Coping with Infertility this holiday season!
Sunday, December 20th, 2020
The holiday season often symbolizes a time of joy and happiness. But this time of year can also be very difficult for couples who have been struggling with infertility and going through assisted reproductive treatment (ART) like IVF.
The focus at festive time is often on children and families, However, if you’ve been struggling to fall pregnant or undergoing fertility treatment, the end of the year can serve as a painful marker that you have not achieved what you had hoped for this year. All of this can bring up unwanted feelings of sadness, frustration, jealousy, anger, and grief – and with a barrage of festive mementos and occasions around you to remind you that you’re not pregnant.
To those going through an IVF protocol, there is so much to consider. Timings, meds, schedules, appointments.
Below are some tips on how you can manage the festive season while coping with fertility issues and undergoing treatment.
Above all, feel the love
festive time is where some of us are lucky to be afforded some time off. If energized to do so, catch up with those friends who make you feel truly happy and at ease, read the book you've been meaning to, take advantage of those early dark nights and snuggle on the sofa with a film on.
Trying to conceive, undergoing IVF, can swiftly make you feel less and less like you. For whatever reason, and maybe for no reason at all. The festive season could be a good time to indulge in the things you love if it feels like a long time since you last did that.
Don’t judge yourself
You are 100% allowed to feel jealous, upset, angry, desperate, lonely, blameful, perhaps even more so at this time of year. The important thing is to feel your emotions, don't label them or judge yourself on them. You are human. It is allowed. Voicing them can sometimes help but only if you feel able.
Follow Healthy Guideline
Try to follow healthy guidelines: Eat wholesome meals, get many hours of rest and sleep, and use distractions such as movies, holiday light displays, phone calls to trusted and empathetic relatives and friends.
Remind Yourself That Treatment Is Temporary
Remember that treatment, although presently all-consuming, has a timeline. You will not be an infertility patient forever. This is a temporary situation and challenges in your life/lives.
Take some time to reflect on your IVF journey so far, and perhaps think about your plans for treatment moving forward. Is there anything you could do differently next year? What are your expectations, and do you need to adjust these at all? Do you have questions to discuss with your specialist? Perhaps even think about how much longer you think you can continue with IVF treatment before needing to pause and reassess again.
Reflect on your own, with your partner or a support person. You could try using a journal to write down how you’re feeling, record the questions you may have, or come up with a list of pros and cons to aid future decision-making.
Assemble your support team
If the New Year is going to bring with it a round of assisted fertility perhaps use some of that weird week between Xmas and New Year to consider who you are going to need around you during that time.