Infertility can be hard anytime. But for many, it's particularly hard during the holidays. This is for a variety of reasons.
- Friends and family are posting more on social media about their cute traditions with their children.
- The stress of the holidays often leads to feelings bubbling over.
- Seeing siblings and parents reminds you that your family hasn't grown how you expected.
- Family and friends you gather with, who may or may not know your struggle, ask when you're going to have kids (or more kids).
But even at the holidays, when you're feeling the loss or lack of family particularly hard, there are some things you can do to enjoy the activities and fun that are going on. Yes, even while respecting your overall feelings.
So let's go through a few things you should remember to help you get through the holidays this year.
1. Boundaries are healthy.
One of my favorite phrases is, "No is a complete sentence." This statement is all about having boundaries. Boundaries are healthy - not selfish or mean. They are a way to communicate what you are okay with, what you're not, and that protects others from feeling that you reacted unfairly. Because of that, I think it's incredibly healthy to set boundaries during the holidays.
Is there a certain gathering you can't bear to go to? You can say no. Is somebody asking a question you don't have the emotional capacity to answer? You don't have to. Are you ready to leave, but the event isn't over? Find a place away from the party or leave. If you want to set up boundaries before an event, just shoot a text to people ahead of time.
2. Remember that the holidays don't last forever.
If you are having a particularly hard time, it's okay to bunker down and focus on yourself. The holidays don't last forever, and there are plenty of opportunities to make up for an absence during the holidays once they're over. In that train of thought, they don't last forever and you can spend some time on yourself during the holidays.
3. Write down your feelings.
Try writing down your feelings in a journal, or to a friend or loved one. Writing down your individual experience and feelings may help you process emotions better and better articulate to others how and what you're feeling. It's also a great opportunity for you to be completely honest with yourself with no judgment.
4. Remember people care about you.
When you're struggling, it can be hard to remember your worth and value to others. Many studies show that the majority of people who struggle with infertility have anxiety, depression, or both. Even when you're exhausted and not at your best, there are people who love you. Your family and friends likely don't want to make you feel bad. Whether you want to open up about your infertility or not, remember that they love you. One of the reasons you should set boundaries as discussed is so that those relationships can remain strong, without either party crossing lines the other won't be able to come back from. But either way, there are people who care about you and will be there for you if you reach out.
5. Prioritize your energy and effort.
Prioritize where your energy and effort goes. Do what is best for you, and don't apologize for something that you need to do for you. If you're charting and that's important for you, Tempdrop is an easy way to keep charting without spending a lot of effort and time on it.
And above all, remember that you're allowed to do what you need to in order to get through the holidays and you don't owe an explanation to anyone if you don't want to give one.