It’s that time of year again when store shelves are stocked with pumpkins, turkeys, Santa apparel, tinsel, ribbons, lights, and so much more. For many struggling with infertility, the holiday season can be one of the most difficult times of the year. The holidays are supposed to be a time to be with family and celebrate, but it can be heartbreaking being around other families when you’re struggling to build your own. This heartbreak is only made worse when you’re bombarded with questions about when you plan on having kids or people asking why you’re not pregnant yet. You could avoid these questions, but infertility is a very sensitive matter and it can be difficult to know whether to tell your family and friends. If you’re debating whether to share your struggles before the holiday festivities begin, consider following these tips from our infertility specialists.
Do what’s best for you. You may have heard this tidbit of advice a thousand times or this may be the first time you’ve heard it, but it’s essential when dealing with infertility. Some people will understand your struggles and others will not. You are under no obligation to share every detail of your infertility or even tell anyone at all. The choice is yours. You alone get to decide how to feel and how to deal with this season of life.
Decide who you want to share your struggles with. Share them with the world or only a select few individuals. The main benefit of sharing is getting the support you need. Use your best judgment to determine who in your life will help you handle the emotional and physical stress of infertility.
Plan out what to say. Decide what details to share and what to keep private, and give your friends and family actionable things they can do to support you. Do you need calls, hugs, or do you need them to keep quiet until you start another conversation about it? Your friends and family love you but they may not know what to do or how to react. Explaining your wishes and feelings will make it easier for them to know how to respond and will ensure you get what you need.
There are many benefits to sharing your infertility struggles with your friends and family such as the outpouring of support and understanding you’ll most likely receive. Sometimes you need to avoid family gatherings or not answer awkward questions or just breakdown and it’s nice to do these things without the need for explanation. However, it can be difficult to share without knowing how people will react or if they’ll understand. In our experience, we often find the benefits far outweigh the risks, but just remember to do what’s best for you.