By Marcie Guthrie, SRM Physician Liaison
December is here which means the holiday season is in full swing. For many families, this time of year is one of the toughest to get through and is a strong reminder that something is missing. With that in mind, SRM Physician Liaison, Marcie Guthrie decided to share her personal story as well as a few tips that helped her navigate the emotional and stressful waters of the holiday season.
There are certain dates on the calendar that are a constant reminder of time gone by. A holiday is one of them. The holiday season is a time of year when families often make extreme efforts to come together, to catch up on the past year, to share what’s coming up and often to share a new addition to their family. Young, old, and brand new family members come together to celebrate the season.
But for some, and for myself, the holiday season caused me a lot of stress during those years of infertility.
I was always torn with what I felt obligated to do versus what I felt comfortable doing. The tug-a-war of guilt and self-preservation. The feelings of anxiety, stress, anger, and loss would overcome me. I felt stupid… for feeling this way. Pissed off for being such a Grinch during the holidays. “Why Me” would send me into a pity party. Then I’d talk to myself while I lay awake at night and say, “Girl, put your big girl pants on and get out there! You can do this. It will be hard.”
So I did. I put my brave face on, put my shield of armor on, put a wad of Kleenex in my purse… and got out there. And it was hard. Many days it went beyond what I was capable of.
And truthfully, many days I didn’t make it. I stayed in. I replied “no”. That was OK. I just couldn’t do it that day.
Even though it has been over 15 years since I have felt these feelings, the holidays still bring up a feeling of sadness that still creeps in my heart for all those feeling alone during the holidays, still waiting to be the family member that announces the new addition. Please know that myself and every other person that has gone through infertility is thinking of you, and so badly wants that day to come for you. That you are not alone, we have your back and we will always support you.
As for coping… these were my go to “saves” in certain situations:
Always have a person to be your “safe place” at a party/event.
This person will change the course of the conversation for you when your Aunt starts asking way too many personal questions. This person will grab you by the hand and take you to the appetizer table to show you the awesome cheese plate when you look like you have had too much of all the moms talking about their babies. This person will also see that you’re done for the night and will politely tell everyone that he/she is feeling tired and the both of you will need to head home. This person will also give you a look every once in a while to check in with you, to make sure you are doing ok.
P.S. Sometimes… you have to coach your “safe place” person on what you will need. If you have chosen this person as your “safe place”, then it’s totally ok to coach them.
Be ready and willing to say “no”.
No need for explanations. It’s OK. And try not to feel guilty. You are protecting yourself. Then do something fun and relaxing.
Be ready for the unexpected.
No matter how much you think and try to prepare for certain situations, there will always be something that will surprise you, something you weren’t quite ready to hear, see or feel. This is where your “safe person” should save you.
Bring the people you trust closer.
Reach out to them. Let them support you and love you and help you. Don’t be afraid to ask for support and help.
Click here for more tips on coping with the holidays.