By Andrea Bryman

Checking it once, checking it twice – doesn’t really matter if you are naughty or nice!
Here is mental health professional,  Andrea Bryman’s Global IVF’s guide to taking care of yourself and your partner during this holiday season.
Holidays are a time when families gather around the globe to celebrate the year that’s past and the one that’s coming. For most, it is truly just a time to enjoy your family – your parents, your children, your relatives – and friends. But for those who are trying to get pregnant, or who have suffered through infertility and/or miscarriages, the holidays can be a particularly painful time and a difficult reminder of what they don’ t have.
Of course your family and friends all have the best intentions – but their level of sensitivity to your struggle to build your family may be sub-par.  So instead of bursting out in tears instead of cheers, here are some helpful tips to make traveling home or staying close to home through the holidays just a little bit easier …
1.     Try role playing with your partner (if you have one) or a close friend about who will ask you what – like will Aunt Sarah corner you in the kitchen with a “So what’s up in the baby department?” or will your Great Uncle Bob announce to the group “that all you need to do is ‘relax’ and let it happen naturally.” Come up with potential responses that you feel comfortable with and then come up with answers that you wish you could really say (often times this will help get out your frustrations, anger, sadness and might even offer a laugh.) It’s your choice which one you’ll give when the questions arise!
2.     Don’t answer any questions you are not comfortable answering – you are entitled to your privacy. This means if your sister who’s been blessed with five easy pregnancies wants to know if you’re moving on to donor egg and you’re not ready to talk about it, you don’t have to! You have permission to just say NOTHING.
3.     TALK, TALK, TALK with your partner (if you have one) – good chance you are both feeling the same things!   Use each other for support! You’re probably both anxious, both feeling a bit sad… so yes, lean on each other. If you don’t have a partner (or even if you do) you may also want to talk to a therapist who specializes in infertility. These are very specific and sensitive issues so you want someone who already knows the ins and outs of what you are going through and you don’t have to educate them.
4.     Indulge – eat too much, drink too much, find a way to be merry! We follow so many rules and regimes during fertility treatments and as long as you’re not in the throes of a cycle – give yourself permission to splurge. That means that extra piece of chocolate – go for it!
5.     Skip the toy stores and children’s clothing section if it’s too hard – gift cards will suffice. The internet is also a great way to shop without having to go face-to-face with kids and families.
6.     If it’s too hard to be with your family and friends this year, don’t do it – consider it your holiday gift! It’s your time too – so find something you love doing and do it.
7.     Breathe! Nothing more to say – just breathe!
8.     Be sure to laugh along the way – there’s a reason Santa is always “ho ho ho-ing” – he too is trying to get through the holiday season! Infertility is indeed a challenge, and travelling only adds to it, but if you can find the humor in things, it will help.
Remember, the greatest gift you can give yourself and your partner is the gift of taking care of yourself. The holiday season will soon pass and who knows, maybe by next holiday season, you will have a baby of your own.

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