How to Cope with Infertility Stress during the Holiday Season
On top of the usual holiday rush of gifts, parties, family and friends, those who face infertility have an extra helping of stress. The holidays are a time to come together with those you may not see very often, and it’s perfectly normal to feel anxious about the questions and comments that can arise. Many couples and individuals who struggle with infertility dread these questions, no matter how well meaning the questioner can be. A few of these questions and comments can include:
When are you having kids?
Have you tried…?
You just need to relax, and then it will happen.
I have a friend who…
Even with the best of intentions, such comments can bring up negative feelings at a time when you’d prefer to celebrate the holiday season without being reminded about infertility. At Chelsea Fertility of New York City, we know our patients want to enjoy the holidays and get through the season with a positive mindset – especially if they are currently undergoing fertility treatment. In order to help, we’ve prepared a list of suggestions for how to cope with infertility stress during the holiday season.
Have an answer ready. You may or may not be asked whether you’ll have children, but you’ll feel better with a well thought-out reply ready to go, should the question arise. Your answer will depend on how comfortable you feel with the person asking the question, but knowing what you’d like to say can go a long way – no one wants to feel trapped into giving personal life details just because they were caught off-guard.
Choose your events wisely. November and December have a lot of potential for party overboard. It is okay to say “No, thank you” to a few events here and there if you don’t feel up to questions about your plans. The key is to be selective and attend events where you are comfortable in the environment. If you have friends or family who don’t normally pressure you for answers, enjoy your time with them. On the other hand, if you have a group with whom you’re not comfortable, it’s okay to skip those events.
Talk only when you have the need or desire. Being caught off guard by a question involving your fertility can be difficult. It’s a very personal subject, yet it’s so commonly discussed that many people feel free to dive in regardless of the other person’s feelings. Even well-meaning individuals can strike a nerve without realizing it. It’s essential that those struggling with infertility find a suitable outlet to discuss their feelings – it can be a close friend, an online forum, or a support group. Regardless of your choice, discussing how you feel after an infertility diagnosis and during treatment can provide a great deal of stress relief.