Even if you are undergoing infertility treatment
The holidays can be stressful for many reasons, but especially if you are experiencing infertility. During a season focusing on children, It can be difficult or, perhaps, impossible, to feel joy when the only gift you want is the gift of parenthood. Instead of having visions of sugarplums, you dream about decorating the tree or playing dreidel with longed-for children. You wonder if you will ever celebrate the holidays as a mom or dad or with the big family you always envisioned.
Even if you don’t feel in the holiday mood because of your infertility journey, there still are ways you can survive and, maybe also find joy this year. Here are a few suggestions.
Ditch the obligations but don’t skip the fun
There is no need to attend every holiday party if you are not in the mood. Forgo the ones that are kids-oriented or where your relatives will ask intrusive questions. Infertility treatment is stressful enough, so why add any more to your life?
However, don’t forget to have fun! Plan a couple of evenings you know you will enjoy with your partner or close friends. If you can afford to splurge, try attending that special concert or play you've wanted to see or schedule a weekend or longer getaway where you can at least ‘temporarily’ forgot your infertility troubles.
Celebrate with your infertility soul sisters
Chances are you know other infertility patients in both your ‘real life’ or through support groups or social media. Use the holidays as an opportunity to get together NOT to discuss infertility and to learn about each other in new ways. You can even do this virtually.
Have an infertility gift exchange
If a party is not feasible, you can still exchange gifts with your infertility friends, especially helpful products or services you have used but they haven’t and visa versa. Comfy transfer day socks are nice as are personalized gifts, inspiring books, and gift certificates for massages and other nurturing activities.
You have a right to your emotions. While others might try to have a perfect Christmas or Chanukah, you can be true to your feelings. Say farewell to guilt this year and let yourself feel as sad and emotional as you like.
Give yourself some self-love
Buy yourself a holiday treat you know you will enjoy. This does not mean you have to spend money you don’t have. But you can use this time as an opportunity to give yourself some self-love where you put your needs first. For example, spend the afternoon reading a page-turning book or taking a relaxing hike instead of shopping at the mall. Plus who needs to go to the crowded mall when shopping online is so much easier and less stressful?
Focusing on the positive aspects of your life can be challenging when you have experienced failures during your infertility experience. But thinking about what you have -- whether that be a great job, lovely home, supportive partner or wonderful friends – can be transformative.
There are many ways you can contribute to your community and people in need this holiday season. Even if you don’t have the best holiday this year, you can help someone else have a memorable one.
Reconnect with your partner
Make this holiday exceptional for you and your partner. Reconnect and remember why you want to have a baby together.
Look forward to a new year
Though this may have been a trying year, next year will soon follow the holidays. Try to wipe away memories of 2017 and look forward to the possibilities 2018 will offer.
Ask for help
We are with you every step of the way during your infertility journey, including in December. Sometimes, just talking to someone who understands, including one of us at HRC Fertility, is enough or you might want to speak to a mental health counselor. You also can ask for referrals to support groups organized by RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association or other resources where you can connect with fellow infertility patients.
Though it may seem like an eternity, the holiday season only lasts a few weeks. It will soon be over and a new year with new beginnings will start. The staff of HRC Fertility will be ready to bring you the best care possible and to do our best to help make your dreams a reality in 2018.