Hooray the holidays are here! Well, at least that’s what we want to feel. The holidays are generally joyous, surrounded by lots of friends and family. But if you are trying to conceive, it’s not always so easy to celebrate. In fact, we often can use a little help navigating how exactly to get the most out of the holidays.
“I can remember getting excited about Thanksgiving and by the end of the week, all I wanted was to crawl into a hole until January 1st. From the massive amounts of families at the airports to the questions (and unsolicited advice) I was not prepared for from family - it simply made the challenges of infertility double in intensity.” - Amy Divaraniya, OOVA CEO and Co-founder
Infertility can leave you feeling defeated, inadequate, devastated, and extremely alone. We thought it would help first and foremost to remind each other that you are not alone! In fact, remember that even at your work holiday party, you may not be the only one experiencing these emotions.
Luckily, there is always a community of people who are here to support you. But perhaps you need a little more help. Here are some ways you can be in control of your experience this holiday.
Share Your Feelings with Your Loved Ones.
This is tough. Not only is it hard to talk about infertility, but who wants to even have these conversations during the holidays? Truth is, people do care about you. So take these simple steps:
Decide with your partner how you will handle tough questions. You don’t want to get caught off guard. This also gives you the ability to share information at your comfort level. You may even want to rehearse a bit to put your mind at ease.
Let those supporting you during this time know that you appreciate it. These people are your support system! It’s easy to get caught up in the holidays but it’s definitely a time of year when others respond quite well to knowing they are appreciated, and you’ll feel great when you see that.
After each event, take time to discuss how things went and how you feel with your partner. Were there difficult situations? Were there certain things that made you feel good? You’ll be able to get a better handle on your feelings and be able to face future situations with less anxiety.
When the invitations come, don’t panic! You are in control and again, you are not alone. So remember the following:
You don’t have to go, it’s ok to be selective. Do what’s best for you. If you know your Aunt Mabel will be relentless, skip that party at her place. Maybe arrive late and/or leave early. If there are certain traditions that make you feel uncomfortable, excuse yourself.
Take control of the situation and have your own holiday event. You can choose to invite whomever you want.
Prepare for the most difficult scenarios. Anticipate that others will have baby announcements or you might have to sit next to your sister-in-law and her growing belly and understand how these types of situations could make you feel.
Have a plan for the invitations that you do accept. Know how you’re going to react to difficult questions. Decide if you’re going to hold that new baby or if you’d rather distance yourself from the kids.
Remember, it’s ok to say no.
Creating Your Own Traditions
Taking all this into your own control is the best thing you can do. It’s your terms! And it’s important for you to have positive emotions during this time of your life. So why not create your own traditions that you can get excited about!
Plan a special getaway that you and your partner will take every year around the holidays. Make memories now that you can share with your children.
Start a tradition that signifies that you’re a family with or without children. Maybe it’s making a trip to cut down a fresh tree or cooking a special meal together. These traditions will give you something to look forward to and serve as a reminder of the love that you share.
Caring for Yourself
As with most of our posts, we always want to remind you to focus on YOU. Taking care of yourself should always be a priority. Here’s a few reminders of how to do just that:
It’s ok to be sad. It’s also ok to feel happy. You should never feel guilt over your feelings.
Take time for yourself. It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday spirit but don’t forget to take time for a breather.
Don’t compromise on the routine you’ve established throughout the year. We know that eating right and reducing stress increase our chances of pregnancy. Don’t feel pressured to have that glass of wine at the company party. Don’t feel like you need to carol around town if it’s too much.
And most importantly, do the things that make you happy.