Who doesn’t love the opportunity to crowd into grandma’s house where there’s too little seating and too much prying into your personal life? Funsies! If you’re dealing with infertility, these family gathering may be stressful events that lead to uncomfortable conversations with friendly, well-meaning relatives. You may also find yourself sitting next to your Fertile Myrtle cousin or listening to a big announcement that your sister-in-law is pregnant. Here are seven tips for managing this holiday.
- Have a prepared response. Assume someone may say something to you about having children. With your spouse, decide ahead of time what your response will be. It can be something simple like, “Having children is something we’re thinking about.”
- Offer to help. If you’re busy setting the table, getting drinks ready, or pulling things out of the fridge, you’re less likely to get accosted by your aunt who wants to know when you’ll have a baby. It’s difficult for someone to corner you when you’re moving around and helping prepare for the meal.
- Don’t be afraid to change the subject. When you’re in a conversation that’s getting into territory related to pregnancy and you feel uncomfortable, you can always switch the topic. Try something like, “Hey, I’ve been meaning to ask you…” And when you redirect the conversation, make sure you’re giving the other person a chance to talk about something positive in his or her life. It’s a great way to move past the subject of your efforts to get pregnant.
- Recruit a partner. If you’re fortunate enough to have a family member who is aware of and understands your struggles, ask that person to help you avoid sticky conversations with too-nosy relatives. They can steer the conversation clear of your ovaries.
- Ease up on your eating restrictions. When we were preparing for our fertility treatments, I did my best to improve my diet, cutting out most carbs, sweets, and processed foods. You can give yourself a reason to look forward to the family feast if you choose to ease up on the restrictions for this one meal. You don’t have to go crazy and eat three of everything, but you can allow yourself to indulge in Aunt Margaret’s biscuits or your mom’s pumpkin pie.
- Create an escape plan. If you begin to feel overwhelmed, know what options you have for escaping the situation. Maybe you can go for a walk. Perhaps you can start up a game of Uno with your cousins. Think of some ways you can engage in a mind-clearing activity that will help reduce your stress.
- Give yourself an opportunity to unwind. Be ready to reward yourself with something special as a post-Thanksgiving treat. Maybe you go home to binge watch your favorite show. Or you take a long soak in the tub. Plan to do something to reduce the stress after the family gathering.
What strategies have you used to handle Thanksgiving and other family gatherings?
Top image via Flickr by cardamom
Image of person walking via Flickr by j0sh (www.pixael.com)