How to Cope with Infertility at Thanksgiving

How to Cope with Infertility at Thanksgiving

When the holidays are approaching, it can be a very trying time for a lot of people for various reasons. Many people are going to have a tough time with the holiday season due to losing a loved one, having a miscarriage or a stillbirth, or losing a good friend. Many people will have a hard time during the holidays when they are facing financial hardships, or who have been newly divorced, and for those facing infertility. Claim Your 20 Free Pregnancy Tests – Click Here

The holiday season can be especially hard for couples who are facing infertility and have been facing infertility for a long time. Especially during the Thanksgiving holiday when that is the day that people need to be thankful for what they have in their lives.

And, this is a big struggle for couples that are facing infertility, because they are not going to be feeling all that thankful based on their struggles, trials, and tribulations that have been facing.

How to feel thankful struggling with infertility

These couples who have done everything they could in order to increase their chances of getting pregnant are going to be feeling incredibly upset during this holiday season.

They will be reflecting on the moment that they decided they wanted to start trying for a baby. They are going to be thinking about how they did the right things in order to increase their chances of getting pregnant by having a prenatal checkup by the doctor.

They are going to be thinking about how they reduced their caffeine intake, tossed out booze, tossed out sugar and refined carb foods, and how they quit smoking or quit doing drugs in order to make sure that they increased their chances of not just getting pregnant- but carrying a healthy baby.

These people also did everything they could to stick to the fertility-friendly diet and had invested time and money for a dietician to help guide them on how to maximize their chances of conceiving. And, these people even gave up other bad habits so they could get more sleep, and invested in yoga and meditation classes because they wanted to reduce any feelings of stress that they had.

What did I do wrong?

Additionally, these women also charted their cycles, and their partners tossed out their briefs and tight-fitting jeans and started wearing only boxers and loose-fitting cotton pants instead. And, these men had to stop taking long hot showers as well, and had to take shorter lukewarm showers.

The bottom line is that these couples that struggle with infertility are going to not just reflect on how they did all of the right things that would help most people get pregnant. Or, these couples who desperately want to have a baby but have been struggling due to PCOS, endometriosis, low sperm count, and other conditions that may have already been recognized before the year was up.

That said, they are going to also reflect on having their first appointment with their fertility specialist after not being able to conceive whether they have been trying for a year.  Or in some cases, these couples may not have been trying at all due to knowing that they have a condition right away that affects their fertility.

And, all they will think about are the constant poking and prodding, the constant bloodwork, and having to deal with awful side effects from fertility drugs. And, the men will be thinking about how often they had to masturbate in order to provide one sperm sample after another. And, they are going to reflect on the money that they spend on fertility drugs, or failed IVF or failed IUI procedures, and will worry how they will pay their lenders back.

Failed IUI or IVF procedures for infertility

When you sum this up in a nutshell, it is easy to say that couples who have struggled and struggled to conceive for a long time will be dreading Thanksgiving. And, to make things even more difficult for some of these couples is that they are going to be around family members that have babies and young children who had conceived them quickly- and did not even do everything they could to maximize their chances of conceiving. Or, if they have a pregnant family member joining them for Thanksgiving who constantly complains about morning sickness, aches, pains, and fatigue. When infertile couples see this, they cannot help but become bitter and jealous.

However, the problem is that Thanksgiving is a holiday that happens once a year that involves celebrations, big dinners with friends and family, and it also involves counting their blessings. And, infertile couples must learn how to cope during a difficult holiday such as Thanksgiving.

Fortunately, there are tips that these struggling couples can utilize when that difficult time comes up. Let’s take a good look at these right now.

They Must Take Care Of Themselves And Not Worry About Everyone Else

Couples that face infertility that is surrounded by family members or friends who have babies and children, and who are pregnant are going to be facing plenty of reminders that they not only are struggling to have what these people do- but seeing these children and pregnant women will be overwhelming and will trigger their grief.  

That is going to happen and it is not avoidable. And, when this does happen, these individuals can most definitely excuse themselves to rest in another part of the home. Or, if they are living in a warmer climate or if the day happens to be mild and bright, they can excuse themselves by taking a walk for a while outside so they can burn off their pent-up anxiety, sadness, and frustration. They can walk it off, cry it out, or go into the basement to punch the punching bag for a while- whatever works for them, they must do.

That is because the worst thing that they can possibly do is to stick around and stay in an uncomfortable setting in order to not offend anyone. And, if any other family members become offended by this, then they are the ones that must learn to be compassionate and empathetic because towards the struggling couple.

