If you’re in the middle of fertility treatment or working toward family planning goals during the holiday season, you might be feeling some added pressure. Not only are you spending time and energy trying to build your family, but the holidays can bring high expectations for spending even more time and energy on gifts, parties, travel and other holiday-related activities.
Additionally, you might find yourself being asked for updates on your family planning status from well-intentioned, albeit perhaps noisy, friends and relatives. Here are some tips from Fertility Solutions to help you beat this type of anxiety during the holiday season:
Take care of yourself first
You’ll likely face a lot of opportunities to indulge in food and drink and miss out on healthy activities like exercise and sleep. The first – and arguably most important – step in maintaining your sanity during a busy holiday season is to remember your own mind and body. Your fertility specialist will tell you that sleep, exercise, a good diet, and refraining from drinking alcohol are all crucial to fertility and this is true. When faced with opportunities to indulge, choose to enjoy this holiday season in moderation.
Block bad thoughts before they happen
Sometimes there are specific triggers that can cause you to feel especially vulnerable when trying to balance fertility and family planning with the pressures of the holiday season. If there’s an event that will be attended by many children or young families, you can choose not to go. You always have the option of using an unnamed “prior commitment” or “professional obligation” as an excuse to skip something where you won’t be comfortable.
Another strategy for avoiding feelings of envy or worry about infertility is to avoid social media during the holidays, when photos are especially likely to overwhelm your feeds. You can also set holiday cards aside unopened. There is no reason to push yourself through one obligation after another if you aren’t enjoying how you spend your time.
Plan ahead for tough topics
The question may or may not come up: Somebody asks you, “Any plans for a baby?” Your friend or relative didn’t mean to put you on the spot. In fact, he or she probably just wanted to show an interest in your life and what they’ve missed out on. Many patients report relief in having a firm, stock answer ready. Take a deep breath, then try responding with a smile, saying, “We’ll let you know when there’s something to report.” If a friendly, casual reply doesn’t squelch the topic, you could simply excuse yourself to get a drink of water or use the restroom.
Your family planning goals are entirely your own, and status reports are not a requirement of holiday parties or time with family and friends if you don’t want them to be.
The holiday season brings a lot of opportunities for you to feel like your private fertility journey is being spotlighted for the world to see. A little planning ahead and discretion when it comes to choosing your company and activities will go a long way toward your having an enjoyable holiday season.