The festive season is almost upon us and most people around you are looking forward to enjoying their holidays being with family and friends. But it could cause anxiety for those of you who are struggling with infertility. You would rather not face the group and deal with the numerous questions like “It’s time you should look into having children” or “Your clocks are ticking and you should hurry up and have kids” or “Do you not want to have kids?” or “It’s time to take your focus away from your career and look into starting a family” and so on. Also, the thought of seeing other young couples enjoying time with their kids sends your own thoughts spiraling down into a deep abyss and so you might be thinking that you may as well try to avoid the whole thing completely and just stay at home. Isolating yourself could however feel very lonely. So, what can you do? Here are some suggestions.
- Know that what you are feeling is completely normal and that what you are dealing with can be very difficult. It’s hard to put on a happy face and be hurting inside. It’s okay to feel sad. Don’t feel obligated to go to every function or you could leave early or arrive late to the function so that it’s manageable for you. Feel free to stay at home if that’s how you feel or go away on a holiday with your spouse and spend some quality time together and just relax. You could also do things that relax you like going to a spa, going to the movies, trying your hand at drawing/painting, writing in a journal or anything else that gives you joy.
- Have smart answers prepared beforehand so that you are not caught unawares. You could tell them that you are happy and it’s your own personal choice or that you aren’t comfortable talking to them about this or that you have come to enjoy the festivities and not talk about your personal life with them. Many of them are well meaning and might give you suggestions for various diets, certain clinics, or other ideas. You could also be polite and answer with vague answers while slowly changing the topic. Talk it over with your partner beforehand about your replies to these intrusive questions. If they are being pushy and demand an answer, you could just be blunt and say that it’s none of their business. You could also just tell them the truth if you are comfortable with that and jokingly ask them if they are willing to pay for your IVF treatment. You could also just ignore/avoid them and walk away. Whatever you say and do, know that there is no right or wrong answer and you need to look after your own physical and mental wellness while trying to be stress free.
- Talk to someone close to you about what you are struggling with and how you are feeling. It often helps to air out your struggles with a close friend or family. Infertility is a taboo topic and people usually struggle with it by themselves. You will be surprised to find out that it’s quite common and could get a lot of support from others who were also in a similar situation. Surround yourself with people who are rooting for you and will stay with you through thick or thin and uplifting you in the process. You could also join a support group or talk to a counsellor or psychiatrist. Know that you are not the only one feeling this way and stop questioning yourself about why you aren’t able to have kids yet and if it’s because of something you did. Sometimes the stress of not being able to conceive could affect your relationship with your partner. Keep your communication lines open and be frank with each other about how you are feeling and why you are acting the way you are so that your relationship could grow stronger while going through this challenging time.
- Don’t drown your sorrows in alcohol or binge eating because this could make it even more difficult to successfully conceive and have children. Certain things in your lifestyle could affect your fertility like your diet, your health, your weight, stress and other things. Read up about this and look into any changes you could make in your own lifestyle to bring about a successful pregnancy.
- Stay positive and take it one day at a time. If you find your thoughts drifting to a negative place, be aware of this and move your thoughts toward all the positive things that you are grateful for. Have a frank discussion with your partner about all the wonderful plans you could make for the future if you aren’t able to conceive so that it doesn’t seem so bleak. Would you look at surrogacy or adoption or not having kids at all and come to peace with it so that you are not anxious about the what ifs.
- Try meditation or other simple exercises like walking or yoga. Breathing exercises could help you calm down and bring your thoughts to a quiet place.
- Volunteer at a charity to help take your mind off yourself and appreciate the fact that you have a lot of things to be thankful for.
Just remember that you aren’t alone in this and that many others are also in the same situation as you. Think positive and see if there is anything you can conceive successfully. The experts at Xenith Advanced Fertility Centre are there to listen to your concerns and help you to successfully navigate your journey to have children.