Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling without judgment. I definitely felt guilty about being confused and upset over Mother’s Day, but I did not take into account my situation and the effects the fertility treatments had on my mind, body and soul. So feel what you’re feeling without placing any judgment and then release it to the universe… either journal the feeling away or having a “hissy fit” just get that energy out! Shrek had it right “Better out than in.”
Determine which course of action will be best for you. To attend or not to attend, that is the question? Again, make this decision without judgment and from a place of compassion.
There may be ramifications for not attending a family celebration, but so be it! Right now, you have to think of yourself and your physical and mental health first!
If you plan on attending, break the day’s events down into portions and choose which aspects you are capable of dealing with.
As I detailed in my book, when faced with celebrations that I was nervous about attending, I would set a goal of attending the cocktail and appetizer portion of the event. If I made it through that and wanted to stay, I was already successful. This allowed me to not feel like a failure if I had to leave before dinner. I already had my escape plan and I was a winner!
Have a secret code word for your husband/partner… We used the phrase “these pretzels are making me thirsty.” which is from Seinfeld. When I started talking about pretzels, my husband knew I was ready to have an emotional meltdown and he would run for my coat or the car!
This might be the most important tip I can offer to those struggling to accept their own feelings while having to face social situations. In marketing there is a term called an “elevator speech.”
An elevator speech is a one to two second blurb that you have memorized and can use to sell your business to someone whom you happen to meet on an elevator or anywhere else. The door closes and in the short amount of time to get to the next floor you must convey your information in a clear and coincide manner.
How does this apply to being “fertility challenged”? One night my husband and I were at one of his client’s parties. Across the table a gentleman yelled something about my husband’s manhood, and asked, “When are you selfish yuppies going to have a family?” I glanced down at my butter knife and for a brief instant was inclined to use it! Instead, we just left; I was in tears. The outside world could see how hard my husband and I were working to achieve our professional goals, but the work we were putting into our goal of creating a family, the most important of all of our desires, was invisible to others.
After that incident I practiced my different responses:
My favorite: “We have a whole team of experts working on that!”
“You know what, I probably would have thought that same thing, but never said it out loud. In my experience, I’ve learned that how I see things might be very far from the truth!”
Why don’t you have children? When are you going to start a family?
“I would love to have children, sometimes it isn’t as easy as it seems.”
“Hey, that’s a great idea!”
I really relied on the first elevator speech to get me through a lot of tight spots. I would shorten it to, “You know I probably would have thought the same thing but never said it out loud.” This usually shuts the person up cold and the subject is immediately changed.