How to navigate the festive season whilst undergoing fertility treatment
Christmas and New Year is traditionally full of joy for families excited to share the festive period with their children and family. However, for the 1 in 6 couples in the UK who are struggling with infertility, Christmas can be a painful reminder of what they don’t have, together with the worry of ‘time’ and another passing year.
For couples undergoing fertility treatment this December, some thoughtful planning can help to reduce the sadness and stress and increase your chances of not just surviving, but enjoying a Merry Christmas.
Dr Venkat, Director of Harley Street Fertility Clinic provides guidance on how to gracefully navigate this Christmas:
- Put yourself first: trying to put on a ‘happy face’ while you may be hurting on the inside is perfectly normal. Be selective about the invitations you accept to parties —especially those where there will be lots of babies and children. Remember, that you don’t have to accept every invitation and it is ok to put yourself first.
- Create health boundaries: Swap your glass of wine for non-alcoholic beverages at Christmas parties. Instead load-up with vitamin-bursting seasonal produce such as cranberries, chestnuts, cabbage, parsnips and even the humble brussel sprouts!
- Challenge negative thinking: If you’re feeling negative, challenge this thinking. Watch your inner monologue, the more you tell yourself something, the more you’ll think it’s true, so it pays to be watchful and find joy in the things you do have.
- Practice ‘self-care’: December is a notoriously busy time, and can leave you feeling pulled in all directions. It’s important not to over-extend yourself, set aside some time for you and your partner and focus on your relationship, remembering why you got together in the first place and preparing yourselves for the journey ahead. Why not sign up to a few yoga classes during the busy period – it’s a great way to de-stress, as well as helping to prepare your body for pregnancy by increasing circulation to the reproductive system.
- Be prepared to answer ‘insensitive questions’: childless partners often attract misjudged or inappropriate curiosity from family members and friends leaving you struggling to cope with insensitive comments. But, preparation is key, practice a few evasive answers ahead of time so you’re not caught off guard. Discuss and agree these with your partner and make sure that you are both on the same page with your messages. Take charge; it’s fine to be polite and somewhat vague and then chirpily change the subject.