The festive season can be a particularly difficult if you're facing infertility or struggling to conceive. It can feel lonely and isolating and you might find yourself having to fend off even more intrusive questions than usual.
Try to remember that no matter what, your health and wellbeing is a priority. But we know it's easier said than done, so we've put together a few suggestions on how to get through December while facing fertility challenges 💜
1. You don’t need to explain why you don’t have children when somebody asks
Whether you've decided not to have children by choice, you're trying to conceive or even if you've not yet thought about it, asking someone when they're having children is very intrusive. You don't need to explain yourself or your situation if you don't want to. Here are some things you could try to say instead of answering the question:
- ‘I don’t feel comfortable talking about this with you’
- ‘This is something my partner and I are dealing with privately’
- ‘I’d rather spend time celebrating the festivities than talking about my family plans’
2. Spend time with people you love and who bring you happiness, whatever that looks like to you
Don't put yourself under more stress by spending time with anyone who doesn’t make you feel supported in your fertility journey. This can be family members who don’t respect your boundaries, colleagues who don’t know your situation and anyone who may (even accidentally) make you feel more alone in what you're experiencing.
Surround yourself with people who make you feel safe and supported. Instead of the usual big family Christmas morning, you could try to spend the morning doing things that make you feel good - either alone or with your partner. You could try book a holiday over Christmas or decide to spend Christmas with friends if you find a family Christmas quite intense.
Whatever you decide, make sure you're spending it with people who understand your situation and who make you feel good.
3. Recognise that you're going through something big
It’s important to realise that what you are facing can be very difficult and you may need more time to yourself that usual. If you find the next few weeks particularly tough, remember that those feelings are completely normal and valid. It's important to take some time out for yourself if you need because going through fertility challenges are hard at the best of times, let alone a time where there's so much pressure to be happy.
It can be helpful to take a moment to check in with yourself or your partner before and after each event. If you need a break and don’t feel like going to a Christmas party or get together, that’s okay! Your emotional health is just as important as your physical health. Let somebody know that you simply don’t feel well and take some time away to rest and recover.
4. Watch your alcohol consumption
As much as we’d love to say you should let your hair down and enjoy the celebrations, if this involves drinking a lot, we’d recommend trying to adjust your plans slightly. Whether you’re trying to conceive naturally, undergoing treatment or planning on starting fertility treatment soon, our clinical team always advise patients not to drink too much alcohol during this time.
For anyone trying to get pregnant, it’s not recommended to drink at all because if you do become pregnant, it can be a risk to the unborn baby. Alcohol can also impact your ability to become pregnant, by affecting both ovulation and egg production. It can impact sperm production and quality. So if you can, try to keep alcohol at a minimum.
5. Think about your boundaries when planning your festive calendar
When planning your festive calendar and rsvp-ing to parties and get togethers, it’s important to think about your social capacity and personal boundaries. You might want to keep busy by seeing as many friends and family members as possible or you might want to take a break from all things social by going away for a week or two. Maybe it's something in between!
It’s a completely individual choice and there’s no right or wrong answer here. Have a think about what will make it easiest to get through December and be mindful of this when accepting invitations or planning events. If you need to cancel something last minute, your loved ones will understand because they'll care about you and your wellbeing. It’s also important to think about treatment requirements - for example when you may need to take medication, so you can plan this in every day to see if it clashes with any social events.
We hope these tips and suggestions are helpful. If you have any concerns or worries about how to cope with fertility challenges, get in touch with you Fertifa Care Advisor for advice and support via the app. Our in-house clinical team are here to help and will be with you every step of the way.