12/08/2014

5 Tips for the World's Relatives: Infertility during the holidays

Infertility Advice During Holidays
It's no secret my husband and I are infertility survivors.

We have found so much joy in growing our family through adoption, and we wouldn't trade it for the world.

While we're not grateful for the hellish years of becoming human pin cushions and doctors' experiments, we are incredibly grateful for what struggling through infertility has taught us.

Because so many of us who are diagnosed with infertility suffer silently, I'm going to use this blog post as a platform in hopes it reaches ALL of the world's relatives this holiday season.

First, relatives -- let me tell you this:

If you don't know anyone suffering with infertility around you, look again.

According to Resolve.org, it's estimated that 1 in 8 couples have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy.

One in eight couples, you guys.

You can't always see it, but infertility hits close to home for ALL of us.

So, relatives -- while your family members are likely happy for your pregnancy -- let me give you some advice from your [infertile] family members and friends who may be too deep in the trenches to talk about this over the holidays:

1. Don't ask 'em when they're going to have kids.

And if you do ask your second cousin once-removed when she's going to have kids, be prepared for a comment like, "Ummmm maybe when the sperm analysis comes back with a clean wash and my Fallopian tubes are clear after next month's Hysterosalphingogram."

In all seriousness, though, when you ask someone who has been diagnosed with infertility when they're going to have kids, it can be really, really painful.

If you don't know whether your cousins are having trouble getting pregnant, then don't ask 'em in the first place.

It's a personal question, after all.

2. Don't launch a Grammy-winning surprise pregnancy announcement in front of your 30+ relatives. 

Congratulations on your pregnancy!

I'm sure the majority of the family will be thrilled,

But based on the statistics, there's at least FOUR couples in your group of 30+ relatives that have been impacted by infertility in one way, shape or form.

If you know one of them and still want to do a surprise announcement so everyone can see the Grandma-to-be's reaction, give that person a head's up.

They'll appreciate the courtesy and privacy to process it on their own terms.

3. Understand your relatives may not be happy.

Infertility is a hard diagnosis to live with.

But battling infertility during a season hallmarked with joy and happiness is sometimes unbearable.

Allow your family members time to grieve the loss of the family they wished they had by now.

You may not understand why they're angry or sad, and that's okay.

Please refrain from telling them how they should feel this Christmas.

Choosing joy is hard when you're in a hard place.

4. Don't complain about being pregnant.

Your infertile relatives know you can't drink the spiked apple cider because you're pregnant, but please don't give a dramatic play-by-play of your swollen ankles and alcoholic craving.

Remember, there is someone in your midst who would happily take on any "price-tag" of being pregnant; they'd happily forego the spiked cider, and they'd willingly accept those mornings in the bathroom hovering over the toilet with morning sickness without complaining.

The best [and I mean the best] thing you can do is embrace and treasure the gift of pregnancy you've been given.

5. Give them a hug.

Sometimes, people don't know exactly what to say to those struggling with infertility.

That's okay.

Because sometimes, the best thing you can do is listen.

Or just give 'em a hug.