Preparing for the Holiday Season!
Many of us have fantasies about what the holiday season is supposed to be like: decorations, gifts, food, friends and family; which often include imagining this will be the year you have a small but important, addition to the family. Because of these very normal dreams and expectations, the holidays can be one of the most difficult times of year for couples dealing with fertility issues.
This newsletter addresses how to deal with these expectations in order to have the best holiday possible.
Coping with the holiday blues – Resolve Fact Sheet – Many different type of people experience the “holiday blues” but this can be an even more difficult time for couples dealing with fertility issues for two reasons:
First is our belief about what the holiday “should” be like and the “myth of bliss” – meaning it is difficult, if not impossible for the holidays to ever measure up to our childhood expectations of wishes fulfilled and magic.
Secondly, the holidays are overwhelmingly child focused; leaving child-free couples feeling left out and with a constant reminder of what they don’t have.
But there are things you can do to make this holiday season better!
- Throw out all should(s)- allow yourself to accept how you are feeling and do what you are comfortable doing.
- Find childfree ways to celebrate- this is the perfect time for a couple’s trip or a new family tradition.
- Be selective about what family events you attend– Take control of planned activities, arriving late or leaving early, attending midnight services (when children are less likely to attend) or skipping the most child focused events.
- Find comfort or Inspiration in the holiday’s theme– Most are associated with hope, something that can renew your spirits and fertility efforts.
- Cheer up others– this is a great time to spend with other couples who are working on fertility issues or who have other needs.
- Remember the holidays are time limited!
Tips for Coping with the Holidays– Resolve Fact Sheet
When attending parties
Do – Be selective about what you want to attend and plan your time while there.
Don’t – don’t feel guilty about not participating in everything.
When visiting family / friends
Do – spend time with people who don’t have children, consider arriving late to avoid child focused times.
Don’t – try to make others happy at your expense, give into guilt or go along with things because they are tradition.
When attending celebrations
Do- the things you like best and begin new family traditions.
Don’t – pretend nothing is wrong
Share your feelings
Do –decide in advance how you want to handle difficult or embarrassing questions; rehearse your answers.
Don’t- be caught off guard!
Lending a helping hand
Do – volunteer or try to help others in need.
Don’t – close yourself off to positive feelings and new experiences.
Stay tuned to your partner’s feelings/needs
Do –Set aside time for each other, share your feelings and give each other emotional support!
Don’t – get caught up in the activities and forget about each other!
Compiled and Summarized by Nancy Adler, PhD. Dr. Adler is a Licensed Psychologist in private practice, who has worked with fertility clients for over 20 years. She specializes in woman’s health issues, marital counseling and fertility concerns. Her office is located at 5583 Murray Street, Suite 210, Memphis, TN 38119. Please call her office to schedule an appointment; she can be reached at 901-682-7388.