Blog > TTC and the holiday season

TTC and the holiday season

Trying to conceive is stressful enough as it is. In today’s blog, we’ll look at ways of protecting your mental health if you’re trying to (or have been trying to) conceive around the holidays.

Medically verified
Written by Apricity Team

Table of Contents

    The winter holidays can be a wonderful time of year. From community markets to hot drinks, festive celebrations and time off, there can be plenty to look forward to. Still, the focus on family, increase in spending and pressure to celebrate can also be big aggravators of stress. 

    Trying to conceive is stressful enough as it is. In today’s blog, we’ll look at ways of protecting your mental health if you’re trying to (or have been trying to) conceive around the holidays.

    Try to be kind to yourself

    Try to remember to be kind to yourself. Infertility and miscarriage bring a world of questions with few answers. It can be alienating, devastating, and confusing, and it’s OK to express grief and to feel angry or sad.

    One thing you can control a little more is the conversation you have with yourself. Try to show love to yourself in the process. Your pain is real, and it is valid. You have done nothing wrong. And you are not alone. 

    Connect with others

    Chatting through infertility with friends and family only to be given unhelpful comments or unsolicited advice can be really hurtful. But spending time with people who support and understand you can be a real lifeline. 

    Although infertility can feel lonely, there are 3.5 million people in the UK alone who struggle to conceive. There are communities across the world filled with people who get it, and are there to be helpful and offer a sympathetic ear. 

    Speaking with others who have been through similar experiences can offer a huge sense of relief, and help you feel part of a greater community.

    Familiarise yourself with triggers

    The Christmas season can bring a myriad of uninvited themed emails and social media updates. Photos and announcements can be all the more triggering when they come as a surprise.

    If you know you have triggers, it might help to make a plan on how to avoid them. Remember that social media isn’t a real reflection of people’s lives. Instagram offers a ‘mute’ feature on both posts and stories, which will stop you seeing content. Some people find unfollowing people or disabling accounts a healthy way to create distance.

    Some retailers offer the option of opting out of holiday emails, but you can also unsubscribe or temporarily block senders you feel might trigger you. Stepping away for a digital detox is also an option.

    Prepare for unwelcome questions or comments

    Unless you are confiding in someone, your fertility and family planning are no one else’s business. You do not owe answers or a smile when someone oversteps with a private question.

    It can help to have a response ready for unexpected personal questions, especially when they come in unexpected places - like the workplace. A simple “I consider that private” or “That’s not something I want to talk about” can be enough to communicate your boundaries and ensure you don’t feel put on the spot. If you wish, you can also practise them in advance to ensure they feel good to say.

    Acknowledge aggravators

    While the occasional guilty pleasure is nothing to worry about, falling into bad habits can make a stressful situation worse. Try to listen to your body and mind. Are there things that you’re doing that make you feel good in the short term but not in the long term? Do you have habits - like staying up late, drinking a lot, or checking social media - that are contributing to a bad mood?

    Don’t feel guilty for acknowledging your needs, but try to spot patterns that are working against you too. This will make it easier to find a solution on how to cut them out.

    Practice self-care

    Avoiding aggravators can be helpful, but so can promoting positive habits and self-care.

    Self-care looks different to everyone. For some, it’s staying consistent with exercise, which has been linked to increased endorphins and reduced stress. Self-care could be a walk in nature, a comforting podcast, or a bedtime ritual.

    Whatever self-care looks like for you, try to consistently make time for the things that make you feel good. 

    Speak to a fertility counsellor

    Infertility is known to affect mental health. A study we released last month found that 62% of people undergoing fertility treatment thought IVF was just as, if not more, stressful than the bereavement of a close loved one. A Fertility Network survey found that nearly “half (47%) of respondents experienced feelings of depression often or all the time, while the vast majority (83%) felt sad, frustrated and worried often or all the time”.

    There are counsellors available who are specialised in fertility and there to help you navigate through the difficult emotions infertility can bring up. The British Infertility Counselling Association (BICA) is a registered charity and recognised by both the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) and the British Fertility Society in the UK. You can search their website for a fertility counsellor suited to your needs - many offer virtual consultations in addition to in person ones.

    If you are undergoing fertility treatment with Apricity, we offer unlimited complimentary fertility counselling within all of our treatment packages, in hopes of being there when you might need it most.

    Written by Apricity Team

    Helping you stay informed

    Written by our group of fertility experts and doctors consultants

    Keep reading

    Ⓒ Apricity Fertility UK Limited. All rights reserved