Handling the Holidays during Fertility Treatment

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The holiday season is a time to rejoice and celebrate life with family and friends. But for six million American couples facing fertility issues, the holidays can be particularly difficult.

“Although holidays are a wonderful time for families to be together, those times also can be a stark reminder to those without children about the difficulties they are facing in their attempts to conceive,” says Pamela Madsen, Executive Director and Founder of the American Infertility Association

For example, holiday parties are often the times when well-intentioned guests or family members may inquire about a couple’s childlessness, being unaware of their fertility anxieties. For couples experiencing infertility it can be a good idea to  work together to anticipate potentially stressful or emotionally difficult situations and resolve how they will handle those situations if they occur.

Ways to Cope with the Holidays

To avoid the awkwardness inherent in these types of situations, couples may want to decide whether-and how-they want to share information about their fertility treatment.  The goal in planning how to respond to inquiries is to ensure that neither partner feels compelled to share information that he or she is not comfortable sharing.

Many couples choose not to attend holiday functions. While this may work for some couples, you may want to think carefully about whether this is a good option for you. Some couples find such avoidance strategies actually increase their stress levels.

Other couples undergoing fertility treatments may decide to take a break during the holiday time instead of trying to maintain the often rigorous treatment schedule at such a busy time of year. For some couples this break can reduce stress making it easier to enjoy the holidays. For others, however, a break from treatment may cause more anxiety. Think about what option is best for you and discuss this with your doctor.

Madsen advises couples to remember that there are many resources available to help cope with fertility issues during the holiday season. Resources such as those presented  at www.ivfauthority.com can provide couples with valuable information about infertility and its treatment as well as ways to cope with the emotional and physical difficulties of getting pregnant.

Tips for Coping with Holiday Stress

Here are some suggestions for coping with stress brought on by the holiday season:

  • Seek short-term professional counseling. Couple’s therapy may help some people cope with emotions that can arise during the holidays.
  • Find a support group in your community where you can share your feelings and experiences.
  • Join online e-lists and discussion groups, such as the American Infertility Associations’ message boards where you can communicate with others going through the same thing.
  • Check out alternative therapies, such as yoga, massage, and other relaxation techniques.
  • Make the holidays special for you and your partner by starting new traditions just for yourselves.
  • Get regular exercise  Eat right.  Sleep well.  Don’t let the holidays zap you of your health, especially during fertility treatment.
  • Keep a journal as a place to share your thoughts and emotions.
  • Remember, you are not alone.
  • Make yourself happy during the holiday season.

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