Infertility is a painful and challenging problem among many American couples. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly 6 percent of the female population aged 15 to 44 is infertile, while 12 percent of women of the same group struggle with getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy. While dealing with infertility problems is hard enough, many couples find their pain is exacerbated by the joys of the holiday season.
Birthdays are about individuals. Independence Day is about patriotism, barbecues and fireworks. The holiday season, for many people though, is about the kids. From handcrafting ornaments to writing letters to Santa, it seems the entire season is aimed at bringing joy to children. This can make an already sore topic nearly unbearable for those struggling with infertility. Read on to learn how you can avoid the sore spots during the holidays and enjoy your time with loved ones.
Cherish Your Loved Ones
The end of the year is a time to love and appreciate your friends and family through gift exchanges, holiday celebrations or just quiet time spent with loved ones. When extended family is thrown into the mix, though, it can often feel like every activity and conversation revolves around the family children. When do they need to have a nap? Which kid-friendly movie would they like to watch? Do they have enough room at the kids’ table?
Rather than deepening the hurt by spending every waking moment with family members fussing over children, take some quiet time to be with your significant other and show love and appreciation for each other instead. Exchanging gifts, going on dates and decorating your home together will help reinforce your bond while taking your mind off of children.
Volunteer for Children’s Causes
If your home is feeling a bit too empty for comfort, you can dedicate your time and effort to a good cause that improves children’s lives. Try volunteering for a charity focused on child well-being. You can offer to tutor kids in school subjects, become a Big Brother or Big Sister or even become a scout leader for your local troop.
No matter which organization you become involved in, you’ll have the opportunity to mentor and interact with kids, which may brighten your holidays and help your world feel a little more complete.
Avoid the Interrogations
Perhaps one of the most difficult things about the holidays for many couples struggling with infertility is having to constantly tell family members why they don’t have children yet. Though the societal expectation is changing slowly, most Americans still believe the next step after settling down with a partner is having children. They may not intend to hurt your feelings, but parents, cousins and grandparents peppering you with hints and questions about your family plans can really put a damper on the holiday cheer.
Above all else, remember that you have a right to say as little or as much as you feel comfortable sharing. If you would like to share your struggles with your family, set boundaries for who they can tell and how often they ask about your progress with treatments. If you choose not to share, complete but simple answers are all you need. Try ending every line of questioning with a polite but firm, “No, we don’t have children.”
Make Other Plans
For some couples, the pain is too much to really enjoy being with the entire family, especially if there are children running around and nosy aunts and uncles dropping hints about your future family. In those situations, it’s perfectly reasonable to inform your family you won’t be joining them for the holidays.
If you’d like, you could plan a holiday get-together with the adult members of your family a few weeks in advance to reassure them you care, but let them know you’ve made other plans for the day-of festivities. You can instead opt for a party with friends who also struggle with fertility or stay in for a quiet evening with your significant other.
Grow Your Family with Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine
Becoming a parent is one of the most humbling and thrilling experiences a person can have. While it may come easy to some, it may be a struggle to conceive for others. When infertility problems rear their ugly heads, it can feel like the world is filled with constant reminders of the pain.
Luckily, those struggling with infertility can seek advanced medical treatments from their local CCRM to help them build their family. Our caring fertility professionals will assist you with outlining your family goals and determine the most effective treatment options to help you achieve them. If you’re ready to grow your family, contact us online or call (844) 539-0628 to schedule your appointment today.