Coping with Infertility on Mother’s and Father’s Day

Dealing with the physical, emotional, financial and social challenges of infertility is difficult at any time of the year, and, of course, we all know how stressful holidays and family celebrations can be, even at the best of times. But facing an infertility diagnosis and treatment when everyone else is celebrating motherhood and fatherhood can be especially challenging.

At Medfem Fertility Clinic, we know this, and we have decades of experience and as well as a dedicated resident clinical psychologist to help couples cope better with these emotionally charged holidays. In this article, we share some strategies from Resolve to survive Mother’s Day and Father’s Day that lies ahead.

Wikipedia says that Mother’s Day is a celebration honouring the mother of the family or individual, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. It is celebrated on different days in many parts of the world, most commonly in the months of March or May. Similarly, it defines Father’s Day as a holiday of honouring fatherhood and paternal bonds, as well as the influence of fathers in society. The single most common date for Father’s Day among world countries is the third Sunday of June.

Well-intentioned as these holidays are, for increasing numbers of couples worldwide struggling with infertility, these celebrations can be very difficult.

Advice for surviving Mother’s Day and Father’s Day

It is with this in mind that our team at Medfem shares the following advice provided by Resolve to help couples face the upcoming family holidays of Mother’s Day in May and Father’s Day in June.

* Be prepared: holidays are generally already stressful with the high expectations from ourselves and from others to break routine, to celebrate, and to enjoy.

* Don’t delay – think ahead about the day and plan a strategy in advance. Don’t wait until the holiday is upon you to make plans. If a family gathering is planned and it will be pleasant for you, go and enjoy! But, if you are likely to face lots of children or if pregnant relatives will be present, and you know this will be upsetting, consider other possibilities. You might plan to see your mother or father at another time during the weekend.

* Acknowledge that especially these holidays may add additional emotional stress to an already complicated situation and prepare yourself to handle probing questions and unintentionally hurtful comments from family and friends, to improve your chances of coping.

* Recognise potential painful situations – even restaurants may be a source of discomfort. For example, they may ask if you are a mother or a father in order to give you a complimentary item. Be prepared for this type questions so you are not taken off-guard.

* Focus on your parents or grandparents or a special parental figure – make this a special time for them, honouring their roles and experiences, with less focus on your own.

* Plan an enjoyable day together as a couple during these difficult holidays. Consider tuning out the holiday emphasis entirely and make it an opportunity for a fun day together plan a day outdoors to go hiking, bicycling, or walking on a beach. See that movie you’ve wanted to see or create a special meal.

* Consider joining a support group – it is important to realise that there are others who are also going through this life challenge. You are not alone! Being part of a support group can help you feel less isolated, empower you with knowledge and validate your emotional response to the life crisis of infertility.

* Get counselling – whenever you feel overwhelmed by the holidays, or whenever you need someone to talk to, reach out! A qualified and experienced counsellor can listen and offer tried and trusted advice.

Providing support on Father’s Day

Although infertility is often assumed to be a woman’s problem, the truth is that the male partner’s role in family building is just as important! Infertility is certainly not just a woman’s issue. In fact, male factor contributes as much as 40% of infertility diagnosis and can be just as emotionally devastating. One thing is for certain, men are not immune to the pain that infertility can bring a couple.

It is important to acknowledge the male partner by letting him know he is not alone, especially on Father’s Day, and providing support during his infertility journey and resolution through treatment, adoption or transitioning to a childfree lifestyle. Below are a few tips from Resolve on how to support the male partner in a couple dealing with infertility.

* Ask him how he is feeling and what you can do to make the day or like events easier for him. Everyone manages grief differently and by understanding his needs, it will give you the tools to support him in ways that best fit him personally.

* Men too need support and are many times forgotten about when the subject of infertility is brought into the conversation. It can be isolating for him because society has put the emphasis on the female throughout the resolution of this disease and the guys tend to step aside as the supporting role often are overlooked.

* Be there for him – simply let him know you care about the difficult journey he is going through.

* Turn Father’s Day into Man-day – There’s nothing wrong with an excuse to show the man in your life – Dad or not – that he is special to you.

* Be mindful of social triggers on this day – perhaps instead of lunch out with the family, have your own cook out at home.

* The art of distraction can go a long way, especially for those guys who may internally process their grief. Do something he likes that day – whether it is going for a run together, catching a game, or plan a hike, it will be a good diversion.

Reach out for assistance

Even with all the best intentions, you and your partner might need support from an outside counsellor to help you overcome the challenges and hurdles that arise when dealing with infertility and fertility treatment.

Counselling will reveal ways to address the emotional needs you will have as a couple during your fertility journey, as well as help you learn skills to cope better with the stress and to make good decisions in difficult situations.

Medfem Fertility Clinic’s team are committed and understanding team of medical professionals, who have the experience, knowledge and desire to provide you with the best chance of a successful outcome at the end of your treatment.

Since the 1980’s, Medfem Fertility Clinic’s team has assisted couples struggling with infertility to experience the joy of parenthood, helping to bring more than 18,000 babies into the world.

If you would like to meet one of our fertility specialists, simply click here to book an initial consultation or contact us telephonically on +27 (11) 463 2244.

Our Fertility Specialists can also meet with You During a Virtual Consultation Via Zoom or Skype. Click here to book a virtual consultation now.
We look forward to meeting you!

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