Having been through fertility treatment with my own wife, I understand how awkward the holidays can be for couples faced with probing questions, inappropriate advice and sometimes just being around friends and family. Dr. Grindler–as both a mom and compassionate provider–is also very empathetic to what her patients are going through as well. Here are some tips that we hope that you may find helpful and empowering as you plan your fertile future!
–Positive redirection–the act of visualizing and verbalizing your desired future is a common technique endorsed by many therapists. By repeatedly saying what your goals are, you not only reduce your own stress but you may actually help shape your future. So a polite response to queries can be: “…we’re planning to start our family in the coming year!”
— Allow yourself to feel however you are feeling- sad, deprived, depressed, unsure. We both understand, firsthand, that infertility is a major life crisis; you are entitled to these feelings. Choose to use the holidays as a time for you and your partner to become even more of a team and present a united front at holiday gatherings. Use each other for support.
–Practice self-compassion—This is a great year to be kind to yourself and your holiday calendar. Consider passing on any specific events that you may be dreading. It’s ok to be a little selfish, not go to a party, and protect yourself from an upsetting situation. Most people don’t mean any harm; they simply don’t get it. If you need to leave a party early or arrive somewhere late; do that. If you need to skip a holiday event with family this year, skip it. These do not make you a bad person. Be kind to yourself this holiday season and put your well-being first.
–Consider lending a helping hand—Helping others in need may help rejuvenate your holiday season.
–Reevaluate your diet and lifestyle–consider steps that you and your partner can take to improve your health and fitness. Maybe now is the time to consider making better food choices or actually shedding the extra pounds that may be hampering your chances of conceiving.
–Create a “green home”–many of your household products may contain hormone disrupting chemicals that can be impairing your fertility.
–Create a financial plan–treatment can be expensive but it can also be your best path toward creating your family. So review your insurance benefits in detail rather than keeping the same one. Consider funding a medical flexible spending account. If you’re open to going public…set up a “go-fund-me” site and direct your friends and family to make donations. Here is one couple’s experience with crowdfunding for IVF.
Happy Holidays and Here’s to your Fertile Future!