The holidays are in full swing, it’s about to get a little quieter, and you’re likely to see some friends and family you haven’t seen in a while. This can be a great time for relaxation, self-care, and loving support, but it can also be a difficult time full of unwanted questions, others’ pregnancy announcements, and nagging rumination. Whether you’re on a journey to preserve your fertility or are undergoing infertility treatment, we wanted to send you off into the holidays with 5 messages to remember:
- Allow yourself your feelings. Infertility treatment can be incredibly overwhelming, scary, and disappointing. Freezing your eggs following a divorce or breakup often comes with anger and sadness over the loss of past plans. We often hear from Ovally patients that they feel like they should be coping better. Whenever you hear that ‘should’ creeping in, take a breath and a step back. It’s ok to be sad, scared, angry, and to mourn. Allowing yourself to experience these emotions will help you move past them.
- Know that you’re not alone. Fertility treatment can feel isolating and too personal to share with others. When Ovally founder Kathy went through treatment and shared her research and experience online, many friends and strangers responded with their stories. Her friends’ struggles were often a complete surprise, and she realized just how common fertility issues are (1 in 8 US couples experience infertility!), and how little they’re still being talked about. Remember that you’re not alone, and that there’s nothing shameful whatsoever about fertility treatment.
- It’s not your fault. “I just wish I’d frozen my eggs 10 years ago”, or “Why didn’t we try for a baby sooner?” are questions we hear so often, and the associated pain and regret are often palpable. In those moments try to remember – it’s not your fault. You had no idea you had fertility issues, didn’t expect that breakup, or couldn’t predict that it might take longer to find ‘your person’. You did and are doing your best. And we’re here to help you on your fertility journey going forward.
- Be kind to yourself. Giving yourself a break from rumination or allowing yourself some uglier feelings (e.g., in response to someone’s pregnancy announcement or engagement) can be really freeing. Acknowledge those thoughts and feelings, recognize that you’re not bound by them, and allow them to pass. Think of ways to do something for yourself – we’re not talking about mere distraction, but about something you value and may not always allow yourself. Maybe that’s a long bath, maybe it’s saying no to an overwhelming event for some alone time, maybe it’s splurging on a massage, or making time for a long call with an old friend.
- It’s ok to ask for help. We can’t stress this one enough. Nobody should go through fertility treatment alone, though asking for help can be tough. More often than not, sharing with friends or family can be a relief and place of great support. You may be surprised at who else has undergone challenging treatment and has been keeping it quiet. Consider sharing with a friend what you’re going through, finding an anonymous online community, or of course taking advantage of your Ovally coach.
We wish you happy holidays and hope they bring you relaxation, peace, and joy. Ovally and our partner clinics are staying open throughout December and are always here for you.