By Ed Coats, Consultant, Oxford Fertility, Part of The Fertility Partnership.
Christmas this year will be tough for us all. The pandemic and government guidance will limit gatherings and make us all think through how best to mark the occasion whilst protecting ourselves and our loved ones
But when you are struggling with infertility, the fact is every holiday and milestone is a challenge that emotionally needs to be prepared for. Christmas seems to be all about children, quickly followed by discussions about New Year resolutions and if you’re planning to start a family.
Although awareness of infertility has risen over recent years, the personal struggle and emotional impact remains. Here are six consistent pieces of advice that have helped many patients over 35 years, prepare for Christmas and other significant milestones:
Be kind to yourself
When going through infertility, its common to experience a huge rollercoaster of emotions. Be kind to yourself and remember that you can get through it and you’re not alone.
Address negative thoughts
Don’t let negative thoughts and feelings overwhelm you. Take time to acknowledge and address them. Mindfulness and visualisation exercises can help you to remember what is important, and give perspective when you need it most.
Create new traditions
It’s easy to feel like to you have to stick to inherited Christmas traditions. But in a year that has been turned upside down, why not shake things up a bit? Think about creating new traditions that will prepare you for entering the New Year in a positive frame of mind. It could be as simple as taking the time to recharge your batteries or taking on a challenge you’ve been putting off.
Christmas is a time when we focus on others. That’s great, but whilst doing that, please don’t forget about your own wellbeing. Don’t just respond to requests, actively plan your time and don’t agree to anything that makes the time harder for you.
Speaking with others can really make a difference. That may be your partner, family, close friends or on fertility forums. However also speaking with a trained counsellor can also be really helpful. They are trained to help you think about how you are feeling, process it, and give you techniques to understand and cope.
If you’re going into a situation where you anticipate being faced with questions such as ‘when are you having children?’ then plan in advance some answers to these frequently asked questions. Creating an answer in advance will help you to continue the conversation without triggering your deepest emotions.
It’s okay to not be ok! Scream, cry, express your emotions – you are experiencing feelings that almost everyone who has experiences infertility understands.
If you need any support over the holidays, drop us a line, we are here for you – email@example.com