Tackling the Holidays While Facing Infertility
A Letter from Dr. Beth McAvey:
As the holiday season approaches, along with the beautiful traditions of years past, for many patients and couples facing infertility, the holidays can bring a sense of mixed emotions. For better or for worse, the holiday season tends to bring families together in gatherings, we see relatives of past time, we are introduced to new babies that were born the past year and many of the holiday events are child- focused.
It may be hard to feel like celebrating the holiday festivities when patients face infertility. I also think that the holiday season, for all people, is a dramatic marker of time. Another year passed, and a new year started. I often think about my patients during the holiday season and hope they are OK. There is not one right way to tackle the holidays if you are not feeling festive but below are some suggestions that may bring you comfort in your infertility journey during the holiday season:
Planning For Events
Take inventory of which holiday events are most difficult for you so that you can pick and choose which events you may want to attend. Give yourself permission to ditch your own plan if you aren’t feeling up to going. Sometimes, seeing relatives or old friends may lead to questions that may feel insensitive. Think about how you would answer those questions in advance. Find those people that you enjoy having conversations with and stay with them throughout the evening. Surround yourself with a good inner circle!
Holiday Mail and Social Media
The holiday season brings holiday cards which are mostly photo cards of individuals, couples, and families. You don’t have to open all holiday cards if you don’t want to. Social media may also be a trigger so be mindful of your emotional bandwidth when you open your Facebook or Instagram accounts. Some patients and couples do a “digital detox” during the holidays.
Practice Self-Care and Self CompassionRemember that 1 in 8 couples face infertility and you are not alone. Finding compassion for yourself during the holiday season is so important. Carve out time for self-care – whatever that may look like for you – and schedule it into your day just like a work meeting or another appointment. That self-care may involve exercise, taking a relaxing bath, reading or getting lunch with a good friend.
Travel and Do Things You Have Been Putting OffMany people like to travel but can’t plan regular travel during the year because infertility treatment is unpredictable and often consecutive. The holiday season is a perfect time to take a break and travel. I always encourage patients to try and live their lives fully. They should book the trip they were putting off. This also extends to other things like doing a home renovation, tackling unfinished projects, trying a new hobby, or reconnecting with old friends.
My wish for all patients during the holiday season and year round is for them to remain positive, have faith in the process, trust their physician, and believe that with persistence and an open heart to explore all types of treatment options, most patients go on to have success.
Here at RMA Long Island IVF, we are fully committed to helping patients through their infertility journey. We offer all patients compassionate, personalized care and access to state-of-the-art treatments. Our greatest success is that of our patients.
Happy Holidays to you and yours, Beth McAvey, M.D.