The holidays are a wonderful time of year, but they can also be difficult for people struggling with infertility. At SRM, we hear from many of our patients about the emotional challenges they face during the holiday season.
If you’re struggling with infertility and feeling uneasy about the holidays, please know that you’re not alone. Such feelings are natural and to be expected. We offer you our empathy. We also sincerely hope that you can still find ways to experience the joy of the season, despite infertility.
In that spirit we offer the following suggestions for making the most of the holidays.
Take back control
Struggles with infertility often produce feelings of powerlessness and vulnerability. These feelings can be especially painful during the holiday season, with its heavy focus on children and family. It’s important that people coping with infertility find ways to take back a sense of control during the holidays.
Find things to do that are truly enjoyable and rejuvenating for you, whatever that might be. For some, it’s experiencing the joy of giving through volunteering or donating to those in need. For others, it’s taking a special trip with their partner or spouse, or just spending quality time together. We encourage you to look at the holidays as an opportunity to celebrate the family you’ve created so far and to create new traditions that are meaningful to you.
Avoid emotional triggers
Give yourself permission to avoid, or at least minimize, situations that might trigger negative feelings. Being proactive about identifying situations and activities that are likely to be emotional triggers, such as child-focused events, can help. For example, if it’s part of your tradition to attend a Christmas church service, consider going to a service that is not geared toward children, such as a midnight service on Christmas Eve. Coping with infertility is difficult – be kind to yourself when making choices about how to spend your time during the holidays.
Honor your losses
If you’ve experienced the loss of a pregnancy or a baby, the holidays can be especially painful. Feelings about loss that are usually kept at bay can suddenly surface during gatherings and celebrations with family and friends.
Again, this is natural and to be expected. But the holidays also offer an opportunity to recognize and honor our losses. Many of us have a break from our usual activities, such as work and school. Rather than try to fill that time with more activities, consider viewing the break as an opportunity to take time to honor your loss in ways that feel meaningful and healing for you.
The holidays are a time of giving to others. It’s also important to give to yourself, especially in ways that are soothing and rejuvenating. Whether it’s spending quality time with your spouse, partner or a close friend, or taking a special trip, nurturing yourself is especially important when you’re going through the emotional stress of infertility. Practicing this kind of self-care is a true gift you can give yourself during the holidays.
All of us at SRM hold you in our thoughts and wish you a wonderful holiday season.
SRM offers counseling resources for patients who are struggling with infertility. If you would like more information about the counseling we offer, please talk to your nurse or physician or call us at 877-777-6002.