No doubt about it, the holidays can be stressful. With holiday parties, family obligations and crowded shopping malls, the busyness of the season can leave little time for peace and reflection.
If you are trying to conceive, it can be a particularly difficult time. You’re not alone – three in 10 patients experience severe anxiety, depression, and stress as a result of infertility.
To help you get through this difficult time, we asked for advice from people who have been in the same shoes. When we asked the Fertility Centers of Illinois Facebook community how they got through the holidays with infertility, this is what they had to share:
“Shopping for others…I try to sponsor a child. Usually someone I know who is having a difficult time.” – Raziya
“Just lay low and try to keep busy. It’s not always easy to get through it”. – Lynnea
“Bake, bake, bake…” – Rosio
“When I was struggling I just tried to stay with the groups of people that didn’t have children. I tried to think about other things. i.e. Gifts for everyone, baking, working multiple jobs. Holidays are such a hard time when there is a large void.” – Sara
“Pray for those also going through infertility…we’re not alone through this difficult time!” – Sarah
If you’re looking for more ideas on getting through the holidays, we also have a 9 Step Survival Guide for the Holidays for the TTC Woman, written by Fertility Centers of Illinois’ very own Dr. Allison Rodgers for her Destination: Parenthood blog with ChicagoNOW. Her experiences as a fertility doctor and former infertility patient during the holiday season can offer a fresh perspective.
She offers advice on reducing stress, finding support, preparing for nosy questions at holiday parties, and how to shift your mindset to one of gratitude and excitement for the upcoming year.
Her first tip? Just say no.
It’s okay to say no. If there is an event that you dread, it’s okay to skip it. If you want to, skip it all. Go on a vacation or a staycation. It’s okay to not want to spend time with your family and friends if it is too painful. Sometimes it can be easier to spend time with family and friends who don’t have children instead. If there are parties and gatherings that are fun and you enjoy, do them. But always remember it is okay to allow yourself to say no.
The New Year is just around the corner, and the next couple of weeks will be over before we know it. We hope these tips bring you hope on your journey.