This post is about dealing with infertility during the holidays.
I was nervous about visiting our large, eager, outspoken and VERY fertile African family (lol) but my husband, my dear dear husband did something that I am eternally grateful for.
Without me knowing, he contacted all of our family members to explain that it was a tough time for us and that no one is to ask me about babies. Everyone respected his request and no one brought up babies or pregnancy.
BLESS THAT MAN!
Because of my husband’s residency schedule, we didn’t host or visit any family last Thanksgiving and Christmas, which turned out to be both a blessing and a curse.
On one hand, I was thankful that I didn’t have to face anyone or answer any questions. On the other hand, it was so so lonely.
Husbae was hard at work most of the time. I didn’t even decorate.
With all of the losses we had endured, I wasn’t exactly in a jolly mood and frankly, I just didn’t feel a sense of family when we had lost two potential members of our family.
Now, another holiday season is coming up.
I am very familiar with the anticipation, anxiety, fear and dread that comes with knowing the holidays are getting close and you don’t have any positive news on the baby subject.
Let’s support each other!
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Infertility during the holidays sucks for so many reasons!
A | The embarrassing questions.
They’re demoralizing and humiliating and discouraging.
At worst, it reminds you of the pain and at best, it makes you feel like your worth is wrapped around your ability to reproduce.
I wish people realized that so they can stop asking “when are you having children” (read below for some really good answers).
B | The holidays are about family and infertility can make it hard to feel like a “real” or “complete” family.
I’ve struggled with this feeling every Thanksgiving and Christmas.
When you’ve lost a pregnancy or haven’t even gotten pregnant, it can be tough to even feel like a “real” family. My husband often has to remind me that we are a family, just the two of us.
Even then, I catch myself thinking “what’s the point”?
C | Family functions involving everyone else’s children can be torture.
When you don’t have any or have lost one, it’s so painful to sit there and see children interact with their mothers and fathers and wish you could just share in that experience for once.
D | All I really want for Christmas is a baby!
Gifts lose their flavor, don’t they?
It’s like yeah thank you so much for this Keurig but do you know what I really want? A baby! Do you have one of those under the tree?
All of these things (and more) can make you dread the holidays (or really any family get together).
Unfortunately or fortunately, the holidays are inevitable.
They will come and you will have to cope.
Here are some really good tips (if I do say so myself):
How To Cope With Infertility During The Holidays
1| Have your partner (or a family member) run interference for you
Like my husband did, ask someone to say something on your behalf.
Let people know that it’s a hard time for you and your family and that the greatest gift that they can give you is their kindness and discretion.
Make sure that you and your partner enter any event with a united front, having discussed what you want to share and who you want to share it with.
2| Prepare & rehearse a scripted reply for any baby-related questions or comments
Sometimes anxiety comes from knowing that you will encounter situations or questions that you don’t have an answer for.
When you’re mid-dinner and someone says “you’re drinking a glass of wine? Aren’t you guys trying to have a baby”? You might feel more comfortable (and less awkward) if you’ve already rehearsed something to say.
My favorites are “it costs zero cents to mind your business”. JUST KIDDING LOL!!
I usually say something like “In God’s time” or “As soon as I figure it out, I’ll let you know“.
My husband likes to reply with “When it comes, it will come, we’re not worried about it“.
Sometimes we just blame it on his job and say that residency takes up too much time for us to conceive right now.
You can also try “we’re still practicing” or “we’re working on it“.
RMANetwork has a great list called “30 of the Best Responses to “When are you going to have kids“.
Get inspired (and please comment below to let us know how this tip worked).
3| Sit the occasion out or Attend for a limited time
Sometimes, you’re just not strong enough and THAT’S OKAY!! Celebrate the holidays by yourself and call it a day! The stress isn’t good for your well-being anyways. The trick here is to check in with how you feel, but also, check in with your brain.
If you know that withdrawing will cause you to feel more sad or spiral into depression and ultimately do you more harm than good, then instead of sitting it out, you need to PUSH YOURSELF to surround yourself with family and friends even if the fear tells you otherwise.
Check in with your heart and your mind and do what is best for you and your spouse.
4| Take a treatment break over the holidays
If you’re getting fertility treatments like IVF or IUI, you can consider taking a treatment break over the holidays.
These treatments are extremely taxing to the body and emotionally draining. You can take a break for a month or two to give you and your partner time to recuperate and release all of the pressure and tension. When you get back to it, you’ll likely be more relaxed and stronger mentally.
5| Do something different (other than family gathering) for the holiday
Take a trip or do charity work!
No one’s gonna be saying offensive things when you’re exploring the Christmas Markets in Germany or reading books at the local orphanage.
6| Take a social media vacation
All the family holiday photos with the matching dresses and pajamas? Sometimes it just breaks your heart. And then you feel doubly guilty because you want to feel happy for others.
Completely ditch that internal conflict by taking a social media vacation and focusing on the blessings and love in front of you.
Come back when you feel stronger or during New Years when everyone’s talking about their resolutions.
With these 6 tips, I hope that you can better navigate infertility during the holidays.
I pray that you find serenity, healing and love despite infertility.
I hope that your family and friends respect your journey and surround you with comfort & encouragement.
Finally, I pray that the struggle of infertility during the holidays does not prevent you from appreciating the true meaning of Thanksgiving and Christmas.
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