Infertility doesn’t take a holiday, so the added stress of preparing for the whirlwind weeks ahead can leave you feeling even more overwhelmed and oftentimes sad.
Restaurants, churches, synagogues, stores, streets, and our neighbors are all in on the celebration, oblivious to our grief. So what’s a hopeful parent to do when preparing for the holidays with infertility?
Here are some tips to help you find peace and joy this holiday season, even if you’re still struggling to conceive.
– It’s okay to break away from the typical festivities.
If you don’t feel like a big get-together this year, or if you want to avoid certain holiday parties, do what makes you feel comfortable. Be selective about accepting invitations to celebrations, especially the ones where there will be a lot of children or pregnant women. Don’t feel guilty about not participating in all the traditional events. Don’t want to send holiday greeting cards this year, dreading all of those cute family pictures that will soon be flooding your mailbox? No problem! Skip this year.
– Shop strategically.
Plan to do your holiday shopping at smaller boutiques — or even online or by catalog — if you find it hard to face the constant bombardment of holiday cheer. Avoid shopping at crowded malls where families abound and scores of children line up to visit Santa.
– Concentrate on helping each other get through the holidays.
Spend time doing the things you enjoy most: preparing a delicious meal, taking long walks, jogging or curling up with a good book by the fire, seeing a show, helping others in need. You could even plan a special trip somewhere for just the two of you. Participate only in the activities that bring meaning to you at this time. Don’t get caught up in the holiday whirlwind and forget about each other. You need each other’s comfort now more than ever.
– Be prepared to answer the question, “When are you going to have children?”
Well meaning friends and relatives can sometimes ask insensitive questions, not understanding all that you’re going through. It’s a good idea to plan your responses ahead of time so that you can successfully manage the conversation, but don’t feel obligated to disclose all the details of your situation either. Some responses to consider include:
- “Not sure. So, how’s your job?”
- “Ask the powers that be, because I don’t know.”
- “We’re working on it!”
- “We’ve been trying to have a child for a some time, but we have infertility issues. I’d be happy to explain our problem and the treatment we are pursuing, since you asked.”
- “You probably don’t realize it, but that’s an insensitive question to ask. Let’s talk about something else. Isn’t this weather beautiful?”
– Remember what you are thankful for: a loving significant other, your job, pet(s), good friends, supportive family, dedicated doctors and nurses who are on your side, and more.
If you are dreading November and December, remember that the holidays will soon be over. The New Year brings a renewed hope for a successful outcome, and Fertility Associates of Memphis will work tirelessly to help create your family together.