The summer months ought to be a time for holidays and enjoying yourself, but when you’ve been trying unsuccessfully to conceive, it isn’t always the easiest part of the year
Going on holiday
Families tend to take their annual holidays when children are off school for the summer, and taking a break yourself may mean being faced with family life in a way that you usually try to avoid. Of course, if you do want to get away at this time of year, there are ways of making this easier for yourself by perhaps choosing a city break, a long-haul holiday or even a child-free hotel. If you are able to take your own holiday just outside the school holidays this will also help, as it will mean there are fewer families around.
What’s more, if you are thinking about going away, you will probably find that at least one of your friends will tell you that a holiday is bound to increase your chances of conceiving because you will be able to relax and forget all about getting pregnant for a while. It isn’t easy to know how to react to this kind of advice when you have been trying to get pregnant for some time, especially if you know that no amount of relaxing is going to solve your specific fertility problem. Try not to let this upset you – don’t forget that friends and relatives are often only trying to think of positive things to say and aren’t intending to be hurtful.
Of course, it’s not just holidays that can cause difficulties during the summer months though – this is often a time for family get-togethers outside in the sunshine, for barbecues, picnics and lazy summer afternoons in the park, in the countryside or at the beach. This kind of event is meant to be carefree and happy, but large gatherings often involve children of all ages and it can be tough to be faced with babies or pregnant women when you’re trying to enjoy yourself.
There’s also something about this kind of summer get-together which lends itself to questions about when you’re planning to have children of your own. Even if you’ve told close friends and family that you’ve been trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant, you may face questions from others in your wider circle of acquaintances about when you are going to get round to having a baby. If you evade the question by saying you’re not ready yet, you may face more potentially hurtful comments about not leaving it too late. If, on the other hand, you say that unfortunately you haven’t been able to have a baby, you may find yourself having to deal with unwanted pity and further questions unless you make it clear that it’s not something you want to discuss.
If you are worried about a summer event that you fear is going to be really difficult, there is no harm in saying that you can’t make it. Sometimes if this is a regular family gathering, you may feel a sense of obligation but don’t let yourself become consumed with guilt about this. You need to look after your own interests here, and if you’ve been having a hard time, the last thing you may need is to spend time surrounded by other people’s babies.
So getting through the summer months may mean avoiding some things if you feel they may upset you, but should also mean making time for yourselves to recharge your batteries so that you are ready and prepared for the next steps on your fertility journey.
Writer and journalist
Kate Brian is a journalist, writer and author of four books on motherhood and fertility, including The Complete Guide to IVF. Kate started writing about the patient perspective on infertility after having IVF herself.
Currently, she contributes to various types of media as an expert on fertility and writes her own blog, where she gives all the latest news and views on fertility issues, as well as useful advice and links for anyone trying to have a baby.