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8 tips for navigating the holidays when you are struggling to conceive

Tips from Stephanie Curran, owner of Elements of Health Centre, and Paula Anderson, nurse educator and patient support group facilitator at Olive Fertility Centre
Handle intrusive fertility questions with resilience this holiday season. Photo via iStock

The holiday season, typically marked by joy and festivity, can pose unique challenges for individuals and couples grappling with the difficulties of conception. 

Navigating through the holidays requires a delicate blend of mindfulness and clear intention, particularly when attending gatherings or events. Take a moment to check in with both yourself and your partner, recognizing and understanding the thoughts and emotions that may arise. It's essential to honor these feelings and grant yourself and your partner the permission to establish personal boundaries concerning the manner and timing of celebrations.

If you find yourself entering the season with a tender heart due to fertility challenges, consider embracing a few coping strategies infused with kindness and care to navigate this period with greater resilience and self-compassion.

Stephanie Curran is the owner of Elements of Health Centre, where she leads mindfulness programming and practices acupuncture. Photo via Jen Steele Photography

1. Keep it simple

If you are feeling overwhelmed, keep it simple by choosing just the activities and traditions that feel nourishing. Giving ourselves permission to do the minimum is such an act of grace and compassion. 

2. Know your boundaries 

You can choose the events that feel comfortable for you. If you do attend an event, it can be helpful to prepare a code word with your partner or a trusted friend so they can help initiate an ‘out’ and have a pre-planned reason for why it’s time to leave.

3. Have the courage to say no 

When faced with the need to decline attending an event, you have the option of being straightforward and honest about your reasons, or if that doesn't feel feasible or comfortable, using a gentle excuse is a considerate approach. In such cases, mentioning that you've come down with cold or flu symptoms provides a reasonable and trustworthy way to gracefully excuse yourself from the gathering without risking hurt feelings.

4. Anticipate painful questions

Anticipate inquiries regarding your family planning and be ready for unsolicited advice when interacting with others. Preparing responses in advance can help you navigate these conversations with grace and confidence. Consider using a straightforward reply like, "When we have news to share, we'll be sure to let you know." This way, you can manage the conversation with courtesy while maintaining your privacy and comfort.

Paula Anderson, nurse educator and patient support group facilitator at Olive Fertility Centre. Photo via Jen Steele Photography

5. Practice self-compassion 

Give yourself the same kindness and care that you would give a good friend. Remember that your feelings are valid, and you are not alone on this journey. Being compassionate with yourself, and honouring whatever you may be feeling, is crucial to surviving this challenging time.

6. Nurture yourself

Identify what helps you feel centred and enhances your sense of well being. Here are some things you can do:

  • Mindfulness meditation practice 
  • Walking in nature 
  • Listening to music 
  • Yoga 
  • Journaling 

7. Have fun

Planning an enjoyable getaway, indulging in a small luxury, or treating yourself to a new restaurant or a relaxing massage can give you something to look forward to.

8. Embrace a sense of joy

Sadness and joy can coexist. Embracing the tenderness within while appreciating the beauty around us becomes a powerful way to nurture our well-being. Take a pause to engage your senses—listen to the melodious sounds of birds, observe the graceful sway of tree branches in the breeze, and feel the warmth of a sunbeam through the window. Connecting with our senses anchors us in the present moment, allowing us to savor the vibrant aliveness that surrounds us.

Same Day Virtual Referral 

Olive Fertility offers patients the option to book a same-day, no-fee, virtual referral appointment referral will be sent to Olive Fertility and a member of our intake team will contact you shortly thereafter to book your fertility appointment.