Tips for Coping with Infertility During the Holidays

Yosemite in winter
Yosemite in winter. It may be cold and harsh, but it’s also beautiful (Courtesy: nps.com)

Along with the cool, crisp air, long nights and brisk mornings come….the holidays. Add to this a rash of mass killings, hurricanes, wildfires, downed jets and politics and what do you have? A season of especially high anxiety, magnified even more by that simple problem you’re quietly trying to solve at home: unwanted childlessness.

Stress Cracks

Having published on the topic, I am a firm believer that having cancer and having infertility are equal heavyweights on the list of life’s stressors. Very little can tear holes in the fabric of relationships as large as infertility can. Add to this the holiday spirit, complete with howling children encircling gathered families, little girls in gorgeous dresses and boys in blazers and shiny shoes, and you have a recipe for emotional disaster. Sort of like walking pneumonia that you just can’t seem to shake.

Tips to Topple Stress

Here are some meaty tips for infertile couples as the holidays draw near:

  1. Walk don’t run. Anxiety and depression, like a cold or a flu, often need to run their course. This too shall pass. You will make it, so take it slow (or slower) but take it.
  2. Make some plans. Free floating anxiety is reduced by getting control. And with planning comes control. Agree to take the next month off and start again next year.
  3. Enjoy one another. It’s amazing how valuable a hug is, or a walk with close friend or partner on a clear, cold night.
  4. Cry, laugh, scream or write. And do it with your partner. Empathy is a uniquely human experience of tremendous power to heal.
  5. Get tired. Exercise, yoga, massage and acupuncture are fabulous ways to “air out” the body and force it to relax.
  6. Be mindful. Nix the smartphone or iPad. Take note of the present moment. Quietly observe life around you. Breathe deeply like you mean it. You are a living being and not a machine.
  7. Say no to the new noise. Contain emails, reduce texts, avoid stock quotes. Multitasking generates more anxiety than it’s worth at times. Remember, we were an analog culture for thousands of years and only become “connected” a half a century ago.
  8. Partake in craft. The therapeutic potential of planting, painting, making pottery, quilting, cooking, knitting, sewing or fixing something can be enormous, especially if done for someone else.

And when it comes to that every-stressful problem of holiday gifting, remember the words of the sightless Helen Keller: “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” I know what you’re going through and I am here to help. Call or email if you need us.

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