Infertility at Christmas
If someone in your family has not yet had children,
please consider what you may not know and do not ask.
Many of my clients experiencing infertility & other reproductive loss need extra support around coping with Christmas gatherings. They carry a dread of those intrusive, albeit well-meaning, questions relatives tend to ask, like, “when are you planning on having children?”, “don’t leave it too late”, or “don’t you want children?” Take a moment to think about what that would be like if you had recently miscarried, have been trying to conceive without results for a long time or are already diagnosed with infertility.
These questions combined with the likelihood of a new baby being introduced to the family, existing children being adored, and pregnancy announcements saved up to celebrate with the widest possible collection of family and you can see how fraught that would be for those struggling with fertility challenges. It seems doubly unfair that those suffering must be the ones to come up with a plan to protect themselves from emotional exposure with their tears so close to the surface.
Sometimes they fear being seen as ungrateful, ungracious, selfish, or just miserable. When you know that infertility can bring those struggling into an active anxiety or depression disorder, they may never have experienced before and be so severe it may require medication or an admission to hospital the gravity hits home. Some women think of ending their lives because of reproductive loss or infertility. It can erode their identity & purpose in life to that degree.
Reach out if it is appropriate for you to do so or just be quietly kind & compassionate for what you may not know. The gift of kindness is, after all, in the true spirit of Christmas.
You may also like to create a mantra to hold in mind on the day, such as, this day will end, or I am here, but I do not have to share all of me, or I can hold myself together. Carrying a special object on the day, a special stone, object or a piece of jewellery to touch when you need grounding. Remember you are not alone; it just feels like it.
One in six couples in Australia and New Zealand suffer infertility. – Fertility Society of Australia