it. Women approach infertility with that same attitude – if I take control of my fertility, I will be able to achieve my goal. Our fertility is one thing that is completely out of our control. We can do things to optimize our chances to conceive but there is only so much you can do to optimize your chances, the rest is up to God or chance (or whatever you believe in). I want to tell women who are stressed out, trying to control every aspect of their fertility to let go. This is very hard to do without training. I recommend buying a meditation and visualization CD to get started. You can buy a CD through our clinic. We offer Mind-Body group and individual sessions designed to teach the meditation techniques that will help you cope with infertility and let go of the stress that you keep bottled up inside.
2. Be Prepared: When making social plans, know what you’re getting yourself into. For example, if Christmas with the in-laws means attending the family daytime services geared for kids, make alternative plans. Attend a midnight service and plan to join the family later in the day just for dinner after the kids have opened all their presents. Being prepared for questions family or friends may ask will also help you cope with infertility during the holidays. If someone asks you if you have kids, a simple no will do. You shouldn’t feel the need to confide intimate details of your infertility struggles with anyone. IVF stories are all over the news right now. It isn’t unusual for dinnertime discussions or discussions at social gatherings to revolve around the latest goings-on of the recent mother of 8 IVF babies. Don’t take what people say about infertility treatments or IVF personally.
3. Shopping for Gifts: Consider doing all your shopping online to avoid malls filled with reminders that may be emotionally tough to deal with.
4. Take care of yourself: this means doing things for yourself that will help you relax and deal with stress in ways that are good for your spirit. The holidays are filled with opportunities to over-indulge whether that’s with food or drinking. Be as mindful as possible of your emotional and physical well-being during this time. Take Yoga classes, get massages, see a psychologist, and see your acupuncturist more often.