Facing Family during the Holidays

Family gatherings are always difficult for individuals struggling with infertility.  Gatherings around the holidays are even more stressful, making even a small gathering may seem gigantic.  The last question you will want to discuss is “when are you planning on starting your family?”  If you are looking for some tips on how to cope with the various family questions, here are a few examples:

  • Be ready for the “When are you having children?” Question:  The answer to this question is never easy.  If you have not informed this person of your infertility struggle, you could simply say “we are just enjoying our time together or the single life, at the moment.”  Don’t forget, you always have the option to politely excuse yourself from the situation.
  • Don’t go: This may sound harsh, but it also may bring you (and your partner) inner peace. Although, it may be difficult to not attend a family function; keep in mind that guilt trips are very powerful; don’t give in.  You need to focus your attention on you (and your partner.)
  • Come late, leave early: Alternatively, if not going isn’t an option, you could always arrive late and leave early. This option will limit your time around family and may help to avoid those dreaded, awkward conversations. Coming late and leaving early will also allow you to plan other things for the day. You could use this time to spend with your partner, whether it be a date night or just a movie night at home on the couch.
  • Schedule post-event recovery time: If you know that a family function is going to be particularly stressful, be sure to take the time to relax and decompress after the family event. Self-care is extremely important and it is easier to carry out these practices if they are scheduled. Some examples could be grabbing dessert with your partner after the event, a “vent session” with your best friend, or heading to the gym to get frustration out. Whatever you feel will relax you and put your mind at ease is best.
  • Be forgiving of yourself: It is extremely important that you realize feeling guilt, sadness, jealous, and anger are normal feelings for anyone going through a personal struggle.  It means you are human, and have real feelings – feelings that just about every couple, who has struggled with infertility understands.

Most importantly, make sure to set aside some personal time.  Spend a few minutes, hours or even days, to pamper yourself (and your partner). This will help you recharge your mind and spirit. RMAPA wishes our patients happiness during the Holiday Season and throughout the upcoming year!