At Kindbody, we know that the holidays can be a triggering time for anyone, specifically those in a transitional phase of their life. Well-intended questions from loved ones such as; “what colleges did you apply to?”, “when are you going to get married already?”, “when are you going to have a baby?”, can be very difficult to hear and even more uncomfortable to respond to. Additionally, holidays have a habit of highlighting the areas in your life that you feel are lacking. Even without prying questions, this time of year can be challenging for many.
We pride ourselves on being a reliable source of information in the fertility space but also a leader in the provision of care. Our team has access to some of the brightest minds in reproductive medicine and the inspiring patients that they treat. We have heard countless stories of triumphs and tribulations and have pulled together some of the best advice we have absorbed over the years for you.
Dr. Fahimeh Sasan, Kindbody’s Founding Ob/Gyn, recently led a seminar on this topic and offered some tangible takeaways on how to manage this time of year when you are dealing with issues surrounding fertility.
Here are our best tips:
- Do a dress rehearsal.
The number one tip our experts recommend is to be prepared. The worst thing about these questions is that they can sometimes be blindsiding. The surprise factor is where things can get dicey and emotional. We recommend taking a mental inventory of the characters that you will be seeing over the holidays and the comments/questions you might field. Work with your partner, friends, or trusted coworker to practice responding to these questions. Having responses scripted and ready to go will take the pressure off.
We are worth so much more than our reproductive organs. Redirect the focus to areas of your life that you WANT to highlight!
- Be present.
Being prepared will help with this tip. It is important to remember that you cannot control what Aunt Karen might ask. You can only control how you react. Arming yourself with the responses you’ve practiced will help alleviate the anxiety and rumination going on in your head and will allow you to remain present in the moment. Being present can mean many things but we like to recommend practicing gratitude. Remind yourself of the positive parts of holidays and identify what you are grateful for. This can be as small as noticing how delicious the house always smells. Taking note of these elements can help you stay present in the moment and out of your head.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself.
The holidays are hard. It’s ok to not feel ok. Even though it may seem like everyone is happier than you, it is important to remember that everyone has something they are struggling with. Give yourself permission to say no to certain obligations or questions. You do not have to attend every event or respond to every request. Own your happiness – you don’t need to twist yourself into a pretzel to fit other people’s expectations.
- Find your own time.
We know it is easier said than done to “just say no” to familial obligations. If you find yourself unable to avoid spending this time in triggering situations, make sure you carve out some “you time”. We recommend taking a long walk every day. Do not let anyone join you. Call a friend, listen to a podcast or music, and just enjoy the fresh air. This will help more than you think.
We also recommend taking a social media break. Seeing everyone’s highlight reel during the holidays can be especially triggering and exacerbate anxiety.
- Manage and reset expectations
- Rehearse your answers to difficult, nosy, and insensitive questions
- Consider a social media break
- Seek the support you need – from a therapist, your partner, or friends
- Don’t feel guilty about setting boundaries
- Don’t be too hard on yourself
- Engage in self-care (whatever that means to you)
If you’re looking for some extra support right now, our team of mental health specialists are here for you.
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