The holiday season for someone battling infertility can be nothing short of agonizing. No matter how well a person prepares ahead of time for invasive questions and unwanted advice from family and friends, it can be an emotional minefield.
Stephanie Caballero, Esq., founder of The Surrogacy Law Center, went through years of infertility and felt the heartache of miscarriages. A surrogate carried her twins more than 15 years ago and made Stephanie’s dreams of motherhood come true.
Having gone through her own sorrows of infertility, she tells people to take special care of themselves during this time of the year. This advice applies to anyone struggling to have children whether they are heterosexual, gay, or with a donor or a surrogate.
“Holidays can be a tough time. Be kind to yourself and just do what makes you feel as good as you can,” Stephanie said. “That means even not going to a party because it has now turned into more of a kid atmosphere because people are having children – just don’t go.”
No one should ever feel pressured to commit to an environment they know will be a hurtful one.
“And it’s okay to make some lame excuse because I made plenty of them to stop going to baby showers. I remember going to my last shower and it was for my best friend. I told her, ‘I can’t do this anymore. It’s too difficult,’” she said. Caballero added, “I can’t stress this enough… just be kind to yourself,” she said.
“Do whatever works for you – don’t worry about hurting someone’s feelings because this is the time to take care of you. Instead of spending all day at someone’s house, just spend an hour or two. Or don’t go at all. Don’t push yourself,” she said.
Infertility is a disease, and it can’t be cured with a vacation or having more sex. And yes, these suggestions are sometimes brought up by well-intentioned family members and friends.
“This is why it can be so difficult to talk with people,” Caballero said. “Don’t worry about hurting the feelings of others or thinking your decision not to attend a holiday gathering is selfish. Do what’s right for you.”