Overcoming Valentine’s Day Challenges When Infertile
At RMA Long Island IVF, we see how infertility patients struggle through so many different holidays – – many of which are focused on the babies they don’t yet have.
So, you might think that those suffering with fertility challenges would welcome a holiday like Valentine’s Day – – focused solely on couples. But Valentine’s Day can bring its own kind of stress.
While some couples can consciously reconnect with their partners and indulge in the many standard Valentine’s Day romantic options, others can feel burdened and become more anxious by the added expectations society places on this “lovers’ holiday”.
Those without fertility challenges will never understand how disruptive fertility treatments necessarily are to the romance in a relationship. What used to be—and is supposed to be-- private and intimate and behind-closed-doors, has suddenly been thrown into the light, exposed, and placed under the literal microscope. While most prospective parents don’t think twice about sacrificing some privacy in the quest for a baby, fertility treatment can temporarily impact their love life.
Fortunately, continued advancements in assisted reproductive technologies and higher success rates for IVF can mean shorter infertility journeys for many patients. But if realizing that baby dream is taking a bit longer than expected, the daily grind of testing and treatments, semen collecting and/or timed intercourse can make it hard to keep the passion in lovemaking.
When all a couple wants is takeout pizza in sweatpants and midnight baby feedings, a Valentine’s Day focused on chocolate hearts, satin sheets, flowers, and champagne falls far short of what the heart needs. And those who are single-- by choice or by circumstance—and are unable to have a baby of their own also suffer on Valentine’s Day. In fact, having neither a partner nor a baby on Valentine’s Day can be extra painful for those who wish for both.
Ways to Approach Valentine’s Day if Infertile:
If you’re single, show yourself some love and do something nice for yourself. If you’re in a relationship, do something nice for your partner. Don’t feel pressure to make it a Hallmark holiday or to spend a lot of money. Think back on what you liked doing on Valentine’s Day before infertility and revisit that again if it feels right.
- Do a random act of kindness for someone else. You’ll be surprised how it can brighten your day as well. Consider reaching out to a nursing home, assisted-living facility, homeless shelter, veterans’ hospital, or children’s hospital for ideas on brightening someone’s day.
- Consider adopting a pet. For many, the unconditional love of a dog, cat, or other animal makes a big difference while waiting for your little bundle of joy. If you’ve been wanting a pet and have given it a lot of thought, adding a “fur baby” to your family could be a great Valentine’s Day gift to you both. Local rescue agencies are always waiting.
- Do something non-traditional! If a candlelight dinner out is not for you, there are numerous unique and interesting events on Long Island on Valentine’s Day including but not limited to: a Haunted Valentine Scream Park, Trivia Night at a Vineyard, Reiki at a Salt Cave, Cooking demonstrations, a Beatles tribute band’s “love songs” concert, a Valentine’s Day Singles Crawl, and numerous comedy shows. Some events are even free.
- Check with your employer to see if you are one of the millions of New Yorkers whose employers are now mandated to pay for up to three IVF cycles as a result of the New York State IVF Insurance mandate that went into effect on January 1, 2020.
Infertility is hard on even the strongest relationships. There will be bad days and not-as-bad days. But if the time comes where are you or your partner feel you can benefit from professional counseling, RMA Long Island IVF offers group and individual infertility counseling. Bina Benisch, M.S., R.N., specializes in counseling those struggling with infertility and has been helping our patients navigate the ups and downs of their infertility journeys for decades. Her group counseling sessions are very popular and many who participate create life-long friendships with others after bonding over the unique difficulties of their fertility challenges. Please contact the office for further information if interested.