The holidays are a popular time to plan fertility treatments because it’s a time when many individuals have time off from work. However, there is more to plan than the black-and-white calendar scheduling – you should also take a little time before the season commences to look ahead and create a plan for what you may need.
The holidays can provide a host of emotional triggers for individuals and couples coping with fertility. The thorns range from nosy family members who feel it’s perfectly appropriate to quiz you on your sex life and sperm count, to the hyper-focus placed on little children and happy families glowing with holiday cheer.
Plan Your Infertility Coping Strategies for the Holiday Season
It’s our hope that you can sail through the holiday season with peace and joy in your heart. There’s nothing wrong with putting together a toolkit in case you find yourself in survival mode this year.
Who have you confided in?
Who have you confided in about your infertility and the failures and successes of particular fertility treatments? It may be worth sending an email to either vent your latest stress, heartfelt feelings and confusion – so they are all updated – and then close the note with a message expressing that you aren’t interested in talking about ANY of it at holiday gatherings and shared events. Their “mum’s the word” acknowledgement can allay any fears you have about being holed up in an infertility inquisition while holding a cranberry spritzer.
Get on the same page with your partner
It’s imperative that you and your partner get on the same page about how much you will or will not be sharing with the holiday public. Be very clear and explicit regarding what you do and do not feel comfortable talking about, answering or explaining to others. If you don’t want to share anything – or the other person doesn’t want to share anything – that request should be respected. Give the request for silence the benefit of the doubt this time around and revisit it when the holidays are over.
Arm yourself with a wing person
At this stage of the game, it’s not about getting a date. Your wing person is there to fend off the curious, inquisitive, nosy and downright rude questions, comments or unsolicited advice. They are your knight – or knightess – of sorts. This person will be understanding and dedicated to the overarching goal. They will either stick to your side like glue, or slyly slink around the perimeters of your social engagements, ready to whip you away, interject or “accidentally” spill a drink on the offender. In addition to protecting you from the masses, the pact you’ve entered with your wing person will make holiday parties and gatherings more like a fun game than a dreaded event.
Schedule a meeting with your infertility counselor
If you haven’t made contact with an infertility counselor yet, now is a good time to do so. These counselors are an amazing support for individuals and couples battling fertility. Not only do they come along with the credentials and wisdom of their trade, they typically have experience with infertility and fertility treatments themselves – so they can relate to what you’re going through. Together, you can come up with a holiday survival game plan that is personally suited to where you and your emotions are at right now.
Give unto others during the holidays
Sometimes, we develop a microscopic view of the world through our own lens. This is often the case for couples struggling with infertility because your entire life is dedicated to a single cause. The holidays are an ideal time to remember that there are thousands of others out there who are dealing with their own version of pain, struggle and helplessness. Perhaps this season, you can escape from your own moment in life for a bit to give unto others who need you.
RRC wishes you and your loved ones a save and restful holiday season. And, may next year be the one that finds you holding your new little baby.