Knowing how to navigate the holidays when going through infertility is difficult. It doesn’t matter if it is your first holiday season dealing with it or your 100th! The issue is, you can’t control what other people say, and most don’t understand the effect their words can have on you.
I know the saying goes “you can’t control other peoples actions, you can only control how you react”. And that is mostly true. Unless your hormones are all jacked up from a billion fertility medications, and then sometimes you really can’t control how you react (like when I chucked the frozen raspberries back into the freezer at Costco).
The holidays can be especially triggering. I know I always looked at any holiday or event and thought “I thought I’d be pregnant by now” or the comparison factor would kick in. Holidays are also a time when we see family members or friends who we may not see often, and the questions start coming.
Here are a few tips (I wish someone would have told me) if you are struggling to know how you are going to survive this Holiday Season.
How to Navigate The Holidays When Going Through Infertility: Tip #1
Set boundaries. Set them for yourself, what are you willing to talk about and what do you want to keep private. This can obviously change depending on who you are talking to, and who you feel comfortable with. My tip here is to only share your really personal details and experiences with people you KNOW FOR SURE will support and love you. Bottom line is this is your life and your journey. You get to decide what you share, how much you share, and who you share it with.
Navigating the Holidays: Tip #2
Do not hesitate to excuse yourself. This could be from a conversation or the party in general. On more than one occasion we found ourselves in conversations that I’m sure sound familiar. Something like “so who’s fault is it” or “why don’t you just do IVF” or “why don’t you just adopt” or “just relax and it’ll happen” and on and on. And most of the time the person really does mean well, and we could deflect or let it roll off. But honestly, how I responded depended on the day.
If you find yourself in a similar conversation, I would recommend changing the subject or simply excusing yourself. I wish I would have realized this sooner. There were a few times when all of a sudden I was completely triggered, and I started spiraling, and I felt like I had to leave immediately.
Navigating the Holidays: Tip #3
If it just feels like too much… you do. not. have. to. go. I am here to tell you, it is OK to miss a party. If you think mentally or emotionally it’s going to be too difficult, give yourself a pass. It may be that you know someone at the party is going to ask all the inappropriately personal questions. Or maybe there are a bunch of pregnant people going? Whatever the reason, it is okay to put your mental health first.
If you are entering this holiday season wishing to be pregnant, or struggling with loss, or deep in the trenches of fertility treatments, I am sending you all the love.
This time of year is full of celebration and joy, but it can also be so so hard. Remember to be gentle with yourself, and give yourself permission to do what is best for you.
Do you have any other tips for surviving the holidays or other events? Comment below!
You can also check out my post on how to not lose yourself during fertility treatments.
Thanks for being here!
We’ve got this!