The holiday season is kicking into full swing, and it can be stressful, even in the best of circumstances. For those enduring fertility challenges, you may not be feeling the holiday cheer. Not getting pregnant is hard at any time of the year, but it can be worse during the holidays. It’s okay to feel sad about feeling sad. Having these feelings does not make you ungrateful for the blessings you do have. Those feelings are real, they are valid, and you are entitled to them.
As you go through the holidays with these conflicting feelings, know that you are not alone in how you are feeling. With our clients trying to conceive naturally or with the support of IUI/IVF, we know how painful and polarizing the experience can be. Here are some tips for surviving the holidays, gathered from our own personal experiences and others.
1. Create Boundaries. Know what you can do comfortably, and what you can’t. Be selective with your invitations to holiday celebrations, particularly where you expect to find children or pregnant women. If it will be too difficult to attend, you don’t need to go.
2. Do something that you love. Write, paint, cook. Explore all the ways that you are able to create. It can really feel good. The process of creating is nourishing and healing to our emotions. In Chinese Medicine the process of creating something with your hands is nourishing and healing to our heart and emotions. The process also balances hormones.
3. Do something active such as taking a walk, or meditating on your pain. Allow your tears to flow; they are healing you.
4. Start a new family tradition with your partner. Change the way you celebrate – go on a weekend get away. Go out to dinner with friends rather than doing the big family celebration. Approaching the holiday in a new way on your own terms can make it a lot more enjoyable.
5. Help others in need. There is something about helping others in need that reminds us of a greater purpose and our connection to others. Volunteer to serve dinner at a shelter, or distribute food baskets at a senior living facility.
6. Join a support community. If you are feeling particularly isolated, it may help to join a community of people who are going through this journey as well. There are wonderful fertility support groups in the Bay Area. RESOLVE, which is the national infertility association, can be a good place to start to find out about fertility support groups in your area.