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When All I Want for Christmas is a Baby

“When is it finally going to be my turn?” Not a day goes by that those suffering from infertility don’t ask themselves that question.

At RMA Long Island IVF, we understand that the winter holiday season is one of the roughest times of the year. The normal stress of the holiday planning, the time-consuming and costly gift buying, hosting the holiday dinner, the office parties and cookie exchanges—it’s just too much.

Infertility is like living in a bubble—present, but separate. A blur of others celebrating buzzes past in your peripheral vision while you are frozen in time just on the outskirts of it all? Unable to really connect. As if you were just stuck in a holding pattern. Waiting for it to be your turn. Waiting to join “normal” life with a baby like everyone else. So what can you do when the one gift you want is not here yet? You can improvise to help you get through the season with the least amount of sadness. Put your own needs and wants first for a change.

Here are some ways to put yourself first this holiday season:

  • Positive visualization after a good cry. Acknowledge your heartache and frustration at the waiting. Grieve it, then move forward and imagine next year being different. Not toxic positivity, but rather having nothing to lose by envisioning a happier scenario next year.
  • Take action. If possible, make or reaffirm infertility treatment plans for 2020. It’s easier to feel hopeful and more in control when you have a plan in place.
  • Check whether your New York employer is mandated to offer you up to 3 free IVF treatments in accordance with the new IVF mandate law going into effect in January. Consider a job change to an employer that is, if possible.
  • Ditch any work or personal parties or events if going would be too hard.
  • Unload the secret. If you’re carrying the burden of infertility in silence, consider sharing your secret so those closest to you can support you. It may relieve your stress to unburden yourself.
  • Spend some time with those who make you feel comfortable and happy. A Girls Night Out (or in), a massage or other stress-relieving activity. Avoid others without guilt.
  • Ask for what you need or want. Don’t be shy. Ask your partner, your boss, or anyone else who may be able to give you want you want or need. Grant your own wish, if need be.

While a baby may not be under the tree this year, if someone asks you what holiday present you want, make it count. Depending on the person asking, your response could directly or indirectly further your infertility treatment. Generous parents or grandparents might be happy to contribute to a fund for your infertility treatment—small amounts add up. Some people have financed treatment through crowdfunding sites.

If that is too uncomfortable or awkward, consider health-conscious or stress-reducing presents that may indirectly improve your fertility like: a yoga mat, water bottle, and yoga sessions; a gym membership; workout clothes; a massage; an overnight staycation hotel gift card and/or dinner certificate; healthy cookbooks, a kitchen tool or Instant Pot™ for faster and healthier cooking. Carefully choosing your own wish list can have a positive impact on your fertility. Even if your employer isn’t mandated to offer IVF, you can still ask if they would consider offering a plan option that covers it. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.

Depression can peak during holiday seasons. If you are struggling more than usual and feel you need the support of a professional trained in helping those with infertility, please contact us for more information on the RMA Long Island IVF Mind-Body Program, including individual and group counseling sessions with our experienced and caring infertility support specialist, Bina Benisch, M.S., R.N.