If you’re dealing with infertility depression over the holidays, try these tips for coping. Not getting pregnant is hard at any time of the year, but it can be worse at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
It is a little sadder not to have kids — not to get pregnant — over the holiday season, and my suggestions below won’t erase that sadness or infertility depression. If you haven’t read Waiting for Daisy: A Tale of Two Continents, Three Religions, Five Infertility Doctors, an Oscar, an Atomic Bomb, a Romantic Night, and One Woman’s Quest to Become a Mother – the holiday season might be a perfect time to check it out. Orenstein’s book is a beautiful, insightful story of trying to get pregnant.
The “normal” angst and loneliness that many people feel during the holidays is magnified if you’re trying to get pregnant, but can’t. Even if you’re a believer, you may find it painful and difficult to trust God when you can’t get pregnant. These tips on how to cope with infertility depression may help you feel better…
Coping With Infertility Depression Over the Holidays
“Isn’t it funny that at Christmas something in you gets so lonely for – I don’t know what exactly, but it’s something that you don’t mind so much not having at other times.” says Kate Bosher.
Focus on the joyful and peaceful aspects of the holiday season
Infertility depression may not be so bad if you focus only on the holiday season — not on your attempts to get pregnant. When your fears, doubts, and anxieties rise up, take out your list of things you’re grateful for. Even though you’re having trouble getting pregnant, I know you are happy about some things in your life!
Think of your past memories of wonderful holidays, favorite holiday movies and books, the beauty of snowy surroundings, the taste of hot chocolate and gingerbread. One tip for coping with infertility depression over the holidays is to take control of your thoughts — don’t let your emotions rule you.
Revive your spirituality
Christmas might be a good time to return to church, synagogue, or other place that encourages spirituality. Coping with depression that results from not getting pregnant may be easier if you have a spiritual source of strength and courage. Take time to pray (perhaps with a fertility prayer), meditate, journal, or quietly reflect on the twists and turns of life…including what the future might or might not hold.
Decrease your alcohol consumption
If you’re trying to get pregnant, you probably aren’t drinking too much (or at all). But sometimes we increase our alcohol intake over the holidays, partly to dull the pain and partly to celebrate the season.
If you’re taking a break from infertility treatments or know you’re not pregnant, then you might want to enjoy a few holiday drinks. There’s nothing wrong with that – just remember that drinking too much can increase intense emotions, lower defenses, and make stress or infertility depression worse. To avoid arguments or uncontrollable emotions in front of family, friends, and colleagues, minimize your alcohol intake.
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Avoid talking about getting pregnant at parties
Take a break from talking about the stress of trying to get pregnant. Keep your conversations focused on past Christmas and Thanksgiving traditions, fond memories, family experiences and new info about the holiday season. If you’re struggling with infertility depression, try to avoid your triggers of sadness and pain.
Take care of yourself
Stress and depression levels increase if you don’t get enough sleep, don’t exercise enough, and aren’t eating nutritious foods. If ignored, these three simple factors can wreak havoc on your emotions, thoughts, and actions – which will magnify family problems. Christmas and Thanksgiving can be stressful holidays; mitigate this stress by keeping a healthy physical routine.
There’s no doubt that infertility depression over the holidays is painful and stressful. But if you find and use the coping tips that work for you, you might be able to enjoy Thanksgiving or Christmas more than you expect!
If you have any thoughts about infertility depression over the holidays, please comment below. I can’t offer advice or counseling, but it may help you to share your experience.
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May you be blessed with peace, joy, and surrender this holiday season – and the rest of your life.