Mother’s Day is one of the hardest times of the year for women struggling with fertility, and at the same time it can bring about such happiness for some.
We have written previously about coping strategies and how to handle difficult situations during holiday periods and times of the year that some may find challenging. This year, we’re adding to that with six helpful tips you may find useful.
1. Choose what you want to focus on
“If you look for the negative, you’ll find it. If you look for the positive, you’ll find it. You choose what to look for in people and life”
It’s easy to fall into the trap of focusing on the negative and facing a day such as Mother’s Day.
Your IVF journey has been the only thing on your mind, taking up all your thoughts, making its way into your dreams. It isn’t hard to focus on the parts of your life that are causing you sadness, it takes strength and resilience to move your thought process away from the negative and focus your attention on things that make you feel good. It may seem hard, but it is possible.
There are many positive aspects you can turn your attention to on Mother’s Day such as your own grandmother, your mother, siblings, relatives or even close friends who have had a positive impact on your life.
2. Avoid large family gatherings or areas with families
Social distancing and self-isolation may become your friend during this time, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sometimes spending time around others can be good for you, a perfect distraction and support network if you’re in a situation that is making you feel unhappy. Unfortunately, some family members or family friends lack that vital filter you need to get through this time of the year.
Being bombarded with personal questions about marriage, children, or relationships, whether they be innocent or not, can add a lot of stress. Insensitive comments can seem relatively harmless, but for someone struggling with fertility, it rubs a little extra salt into the wound.
However, by harbouring resentment, it not only won’t help how you’re feeling, it can often make you feel worse. If you find that you have family members or friends who tend to aggravate vulnerable situations, it would be best to avoid them.
3. Plan ahead
Making plans ahead of time can help alleviate some of the stress you may be experiencing. Planning ahead is not necessarily always a good thing if you apply it to every aspect of your life, however preparing yourself for a time that you may find challenging can make a huge difference to how you handle the situation.
If you have no option but to face a strenuous situation, whether that be with relatives who have a tendency to say the wrong thing, attend a zoom event surrounded by pregnant friends or children, it’s sensible to have a strategy on how you’re going to manage and possible how to excuse yourself if the situation becomes overwhelming.
4. Find someone who can support you if needed
Just because you feel alone, it doesn’t mean that you are.
Infertility affects one in six couples worldwide and it is becoming a topic more people are comfortable talking about. In many instances, people experiencing fertility struggles prefer to keep their situation private and often feel that it would be best to not disclose too many details about their personal struggles. That being said, having a support person to speak to can sometimes help alleviate the emotional burden.
5. It’s okay to feel sad
It’s completely fine to feel grief and acknowledge that it hurts. It’s important to know that no one is expecting you to pretend that it doesn’t hurt, and no one will be anticipating that you will be a pillar of strength during this time.
Choose someone who can be your support person for the day and let them know how you’re feeling or choose to spend time by yourself. The most important thing you have to remember is to be kind to yourself, whether that be around people or simply in the company of yourself.
6. Self-care is the key
Being kind to yourself is one of the most important things you can do during this time and faced with a situation where you feel like you have lost control, providing yourself with self-care is essential. This means being proactively looking after your physical and mental health, de-stressing and finding time for yourself so you can help cope with the emotions you may be feeling and address any doubt you may be having.
IVF can be a physically and mentally demanding journey, and whether you have a strong support network or are making the journey on your own, self-care is key to being able to cope with the process.
For more tips and advice, consider making an appointment to speak to one of Fertility First’s counsellors. Alternatively, for more information and advice about infertility, and the availability of support services, check out Access Australia.