5 Tips For Handling the Holidays With Infertility
By InCircle Fertility (Sophie Dornstreich & Abbe Feder)
That time of year is upon us. Again. We know all too well that the holiday season can be rife with emotional landmines when going through infertility. Gatherings with family and friends can mean unsolicited and insensitive comments. They can also mean seeing up close and personal the less complicated family-building journeys of those close to us. It hurts.
Holidays also serve as a benchmark in the passage of time. They can be a painful reminder of where we expected to be by now. Our “by this time next year” hopes bump up against the harsh reality of how far we still have to go.
The bottom line is that the infertility experience is massively depleting and can be even more so between Thanksgiving and New Years. The only way through is to prioritize your own needs and invest time and energy into self-preservation and replenishment. It is imperative to take concrete steps to find comfort and support, whenever and wherever you can. Even small things that may seem obvious can make a world of difference, things you would likely tell a loved one to do to feel better, but you may not remember yourself while in the thick of navigating an infertility journey.
Here are some simple and effective ways to conserve energy, maintain your sanity and protect your heart during the holidays.
1. Find Your People
Especially during the holidays, your family and friends mean well, but their attempts at support can leave you feeling even more alone. Join Rescripted's free fertility support community, or find an Instagram page that really resonates. Connecting with others who have been where you are or who are on the journey alongside you will help you feel less alone.
2. Take a Social Media Vacation
Social media has a lot of advantages, but it can also be one of the most difficult places to spend time while struggling to conceive. The holidays, in particular, are like a trigger explosion on social media. From kid-centric pictures to holiday-themed pregnancy announcements, sometimes stepping away not only relieves you of the constant bombardment of stressful images and messages, but it opens up space to reclaim pieces of yourself that may have gone missing while in the trenches of your struggle. When all else fails, there is always the 'mute' button.
3. Revisit What Brings You Joy
Now and always, plan one thing each day that brings you pleasure. Take a walk with a podcast. Soak in the bath. Buy a special dessert. Take a yoga class. Infertility can steal the enjoyment out of our simplest pleasures. Take back these moments.
4. Set Boundaries
In case you need this important reminder, you do not need to put yourself in situations that will exacerbate your pain and suffering. Say no to events, in-person or remote, that you know will be more draining than enjoyable. This is not your forever. This is just your right now. Now is not the time to accommodate others at your own expense.
Additionally, set boundaries during interactions. Sometimes a simple “I will let you know when there is something to share” does the trick in shutting down a painful inquiry. Or let someone in on your struggle without sharing all the details; i.e. “We also expected things to be different. It’s been really hard."
5. Remember Self-Compassion
Self-compassion means extending care, kindness, and understanding to ourselves as we struggle. It means talking to ourselves the way we would talk to a loved one. It means treating ourselves the way we would a beloved pet.
In getting through the next 6 weeks, a little bit goes a long way. Sending you love, strength, and at least a few moments of lighthearted celebration. We are here for you.
Abbe and Sophie founded InCircle Fertility after emerging on the other side of all-consuming struggles with infertility and pregnancy loss. These experiences were life-altering and when the dust settled, it quickly became evident that the only possible next step was supporting others as they navigate this turbulent terrain. Combining professional expertise, industry know-how, and an abundance of empathy and compassion, InCircle Fertility is here to meet you wherever you are in the world and wherever you are in your journey to parenthood to provide the support and guidance so desperately needed to find your resolution.