Tips on navigating infertility during the holidays

Tips on navigating infertility during the holidays

​Navigating the holiday season while dealing with infertility can be emotionally challenging. You already have so much on your plate from scheduling and attending appointments, time off work, and the every day heaviness of infertility. Finding ways to set boundaries and prioritize your well-being becomes crucial during this time. In this guide, we’ll explore effective strategies tailored for the infertility community, offering insights on maintaining emotional balance, managing social interactions, and crafting boundaries to ensure a peaceful and supportive holiday experience.

It’s okay to set boundaries:

It is totally okay to decline invitations for holiday parties if you (or your partner) feel that it will have a negative impact on your mental health. The holidays can be a particularly challenging time for those struggling with infertility or going through fertility treatments as this is typically a time to reflect on the past year, which has likely been difficult as it may have taken longer than you expected to create your own family. Being around family and friends with children may bring out emotions that you weren’t expecting (grief, resentment, jealousy, sadness, anger). Your emotions in these situations are completely normal and valid. If you are noticing an increase in anxiety and depression over the holidays (or anytime) please reach out to us and we can discuss available resources. Therapy can give you the tools to help navigate these complex emotions during this time.


Communicate with your partner:

Have a conversation with your partner or best friend before any holiday gathering and come up with a list of questions that are “off limits” and you don’t plan on answering. It is a good idea to get on the same page so that you each stay within the other’s comfort zone when discussing your personal fertility journey with others. You can decide on a “safe word” or a specific emoji to text that would signal to your partner (and vice versa) that you are feeling uncomfortable and want to leave. Use your partner as a source of support. I’m guilty of this myself, but we all assume others know exactly what we are thinking and how we are feeling but it’s important to communicate our needs out loud to our support people.


Make your own traditions:

You and your partner could come up with a fun new tradition to do together during the holidays, something you could continue once you have children. This will give you something to look forward to doing together and a way to connect with your partner. I always tell my patients that I prescribe them “joy” during the two week wait, and that prescription also applies to the holidays. Do things together that bring you both joy and happiness, this doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. It could be as simple as a date night at your favorite restaurant, making a homemade ornament, or watching a holiday movie together – just something that allows closeness between the two of you and can take your mind off your fertility struggles.


Be informed! Prepare your responses:

Inevitably, well-meaning family members and friends are going to ask you questions about your future plans to have children. This seemingly innocent questioning can take a major toll on a person or couple struggling to get pregnant. Sharing your fertility struggles may then bring about unsolicited fertility advice and suggestions. My advice is to come up with a set of prepared responses if asked a question about your fertility. Choose who you plan to share your fertility journey with and come up with prepared responses to potential questions. Discuss these topics with your partner to make sure you agree on what you are both comfortable answering and what topics are “off limits.”