While the holidays are wonderful for many reasons, we recognize that it may also be an emotionally triggering time, especially for those navigating infertility. You may field seemingly intrusive questions from family members and friends, find yourselves in social settings that are challenging, or feel as if you’re all alone in your journey. Below, we’ve shared some tips that may be helpful this holiday season, as well as be useful tools for us all to remember year-round.
To Anyone Struggling with Infertility:
Prioritize Mental and Emotional Wellbeing
You should never feel guilty for prioritizing your own mental and emotional health and wellbeing over trying to please others. This is your permission to say ‘no’ to familial or social situations that you know will be draining or triggering. Also remember that you don’t owe anyone an explanation if you do decide to skip out on certain events – “Sorry, I can’t make it,” is a full sentence. Take the time instead to focus on activities or relationships that fulfill you. Maybe that’s taking a walk in nature, cooking a delicious meal, reading a new book, or calling an old friend who always makes you laugh. How you spend your free time is something that you can control.
Make a Plan
Some individuals and couples struggling with infertility feel comfortable sharing their journeys with friends and family members. Others decide to keep their paths to parenthood private. There is no “right” answer, but it is important to be aligned with your partner or support persons around how much you want to talk about your fertility with others. You may find it helpful to make a plan around how you will respond to well-meaning questions about your timeline for kids.
Build a Support System
Even if you decide not to share your journey with friends and family members, there are many online support networks such as Resolve.org, IAAC.ca, or Peanut to name a few. These groups can help you feel less isolated, empower you with knowledge, and connect you with other individuals in similar situations. There are also professional therapists and counselors who specialize in treating patients struggling with infertility.
Know That You’re Doing Your Best
Trust that you’re doing your best. With a little preparation and a lot of self-compassion, you will get through this chapter.
Thank you for placing your trust in us. We’re here for you always!
In good health,
Dr. Sonya Kashyap