It’s the Most Triggering Time of the Year

For so many families, the holidays are the most magical time of year. For those of us struggling with infertility, it can oftentimes be the complete opposite: the most emotionally triggering time of the year…

Buckle up, everyone. It’s almost the hardest time of the year for those of us experiencing infertility.

What the holidays are supposed to feel like this:

By Diana Card

What the holidays actually feel like when you’re dealing with infertility:

By Henrietta Harris

Thanksgiving and Christmas are both “family-centric” holidays, where kids’ tables and Santa are at the center of so many traditions and marketing campaigns.

It feels more obvious than ever that we don’t have children. That we are lacking…not enough…and even the smallest image can serve as a painful reminder of this. Every movie on TV. Every catalog in the mailbox. Every well-meaning-yet-truly-gut-punching holiday card.

It’s brutal out there.

Here’s a list of specific things that make the holiday season the hardest time for me to be infertile:

  • Adorable professional family photos on holiday cards and on your Facebook timeline and on Instagram and basically everywhere
  • Getting the Restoration Hardware Baby & Child catalog due to some sort of cruel database accident – honestly, what did I do to deserve this?
  • Seeing stockings with little names stitched on them
  • Gingerbread houses, snowman marshmallows and other cute craft ideas that you fantasize about doing with your kids one day…
  • Little voices singing little carols with misplaced lyrics at too-loud or too-quiet tones
  • Sob-inducing holiday commercials about the importance of family and the magic of Christmas
  • Seeing kids playing in the snow with their little snow pants and mittens and boots…one day praying to nag my own little ones not to track snow in the house…
  • Family members or friends looking at you all hopeful, wanting so badly for you to have good news to share…

Don’t forget to take care of yourself…do what you need to do to stay happy and healthy. Sometimes that means going to yoga instead of going to a holiday party. And sometimes that means eating too many cookies and watching Home Alone and Elf on repeat.

Do what you need to do to protect yourself. Maybe you need to rent a hotel when visiting your family to maintain some safety and good boundaries. Maybe you need to take some extra time off work. Or maybe you need to find some extra projects to keep yourself busy. Only you know what’s right for you.

Just make sure to remember that you are NOT alone.

Elyse Ash is the founder and CEO of Fruitful Fertility. It took her and her husband Brad three years, two rounds of IVF and one frozen embryo transfer to see their first positive pregnancy test which brought them their daughter, born in March 2018. Elyse lives in Minneapolis and loves poetry, hockey, social justice, Beyonce and pretending she’s into yoga.

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