Couples already entrenched in a fertility treatment program may find it exacerbates an already stressful season. Appointments can begin to seem tedious and time consuming. The important thing to remember in this situation, as in others, is that it’s only natural to feel these things during the holidays. After all, there are trips to be planned, activities to be scheduled, food to cook, presents to wrap and work to be done — who can keep up with it all? The reality is the season brings stress in different forms, but this stress can be managed with several key coping skills.
Sometimes, in the hustle and bustle of it all, we forget to take care of ourselves. Although not always readily apparent, this can augment stress. Treat yourself and your partner to something that will release your tension, like taking time out for yoga or a relaxing couple’s massage. Be sure to reach out to other childless couples — their parties will be adult focused. If necessary, shop for gifts online to avoid all of the mall madness. Most importantly, stay in touch with others who are experiencing the same thing. They need you the way you need them.
You know your limits — and your body — better than anyone, so don’t feel guilty about not participating in traditional family events. Don’t feel guilty about being angry or crying. These are natural, human responses to stressful conditions. Rely on your partner and address each other’s needs.
If you are experiencing feelings of sadness, depression, persistent feelings of worthlessness or guilt during the holidays, you may want to see an infertility counselor or therapist. Likewise, feelings of anger, irritation, agitation and constant worry, thoughts of death or dying, changing in appetite, trouble sleeping or loss of interest and motivation may also be signs indicating a need for professional help. Whatever approach you choose, just remember to be aware of your own personal needs and be patient, kind and understanding with your partner.
Lastly, remember the holidays will pass and a new year will soon begin.
Dr. Minoos Hosseinzadeh is happy to answer any of your questions about infertility. Please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit Fertility institute of San Diego or follow her at @FertilitySD.
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