And, even though taking time away from the family is important for these couples to do, they must also vent their frustrations out.

Talk About Their Feelings And Grief

Many infertile couples struggle within because they feel that it is no one else’s business about the fact that they are struggling with infertility. However, even though they have a valid point, they also must be able to vent out their intense feelings of sadness, anger, and frustration to someone who they can trust and relate to on some level. Even though crying and working out is beneficial for purging their feelings, they must also talk to someone who they know will understand or can empathize.

This is another reason that fertility clinics have therapists because struggling couples need to talk out their frustrations and learn how to cope- especially during the holidays. And, especially during a holiday like Thanksgiving where you are expected to be thankful for what you have.

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Reflect On Their Blessings

Those who are struggling with infertility or other painful challenges will struggle to find any blessing in their lives because their challenges are taking up their thoughts. And, this is another challenge in itself that infertile couples will be facing. If you ask any infertile couple that has been going through unsuccessful rounds of IVF and has spent more money than they make on failed treatments what they are thankful for- that will cause them to draw blanks- at first.

However, what they need to do is dig in deeply and find anything that they can be thankful for without anyone making them feel that their challenges are trivial.  If they really struggle to find what their blessings are, then they can start with the fact that they have a home, jobs (even if they don’t like it), have food, and have some caring friends and family members in their lives. That is definitely something to be thankful for.

And, if they have a beloved pet, sometimes they need to be reminded that their special furbaby is definitely a reason to be thankful as well. Additionally, they can be thankful for the fact that they can still sleep in on weekends, and go out on weekend evenings without having to worry about babysitters.

Reflect On Their Blessings Despite Infertility

That said, even though they desperately want to have kids and have been trying so hard to make that happen without any success- they can definitely look for the silver lining right now about the fact that they have freedom. The point is, everyone can find something they are thankful for during this holiday season- despite their challenges.

Start New Thanksgiving Traditions

Every family and every individual has some kind of Thanksgiving tradition. It may be a unique tradition or maybe the common one with spending the holiday with friends and family. And, for couples who are struggling with infertility may have a much easier time only spending a little time with friends and family – just enough time so they don’t appear rude, and then after that they can do something that will not remind them of what they are missing out on- which is that baby that they desperately want and have been trying for, unsuccessfully.

That said, they can do things such as volunteering at the local food bank to feed those who are not lucky enough to have a home to come to. They can also start a new craft that they would be interested in trying such as painting, creative writing, or anything else that they would enjoy doing on Thanksgiving. This way, they will have a reason to look forward to the holiday instead of dreading it.

Volunteering at the local food bank

They can also utilize support groups for infertile couples, and there is a good chance that a Thanksgiving dinner has been set up by those who are running the group. That would be an ideal situation, however, they will still have to compromise between having Thanksgiving dinner with the group and their families.

Be Honest With Their Families And Friends About Why They Can’t Join

Some infertile couples may not be comfortable with completely getting out of family functions because they fear the consequences by being told that they were wrong for not joining. However, these couples should not feel that way because they have a very valid reason not to want to join their friends and family members where kids and pregnancy could be involved.

And, for couples who feel that they cannot cope with a setting like this will need to be upfront and honest with their friends and family members about why they do not plan to join them for Thanksgiving this year, anyway.

Even though their infertility struggles are personal, they may need to be completely open and honest about what they have been enduring. And, they need to be honest about the fact that they are not only in a mood that is not even close to being festive, but they must be upfront about how seeing babies, young kids, and pregnant women are upsetting.

They will risk offending someone by making this announcement, but this also goes back to the first tip that was mentioned- they need to take care of themselves and not worry about anyone else. Infertility struggles are raw, especially if it has been happening for years.

Share With Infertility Support Group

That said, they can dread Thanksgiving a lot less by joining members in their support group that will be hosting a Thanksgiving dinner or meal. At least they will not be having to face pregnant friends and family members, as well as babies and little kids. And, this type of Thanksgiving will help them see their blessings a little more clearly, and they will be with people that they can relate to as well.

That all said, even though the holidays are a difficult time for infertile couples- especially Thanksgiving, there are many ways they can cope, and if they utilize any of the tips suggested, it will make their holiday a lot more easy to handle.

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Dr. Renee Hanton, MD
Dr. Renee Hanton, MD | ConceiveEasy
Dr. Renee Hanton is ConceiveEasy's Senior Physician with expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of infertility. Dr. Hanton specializes in the endocrine causes of infertility, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).