Finding Gratitude at Thanksgiving During Infertility
At RMA Long Island IVF, Thanksgiving is a special time. It reminds us to be thankful for the patients who trust us with their medical care. We don’t take lightly the magnitude of that responsibility and how much is riding on the outcome for our patients. We’re also thankful for each other. Many members of our team have been working together for 20--or even 30-- years and are like family as well.
If you’re struggling with infertility, it can be difficult to be happy sometimes. And it can be even harder to be grateful when you may be feeling cheated or frustrated.
Thanksgiving is not a child-focused holiday, but it still brings the stress of being together with family members who not only may have the children you long for, but who sometimes ask intrusive questions about your baby-making plans. Just anticipating those nagging questions—even if they don’t ask them--adds an extra helping of holiday stress.
Thanksgiving is the first of several winter holidays where multiple parties and holiday dinners with friends, family, and coworkers put infertile people in a difficult situation. The repeated forced and fake happiness can be exhausting and stressful--which also doesn’t help the conception goal.
We aren’t trying to serve up toxic positivity. We get how maddening those “Think positive--it’ll happen!” cheerleaders—however well-meaning—can be. But if you don’t feel particularly happy or grateful right now, maybe these four thoughts can help you tap into a little buried gratitude. Just something so you can feel slightly less bitter about the frustrating hand you’ve been dealt.
This won’t last forever. No matter how an infertility journey resolves itself – – whether through the birth of a child, adoption, fostering, or living child-free – – the journey will ultimately end. While it probably doesn’t feel like that now when you’re in the throes of it all, it will not always be the way it is today. And often, the ending is a happy one. Knowing there is an end-- while not knowing when or what it will be—is still something to be thankful for.
Find something positive from the journey. Finding something to be grateful for related to your infertility journey may help. Maybe you became an advocate for new legislation or negotiated better fertility coverage in the workplace or got a better job to access better benefits. Maybe you’re thankful that you found the right fertility clinic for you, or you absolutely clicked with your doctor, or bonded with a special nurse, or met a new friend in the waiting room or at a group support session. Some of our patients make life-long friendships—and their children grow up together. But these things only happened because of their infertility.
Remember your soulmate, if you have one. It’s so easy to take our partners for granted. It’s human nature to lash out at those we love most in hard times. But at this time of year, if you are lucky enough to have the right person by your side, take a moment to be grateful for them. Battling infertility together often makes strong couples even stronger. Remember, the family you are hoping for has already begun-- with the two of you.
Break the silence to gain support. For many who have kept their infertility struggle a secret, Thanksgiving may be a good time to tell the extended family gathered around the table that you’ve been struggling with infertility. Of course, it’s always a personal decision if and when to tell people, but some patients say they were grateful for the chance to unburden themselves of the secret and get their loved ones’ support.
At RMA Long Island IVF, we understand how overwhelming infertility is for our patients and know that sometimes professional help is needed. If the burden is interfering with your ability to cope with life’s daily demands, we encourage you to consider our individual and group counseling. Bina Benisch, M.S., R.N. specializes in counseling and supporting those undergoing all phases of infertility treatment. Contact the office today for more information.
Everyone at RMA Long Island IVF wishes you and your family warmth, peace, and the support of family and friends this Thanksgiving.