The holidays can be a tough time for couples who are struggling to have a baby. It might seem like you’re surrounded by happy families and wide-eyed kids everywhere you turn. We want you to know it’s OK to not feel OK.
You are not alone. In fact, 1 in 8 couples will experience infertility. Here are some tips to help you navigate this not-so-joyful season.
Go Easy on Yourself
As you work through the challenges of infertility — diagnostic tests, treatments that may include medication, surgery or other procedures — you can expect to feel a rollercoaster of emotions. That’s especially true if you’ve gone through an unsuccessful round of IUI or IVF, or even a miscarriage.
Your emotions are likely raw, so you may be extra sensitive to seeing photos of your cousin’s cute new baby, or watching your nephew open gifts at your family’s holiday gathering. If you’re not feeling strong enough to smile and make conversation, don’t beat yourself up. It’s OK to excuse yourself or leave the party early.
Acknowledge difficult feelings as they come up. Talk with your partner about them. Cry if you need to, but don’t feel guilty. Infertility is a medical condition that in many cases can be treated effectively, and you are not doing anything wrong.
Also, resist the urge to compare yourself to others who seemed to get pregnant at the drop of a hat. Your journey is a unique experience to you, and it doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s.
The challenges of infertility are often misunderstood by people who have never experienced it. Don’t expect your friends and family to know what to say. They may mean well, but you may want to consider talking about it with others who have gone through similar struggles instead.
Join a support group, or ask your doctor to recommend a therapist with expertise in this area. A great resource is RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. Visit Resolve.org for more information.
Do things that make you feel good, whether that’s reading a romance novel, listening to music, getting a massage or doing yoga. Sometimes, just getting yourself moving is a great mood elevator. Ride a bike, take a walk or lift weights at the gym.
Another great way to get your mind off your struggles is to volunteer with local nonprofits, such as homeless centers or animal shelters. Many of them need extra support this time of year.
Have a game plan when you come face to face with one of your “triggers.” If you see a mom changing her baby at the mall during your holiday shopping, or you find out your friend from college is pregnant when the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, recognize the sadness, anger or jealousy you may be feeling, and find a distraction. Go to a different store or pull your partner out on the dancefloor.
Most importantly, don’t get discouraged. With the proper support and expert treatment, there’s a good chance your family dreams will come true sooner than you think. Be kind to yourself, and remember that we’re here for you every step of the way. Call us (502) 897-2144.