Infertility is an invisible disease that so many suffer alone and in silence. The holidays often expose pain and suffering. It is challenging to go through every day with constant reminders that you do not have a baby. Going through the holidays is ten times worse.
Giving fake smiles you are obligated to present at family functions and holiday parties when all you want to do is cry is difficult to handle. The joyous melodies you hear on the radio and in malls when your head is full of thoughts of what if this treatment does not work. The obligation to buy presents for everyone when you know you are heading to the clinic in a few short weeks to start treatments which will cost you thousands of dollars. The holidays are supposed to be a time to immerse in hope and happiness; but unfortunately for those suffering from infertility, the holidays can add hopelessness. Here are some tips and tricks for surviving the holiday season.
1. The Truth
Saying the truth will set you free is an accurate statement. Many people, hide their stories and situations from their families and friends because they may feel embarrassed or ashamed. My question is; if you were diagnosed with diabetes, colitis, or crone’s disease; would you share that with others? The answer most times is yes, so why is it that we hide or shy away from sharing a fertility diagnosis? I encourage you to disclose your truth and situation. I encourage you to be transparent and in doing so, you will not only feel lighter but you will educate others. Let’s help curb the stigma that is embedded in infertility.
2. Say No
It’s okay not to be okay. It’s okay to remove yourself from situations you know will be detrimental to your mental and physical health. Surround yourself with positivity and people who love and support you. Try your best to hold on to the holiday spirit. If you are having a bad day and cannot put yourself in a situation that you know will be triggered; Say No.
Self- Care looks different for everyone. Whether it is a massage, reading a book, exercising, getting a pedicure/manicure, walking your dog, journaling, or baking cookies—take that time. The holidays can be full of hustle and bustle, jumping from one plan to another. You can get lost in it all which can make you feel overwhelmed. Make time for you and your partner. Do things that bring happiness and calm.
4. Give to Others
Infertility is lonely. Studies have shown that the psychological impacts and as powerful as the physical ones. The holidays are a time of giving and spreading joy- many families, children, and elderly are struggling over the holidays, just as you are. Your struggles may be different, but the feelings are similar. There is a connection between happiness and the performance of selfless acts of kindness. Giving to others is known to activate an area of the brain linked with contentment and the reward cycle. Feelings of hopelessness, loneliness, stress, and worry; can be elevated by giving your time and resources to others. Your acts of generosity will increase your levels of happiness.
You are not alone in your feelings. There are so many other people who are walking along the same journey. The holidays may not have turned out how you envisioned them this year, but do not lose hope. There are situations you can control in life and ones you cannot. Infertility is one of those situations. With a bit of science, a lot of hope, and the magic the holiday season brings; next year may be the year where you hang that extra stocking on your fireplace.
Fertility Friends Foundation is here to make a difference!