Coping techniques at Christmas, by Dr Silvia Moreno Golmar

Last week we published an article about how amazing it is that doctors and clinics are recognising the importance of looking after their patient’s wellbeing. We heard from the head of the Psychology Unit at Clínica Tambre, Dr. Silvia Moreno Golmar, about some of the most common patient fears and anxieties that she hears in her clinic. She also told us that Christmas can be a very tough time. Here she offers some coping techniques for those who are feeling the strain. 

It’s ok not to be ok during Christmas: some words for those who are on their fertility journey and for those surrounding people in the process. (Maybe forward this article to your mum or aunties!)

The Christmas season has arrived and so have family dinners, corporate events, and plans with friends. These special dates usually lead to celebration. To joy. To having a good time. However, when someone is going through hardship, the end of December becomes bitter and the desire to celebrate can disappear. 

Infertility doesn’t affect everyone in the same way. Nevertheless, these words. are meant for those who think they can relate, for them to not feel alone.

Emotions must be normalised, not ignored. If you feel sad this year, it is understandable, but your needs are a priority. If you are upset and don’t feel like going to an event, just don’t go!! Too many times, in order to please other people, we end up creating a hard time for ourselves. Why should you go to a party, full of people drinking and asking awkward questions when all you want to do is stay at home, with a hot chocolate and a good movie. Do what feels right for you and stop thinking about everyone else’s needs. Decline the invitation and just tell them you already have plans. It might feel awkward sending the message, but you will feel far more awkward being at a party you don’t really have the emotional strength to be at. 

Be aware of your emotional health though. If eventually the difficulty of conceiving hinders daily life, and you find yourself cutting yourself off from everyone, it’s advisable to ask for psychological support and guidance. You need to make sure you have as much a  sense of balance as you can during this difficult time.  

If you are a friend or relative of someone struggling to conceive, remember that each person deals with their emotions in a different way and at different times. Your friend or loved one may not want to open up and talk about how they are feeling. Respect this, and instead, simply have compassion. In psychology, the term compassion is widely used, which far from having to do with pity, consists of exercising a deeper understanding than empathy. It means connecting with the emotions of others or one’s own. 

“If I know someone who is on their fertility journey who has not yet achieved pregnancy, what do I say?”

I get asked this question a lot, but there is no right answer because every situation is different. Developing empathy always works. If you ask how they feel and the answer is: “I feel very sad,” don’t just say “It’s ok” or “You’ll get pregnant sooner or later”, but instead, reply with “I’m sorry. If I can do something for you, just let me know.” We shouldn’t meddle and we shouldn’t come up with suggestions such as “Have you considered adoption?

Being there as a support figure without insisting or pressing is the best attitude we can have.

Whether you are trying to conceive, or you are a friend or loved one, of someone trying to conceive, we wish you a peaceful Christmas and hope that you spend the holidays just as you want to.

If you are struggling over the Christmas period, reach out to the amazing TTC community who are no doubt feeling the same as you. Remember, you can also drop ivf Babble a DM too. You are not alone.

 

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