For most people, the holiday season is full of festivity, cheer, and good times. But for couples coping with infertility, Thanksgiving and the holiday season can be a little harder. A lot of activities are very family, and child, focused but with a few simple considerations, you can get more out of this holiday season and celebrate with those that love and care for you.
This holiday season, focus on your mental and physical health, reflect on what you are grateful for and start new traditions.
Take Care of Yourself
The first and most important thing to do is to take care of yourself during the holiday season. Your own health and sanity should come first and sacrificing your wellbeing for the sake of others during the holiday season may exacerbate your stress. Take the time to do what makes you happy and healthy by:
Identifying Your Emotional Triggers
Pursuing positivity and sanity during the holiday season starts with identifying your emotional triggers. We all have things that are challenging for us and these triggers will differ from one individual to another. Whatever your trigger may be, understand it and avoid it when possible.
Remember, it’s okay to say no to invites or gatherings to protect yourself and your emotional health. If a challenging situation arises, excuse yourself or rescind your RSVP, no explanation needed. Your loved ones will understand that you are only doing what’s best for your mental health.
Talking it Out
For a lot of individuals and couples coping with infertility, talking it out with family, friends, or a professional is comforting. Don’t be afraid to turn to your loved ones for support and guidance and suggest ways they can help. Spending time talking with family may be just what the doctor ordered as you get ready to ring in a new year and new beginnings. Your friends, family, and fertility counselors are here to support and encourage your happiness.
Building a Support System
As mentioned, family and friends can be great resources to help minimize stress. But, not everyone is lucky enough to have a supportive group of individuals on speed dial. If this is the case, you may want to consider joining an infertility support group. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, out of 100 couples in the United States, about 12 to 13 of them have trouble becoming pregnant.
So you are not alone and there’s no reason to struggle in silence. Resolve, through the National Infertility Association, has a network dedicated to finding a support group near you.
Reflecting on Your Blessings
What do you have to be thankful for? Thanksgiving is the perfect time to reflect on the answer to this question and the blessings in your life. We all have things to be grateful for, it’s just a matter of exercising our brains to think of them. Take the end of the year to readjust your thinking around these good fortunes. In doing so, you may find your own ways of thinking positively about infertility.
Starting a New Tradition
While most Thanksgiving traditions are centered around family, there’s no reason why you can’t do something new! Some new traditions may be:
- Channeling your inner creativity by taking a painting or writing class
- Learning a new language with classes at a local community college
- Getting out of town for a solo weekend trip
- Getting outside and exercising on Thanksgiving day
- Volunteering at a local food bank or homeless shelter
- Having a “Friendsgiving” with your friends or support group
There are countless ways to make Thanksgiving and the holiday season your own, and starting a new tradition will put the control in your hands.
By taking the time to care for yourself, shifting your thinking to focus on the things you are thankful for, and starting your own Thanksgiving traditions, you can cope with infertility in a healthy, positive way during this Thanksgiving season.