How to find holiday joy when you’re facing infertility
The holiday season, with Christmas, Kwanzaa and Hanukkah, is a time of joy, celebration and love. When you are going through infertility, however, the happiest season can be one of painful reminders instead. Yet there are still ways you can find joy in the holiday season while dealing with infertility.
Do things you enjoy
The holiday is supposed to be joyous, so why not do things that bring you joy? Take the time to do seasonal activities you love, like relaxing by the fire or baking dozens of cookies. Try to remember the things you loved about the holiday season before you started infertility and focus on those.
You can also use the holiday season to take a trip with your spouse. A romantic getaway to a tropical destination will get your mind off holiday sadness and give you some great memories.
Just say no
There are some holiday events you know are going to be painful, such as children's plays or family events with tons of kids. It is OK to decline when you know the experience will be hard to get through. Don't feel guilty about declining; your friends and family will understand. If they don't, they will get over it! You need to focus on protecting yourself this season.
Prepare for questions
If you do attend a family get-together, be prepared for some intrusive questions. They are going to be difficult and insensitive most of the time and usually the person asking doesn't realize it. Prepare safe answers beforehand and aim for honesty. Explain to friends and family what you are going through. Also, show your appreciation to loved ones who are supporting you during this difficult time.
Spend time with your spouse and friends
You don't have to rely on family celebrations to make up your holiday season. Focus on spending time with friends who are also childless, or the friends who are supportive of you and can get a babysitter for the night.
Also, you want to stay in tune with your spouse's feelings during the holiday season. Share your feelings and allow your moments of sadness to flourish in the safety of each other's company. At the same time, keep supporting each other and reminding each other to find joy during the holidays.
One of the best ways to experience pure holiday joy is to volunteer. You can volunteer at holiday events that help the homeless or the elderly. Being able to help others who are also struggling with finding happiness this holiday season will bring everyone more seasonal joy.
Focus on the future
This is the hardest step for most people to take. Try to focus on a future where the holidays can be the time of joy you are desiring. Embrace positive thinking and allow yourself to hope during the magical season. This might even mean you embrace all the kids running around the house and spoil them rotten, imagining a time when you can do this with your own children. Being positive about the future and giving back will bring you a better mindset and holiday happiness.
Depending on your infertility journey, some of the steps may work better for you than others. Remember, taking care of yourself is most important. If that means missing out on some usual holiday traditions, allow it. Make new traditions, find joy in other places and remember that the holidays are for everyone, not just families with children.
Image: Grace's Favours/Flickr