How to Talk About Fertility Struggles to Family

With the holidays approaching, you may be filled with an array of emotions—excited to see your family but anxious about being bombarded with all their questions about when you’re starting (or adding to) your family. While your loved ones probably have the best intentions, they don’t always understand or know about your struggle with infertility. It may not be something you want to discuss, but that doesn’t stop them from asking about it.

You can always turn to our team at Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility for support through your journey, but the truth is, your fertility struggles are your own story to share or not share. If you’re uncomfortable talking to your family about it, that’s okay. Here are a few ways to talk to them, or at least deal with their questions, about your fertility.

Mentally Prepare
If your family has already pestered you with questions about having a baby, there’s a very high likelihood they’ll do it again at your next gathering. The questions the ask may still cause stress and anxiety, but if you’re mentally prepared and know they’re coming, you won’t be caught off guard and can hopefully come up with an answer to satisfy their prying or change the subject.

Build Your Team
If you’re a part of a couple, then you have a teammate to help you through these difficult conversations. Decide together how you want to approach tough questions. What level of privacy do you each want to maintain? If you feel like you need to prepare a statement, then do so, and use words that focus on you as a couple (“we,” “us,” “our,” etc.).

If you’re single or your partner is unable to attend a family event with you, recruit another family member who does know about your situation to help you tackle the questions. They may be able to divert the attention, change the subject, or even intercede and discreetly and/or vaguely explain your struggles to more inquisitive and insistent family members.

Set Boundaries
Setting boundaries—especially with those you’re close to and love—can be a challenge, but you need to be clear on what your limits are. Not everyone, including family, are owed information about such an intimate subject. Decide who you truly want to share your struggle with, and keep your answers short and sweet with anyone else. It’s okay to respond with “that’s not something we feel comfortable discussing right now” or “that’s a topic we’d like to keep private,” and leave it at that. It might be difficult, but remember you don’t have to explain your situation to anyone.

Be Open Elsewhere
Keeping your struggles a secret can feel isolating. If you have a cousin or sibling you’re close with, let them in on your battle with infertility. It might even be beneficial to talk to a therapist or join an online group so you can work through your anxieties and emotions in a safe place. Opening up might even empower you to take on the tough conversations with your larger family. The extra support can help you get through not just time with your family, but the rest of your pregnancy journey as well.

Put Yourself First
The holidays are stressful enough, and so is dealing with infertility—so don’t forget to take some time for a little self-care. That may mean pampering yourself a little before connecting with your family or it could mean avoiding agitating situations altogether. For instance, if you know your aunt who keeps asking for a “little one” will be at dinner, place yourself at the other end of the table. Stress can greatly impact fertility, so putting yourself first is important while you’re on this pregnancy journey.

Ultimately, it’s important to remind yourself that your family’s questions come from a place of love. No matter how these conversations go with your kin, we want you to know that our team at AZCREI is here to support you. For more information on how we can help you on your journey of growing your family, contact us online or call (520) 326-0001.