A new year is upon us, and if you are one of the millions suffering from various causes of infertility, you may be dreading yet another year of events that are centered on children, like baby showers, birthday parties, baptisms, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. For many, witnessing and/or participating in these festivities can be difficult, if not a source of pain.
The reality is that infertility problems are common, and you are not alone. In fact, it is estimated that 1 in 8 couples have trouble getting pregnant or carrying to term. This raw truth can cause insurmountable stress, and stress can hamper or further delay your ability to get pregnant. So, when dealing with infertility, taking a step back and adopting coping mechanisms is key.
1. Be Active
Couples dealing with infertility can go through a wave of emotions, including depression, guilt, grief and anger. You need a healthy way to release. Such emotional reactions can put strain on your relationship and wear and tear at your body, mind and soul. Activities like yoga, meditation, marathons, biking and hiking can provide balance and give you a better perspective.
2. Get Away
Taking a break from your day-to-day life can do wonders for your psyche and overall well-being. If you and your partner are feeling stressed or anxious about your infertility issues, get away. Depending on your budget and the amount of time you have, you may wish to take a day trip, a weekend escape or a week-long retreat. However long, have fun, relax and leave your worries behind.
3. Learn to Say No
There are a number of events throughout the year that may involve children, and just because you’ve been extended an invitation to all of them doesn’t mean you have to attend all of them. Wisely pick and choose which events you will go to. Remember that everyone has their limits, and there is nothing wrong with setting boundaries for yourself. If certain child-centered events make you feel uncomfortable, politely decline the invitation. To ensure there are no hard feelings, send a gift if the occasion calls for it.
And let’s say only particular parts of an event make you feel uneasy, like watching children open presents during Christmas, go later in the evening when all of the gifts have been opened and put away. Perhaps going for dinner or after the children have been laid to rest is best. If seeing children on Christmas puts you in a certain mood altogether, throw an adult-only Christmas party, or attend one that a friend or family member is organizing.
4. Think Positive
Just because you have a setback in the baby-making department does not mean that all is lost. Sometimes it takes couples several tries before they conceive. Also, in this modern day and age, there are so many options afforded to you and your partner. There are infertility specialists who are skilled at performing assisted reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilization (IVF). IVF and similar methods have allowed many couples to become parents. Additionally, there is the option of adoption and surrogacy.
5. Prepare Yourself for Awkward Moments
If you are gathering with family, or with friends who have children, there is a chance someone will ask you and/or your partner when the two of you plan to have children. The question can not only be hard to hear, it can be hurtful. Your first reaction may be to fire back or burst out in emotion. But, if you prepare yourself beforehand, you are better equipped to handle the situation should it arise.
Depending on your comfort level, you may wish to tell whomever about the struggles you and your partner have been having. There is no shame in this option. Again, many couples deal with infertility and by sharing your story, you could be helping someone else—who knows, you may find out that they too had issues conceiving. Also, if the person knows how sensitive the subject is for you, they will be careful not to bring the matter up again.
Your other option can be to deflect and say something along the lines of:
- We’re working on it
- In due time
- We are enjoying our relationship and letting things take their course. When we are ready, we will work on it.
6. Have a Support System
Don’t go through the motions alone. If you have loved ones you’ve shared your infertility problems with, lean on them. Tell them what your frustrations are and how you are feeling. They can give you words of encouragement. There are also support groups and online forums for couples around the world who are dealing with infertility. Hearing their story and sharing your own can take a weight off of both of your shoulders. You will also get the sense that you are not alone and that what you have been going through—be it physically or emotionally—is normal. You can also get tips or share tips on how to better cope with the situation.