Navigating Holiday Blues While Coping With Infertility: Strategies and Support
Posted on December 15th, 2023
The holidays – a time of year filled with cheer, shopping, cooking, and attending gatherings. However, for those struggling with infertility, this season can also intensify the focus on daily reminders of that struggle. The simple joy of seeing a child visit Santa or opening presents can be heart-wrenching when every child reminds you of your struggle with infertility. While surrounding yourself with family and friends during this season, it is important to take care of yourself.
As a member of The Prelude Network®, the leading network of fertility clinics in North America, Aspire Fertility has a deep understanding of what you may be going through during the holiday season. As part of our collective mission to meet and support the needs of every fertility patient wherever they are, here’s a list of tips to help anyone who’s struggling with the holiday blues.
Identify, Label, and Honor Your Feelings
While the holidays are often filled with expectations of joy and jolliness, it’s crucial that you not hold yourself to the unrealistic standards that you “should” feel happy because it is the holiday season. Instead, reframe the “shoulds” to acknowledge that you may feel increased sadness during this time.
Your fertility journey is full of emotions. It is important to identify and label those feelings and what is causing you to feel that way. It is okay to take time to cry and express your sadness. Holding your feelings inside actually takes more mental energy than releasing them. Give yourself permission to feel whatever emotions are present and accept that this is exactly the place where you need to be in the present.
Seek Childfree Forms of Celebration
If family events are too painful, skip them and plan activities for you and your partner. Trips out of town or even a “micro-adventure” to a local hotel allow you to celebrate and explore something new together.
Give Yourself Permission to Say “No” to Invitations
It is okay to be selective with events you choose to attend this season. You may not feel comfortable around too many babies, children, and pregnant women. You may not want to have to field questions about your own fertility. Your close family and friends will understand.
If you have an event that you MUST attend, make a plan for a “safety net.” Enlist your partner or a friend to stay by your side to help navigate painful conversations, to provide a supportive shoulder, or to give you a break to talk freely during the event. Anticipate questions about your plans for having a family. Planning will help prevent being caught off guard. You do not have to disclose all the details, and having a rehearsed answer eases the discomfort of these exchanges.
Give to Those in Need
Spread some cheer to others in your community. Visit an elderly relative or volunteer at a local hospital, nursing home, or homeless shelter. Bringing a smile to the faces of others with holiday blues can have a gratifying effect.
Do What Soothes You
During the times when you do not have to appear happy, friendly, funny, and charming, let yourself be the way you feel. Pampering yourself goes a long way to help you get through a situation. Get a massage, buy a new book or an article of clothing, or spend the day watching movies in bed. Whatever feels good, do more of it!
Take a Fertility Break
If you are scheduled to undergo fertility treatment over the holiday season, it might be worth placing them on hold until the stress of the holidays passes. A small break does not negatively impact the success of the treatment and can even provide a much-needed emotional break.
Seek Fertility Support in the Right Place
It is completely normal to feel stress with the holidays and struggling with infertility. Reach out to your support system and tell them that you are having a hard day. Ask for a real hug or solicit comfort through any means that would be soothing. However, if your struggles are impacting your ability to perform daily activities, you should reach out to a professional for support.
From all of us at Aspire Fertility and The Prelude Network®, we hope this time of year brings hope and comfort, wherever you are in your fertility journey. If you’re dreading the holidays and would like to talk to a specialist about infertility, we warmly invite you to contact our fertility clinics in Austin, Dallas, McAllen, and San Antonio. Happy holidays!