20 Dec Navigating Holiday Gathering During Fertility Treatments
It’s that time of year again, which can be one of the most stressful seasons for individuals and couples pursuing fertility treatments.
The combination of an extra-busy calendar, a season that seems to focus on the “joy of children” (can you say “trigger?!?”), and the non-stop lineup of family gatherings – rife with questions you don’t want to hear or answer – can make you want to hibernate until after the new year.
5 Ways to Survive The Holidays When Coping with Infertility
The good news is that all things are passing, nothing stays the same, and holidays continue to roll around year after year. So, while some of these non-traditional suggestions may seem hard to imagine, we promise you that you’ll have the opportunity to go traditional again whenever it feels right for you.
Here are our five tips for navigating holiday gatherings during fertility treatments.
1. Get out of the events altogether
If you feel like you’ll be “surviving” holiday gatherings rather than looking forward to or enjoying them, you’ve already elevated your stress levels. We say take a year off and get out of the obligations instead.
Go through the holiday event calendar and cross off anything that isn’t an automatic yes. If you have to please sniffles or not feeling well – so be it. However, staying home and relaxing for one year will do you far more good than harm, and you can make it up to everyone next year.
2. Be honest
If you’ve shared your struggles with your family and friends, be honest and let them know you need to prioritize fertility health. And, for you, that means bowing out of some or a portion of festivities. Ask them to be flexible and hold an open invitation – without any negative backlash if you have to cancel at the last minute. Sometimes, people are far more understanding than we give them credit for once they understand where you’re coming from – and how the holiday events affect you.
Another “be honest” tactic: Let people know that you don’t want to talk about infertility or fertility treatments at all. This is good to practice because once you’re parents, you’ll need to create spaces for kid-free talk to keep the romance alive! Informing them the subject is taboo ahead of time eases the way. Or, share 12 Things Not to Say to Someone With Infertility for a more objective angle.
3. Take a phased or “holiday light” approach.
Maybe you leave some space for getting to things late or leaving early this year. Consider getting together for the Holiday Eve moments, but skip the ones on the actual day. You might attend holiday services with the family at your church, synagogue, or religious center – but skip the get-togethers afterward. You may choose one event and ditch the rest. Or, speak to your grandparents, parents, and in-laws about going early for a quieter, smaller “holiday time” with them, escaping before the crowd arrives.
4. Play a festive version of ding-dong-gift-ditch
Instead of attending the events, put together your gift packages and play a holiday version of ding-dong-ditch. Leave the gifts or holiday goodies on the porch with a note that you can’t be there this year but want to spread the love, joy, and cheer – – and then turn your phone off so you can relax in peace.
This prevents you from engaging in stressful “But whyyyyyy???” conversations beforehand. Any resulting conversations can happen in a day, or two, or a week.
5. Go on vacation or undercover
If you can afford it, we’ve seen that getting away and changing the scenery altogether is a great way to escape all the madness. This puts you far away from the traditions, making it easier to absolve yourself of any guilt or “should haves.”
On the other hand, if fertility treatment costs have overextended the budget, use the undercover approach. Tell family and friends that you’re going on a secret, digital-free getaway for the holidays this year. Say it’s your holiday gift to one another and then give them the dates (which conveniently time with the bulk of the holiday festivities).
The good news: you won’t be lying. The only difference is that you’ll be taking a “staycation,” and the “getaway” means you’ll get away from all the shoulds and have-tos that stress you out. Get yourself a pair of cozy holiday pajamas, make a list of the movies you’ll see, the games you want to play, and create fun holiday menus that you make or have delivered. Keep the phones off so you’re truly disconnected.
Bonus Tip: Create a Couple Exit Code (if you don’t have one already)
Sometimes, people dread the holidays only to find they enjoyed themselves more than they thought or that a specific get-together wasn’t as stressful as they imagined. What you dread in this moment may feel more compelling when the date or time arrives.
Give yourself the ability to be present and see how you feel in “real-time.” If it turns out you need to get the heck out of there, give your partner the secret code. Knowing you have one might be enough to help you stick it out longer than you would have otherwise.
Fertility Center of Dallas Wishes You A Peaceful Season
The Fertility Center of Dallas understands how challenging this time can be. It’s a rollercoaster ride, and it’s your job to hang on with the most stability and peace as possible. Do you have questions or need support? Contact us. We’re here for you.