Feelings of infertility can be the hardest during the holidays. Family gatherings bring questions from family members. Many couples choose to announce their pregnancies. Conversations about kids can bring up emotions and heartache even if it isn't intended to offend or cause pain. Holiday card mailers make it to your door and you see how much older your family and friends' kids are getting.
As we come into this season, I want you to know that I empathize with you. The holidays can be a difficult time. I want to share five things you can do to prepare and manage your feelings, but before we jump in, I want you to remember that you are loved and you will get through this. Here are five things I recommend doing to manage those difficult feelings.
Five Ways to Manage Feelings of Infertility During the Holidays
Know your triggers.
The first thing I recommend is to make sure you're aware of what will trigger your negative emotions. If you know specific questions from family members will cause you pain, note those down. If you know that scrolling on Instagram/Facebook and seeing someone else's pregnancy announcement will sting or make you feel jealous, limit your time on social media. Before you make an action plan, make sure you have a good understanding of what can cause you to feel sadness, hurt, or pain.
Make sure you have your support system.
Infertility and miscarriage can be very isolating because of the nature of how pregnancies are announced. Outside the support of a significant other, many women end up suffering in silence without anyone to turn to. If you're going to be with family during the holidays, make sure you have people you can turn to if you feel triggered in any way. I've recommended a few ways you can find your support system in these blog posts: 5 Ways to Deal with Infertility When Everyone Else is Getting Pregnant and How to Find Community During Your TTC Journey.
Journal your feelings.
I've found that journaling is one of the most effective ways to release and process your emotions. If you're not ready to share your feelings or you're struggling to find people to share your emotions with, find a notebook and pen and write it all down. If you can, make a habit of it - something you can look forward to every day. Through this practice, you'll find that putting pen to paper about how you're feeling can 1) give you an outlet to let your feelings out and 2) allow you to understand how/why you might be feeling those emotions. Click to learn how to use journaling for infertility. Stuck on figuring out how to let yourself feel? This podcast episode is for you.
Figure out an action plan of responses you'll tell your family.
"What do I say to family members if they ask me if I'm trying for a baby?" This is a common question I get from my clients. If you're feeling stuck, here are a few responses you can file away in preparation:
“Our situation hasn’t been easy but hoping things will turn around soon!”
“We’ve been struggling but I pray that our time is coming.”⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
“It’s taking longer than expected so I’m not really sure.”⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
“We’re trying! Hopefully, it will happen soon!”⠀⠀
You can be honest, but don't feel the need or pressure to explain more than you must.
Reach out if you need help.
If you're grieving loss right now or you're still having trouble processing your emotions, please reach out to a specialist for help. I've made myself available this holiday season, so I can help you start the healing process and come up with an action plan. Please do not feel like you have to suffer through this alone. I have been there, and I know how crippling it can be. I'm here for you, so please schedule a call with me if you need someone to chat with.