How to Navigate the Holidays When Dealing with Infertility
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LAGUNA HILLS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--According to the CDC, about 9% of men and 11% of women of reproductive age in the United States face fertility issues. Furthermore, studies show that those undergoing fertility treatments face a variety of harmful effects on their mental and emotional health including stress and anxiety. With Americans experiencing heightened levels of stress when celebrating the holidays, it's important that those experiencing infertility consider best ways to eliminate stress-inducing factors to protect their well-being.

"The holidays are a popular time for couples to announce their pregnancies. While this is a beautiful thing, it can also have a negative impact on one's mental health if they are struggling to conceive. Furthermore, when conversations surrounding children, pregnancy or starting a family arise, it is normal to feel added stress, anxiety or expectations from others," says Banafsheh Kashani, M.D., double board-certified OB-GYN, reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist. "As infertility can affect all aspects of one's health, it's essential to be equipped with the knowledge and resources to prioritize mental health as much as physical health, especially during peak times of stress like the holiday season."

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Dr. Kashani shares her expert advice for those struggling with infertility and how to care for mental health during this time.

Allow yourself to set boundaries. Boundaries look different for everyone, and it's perfectly okay to say no when it comes to attending or hosting holiday events. Friend and family gatherings that involve children or pregnant couples could be too heavy to bear. Try to communicate openly if this is the case. If you commit to something, your support system will understand if you change your mind or decide to leave an event early in order to preserve your mental and emotional health.

Start new traditions. It is okay if you don't have the energy to pretend that everything is okay. If you choose to skip out on visiting family this year, consider starting new traditions by yourself or with your partner. Allow yourself to be selfish with how you spend your time and plan meals, activities or rituals that you will actually enjoy.

Take a social media detox. Around the holidays, social media feeds are often flooded with children opening presents, meeting Santa Claus, attending holiday parades and spending time with family. Channel inner peace by taking a break from social media. If unfollowing others or deleting certain apps seems extreme, users can also choose to mute or silence certain accounts to avoid seeing their photos pop up in their feed.

Check out local support groups. When experiencing infertility, the need to connect with others and to feel supported is essential, as many often feel alone in the process. Peer and professionally led support groups allow a safe space to meet others facing similar struggles with infertility and family building. This year, First Response™ has teamed up with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association to help rebuild RESOLVE's network of support groups that took a hit during the pandemic, as well as launched Fertile Friends, an initiative highlighting available support and resources for those experiencing infertility including tips for friends and family on how they can support those trying to conceive. Visit to learn more.

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"While having a strong support system is important, infertility patients may also consider speaking with a therapist or infertility specialist for expert advice when it comes to improving and protecting their mental health," adds Dr. Kashani.


Riley DeWolf
Filed Under: Business

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