The holidays are a difficult time when you’re in the midst of dealing with infertility. Everywhere you turn, there are children and families enjoying Santa and gifts and celebrations. If you are longing to be a parent, your grief may be triggered as your inability to do so may become more pronounced. This complicates the grieving process that is already built into infertility and the treatment journey.
Self Care is the Key
- Be gentle with yourself and consider what is in your best interest at this time. This may feel like you’re being selfish, but you are simply taking care of yourself while you are hurting. Allow the time you spend with friends, family, or alone to be filtered through what is actually manageable for you right now. It’s okay not to attend a gathering where the focus may be centered on someone who just got pregnant or has the newest baby, etc. No matter what it is, allow yourself to sit out of any celebration that seems too overwhelming. You will have many other holiday seasons to participate.
- Nurture yourself in ways that work for you. Treat yourself to a special event, massage, spa treatment, or meal at a favorite restaurant. Go out of town for a week-end or more. Don’t feel obligated to visit family or friends, especially if they are not aware of what you’re going through and particularly if these visits will introduce more stress. Choose to visit family or friends who are supportive, but remember you can still leave a visit at anytime if it becomes too much for you.
- Give yourself some grace if you become overly sensitive and emotional. You may say some things to others that you feel guilty about later. Remember, intense feelings are just below the surface for you right now and easily triggered. Lower your expectations for yourself and what you can do this season. In short, give yourself a break. Also, don’t feel like you have to explain yourself or justify how you are choosing to spend the holidays. Others may not understand, but you do not owe them an explanation.
- Remain active in support groups, your religious or spiritual community, and your individual therapy. It’s important to be around people who understand what you’re going through and don’t offer unhelpful advice or make insensitive comments.
Stacey Wald, LAPC, RD