Valentine’s Day and Infertility: How to Cope
In the middle of fertility treatment or faced with infertility, is this day any better or worse than any other day?
The Reality? Every Day is Tough if Infertility is Part of Your Life
Pregnancy announcements, baby showers, ultrasound pictures, and more. The truth is that big pregnant bellies literally surround us. Still, some days are more challenging than others, like Mother’s and Father’s Day. Or our birthdays, New Years, Thanksgiving, or the barbecue at our neighbor’s house.
Being surrounded by people who have successfully built their families while we have not, hurts. Every day. Every holiday and non-holiday. During fertility treatment cycles and while we’re waiting for pregnancy results.
Thinking about it more carefully, it turns out that every day really is a day that infertility hurts.
Valentine’s Day with Infertility is No Different
Why would Valentine’s Day be any different? Whether you love the holiday or lump it into a systematic, commercial reason to buy roses, it can’t be ignored. Even the act of trying to ignore it is an effort, at a time where there’s an excess amount of effort being expended in just trying to be “ok.”
You know about trying to be ok. It’s the face that you put on so that you look relatively normal and sane on the outside, even when on the inside you’re feeling isolation, pain, and fear.
Then comes the flood of red that is Valentine’s Day. All about love. Which is the whole point of a baby, isn’t it? Whether you are a single person trying to build your family or in a relationship, it’s all about love. Love that you have to give, that you want to share. A very special kind of love that is deeply instinctual, that grabs your heart and won’t let go. Love that doesn’t seem like it can be expressed any other way except by holding a baby in your arms.
Short-Term Fixes for Dealing with Infertility on Valentine's Day
There are a lot of things that admittedly don’t help long term... but they sure can feel good!
Chocolate doesn’t make the hurt of infertility go away. And neither do roses. Or a lovely dinner out. Or jewelry. Or lingerie. Or hot sex. The thing is though, do they feel good, lift your spirits, make you feel loved?
And if so, do them! Here’s the simple reason: feeling good is a reprieve from feeling bad. It’s really that simple. Does a funny movie take you out of your head for a while? Reading a book? Working out? If they help, even for just a little while, go for it.
One blog I read that had some great ideas was written last year by Jay Palumbo. Her suggestion? “Have an Infertility-Free Valentine’s Day!”
Big Thoughts on Love from Fellow Infertility Patients
Can the power of love for ourselves, our partners, our family, our friends help on Valentine’s Day?
Can we let Valentine’s Day be a reminder about the love we already have in our lives?
Can love rescue us?
Here are some personal thoughts from some of my favorite people - women who’ve participated in Ladies Night In or Ladies Night In Online:
“Valentine’s Day is the one day of the year that I’m able to put it all aside and just concentrate on my wonderful husband! He heaps gifts on me, so that helps a lot, too.”
“I didn’t love Valentine’s Day before this, and infertility hasn’t helped that feeling at all. Remembering the cards I gave out when I was a kid just reminds me there’s still no baby waiting to grow into a kindergartener. Like many holidays, it’s a sharp poke that time is passing us by, and we are still waiting for our baby."
“Chocolate helps most things. So Valentine’s Day means I get chocolate, I’m happier. Emphasis on happier.”
“It’s never anything extravagant. I don’t think it has been worse because of infertility, and it is almost a break so that we can just focus on each other.”
“I used to love Valentine’s Day. I would spend forever looking for just the right card and gift that expressed my love for my husband. It was special. I remember our first Valentine’s Day like it was yesterday. Now, more important things take priority. THIS is the highest priority, so spending money on cards and heart-shaped presents seems so silly. I know it’s crucial to express your love and appreciation for your partner, and I strive to every day in one way or another. But days like this are so inconsequential in the grand scheme of our lives right now. I hate that infertility is taking away the joy I felt for February 14. (And let’s not even start on the Valentine-themed pregnancy announcements that are sure to come... I’ll be avoiding social media that day.)”
“Hallmark, commercialized holiday. So over it! Never was a fan whether single or in a relationship or trying to have a baby!”
“Date night supersized. That’s how I see Valentine’s Day. I don’t think of it in relation to baby making, which is kind of amazing as I think of almost EVERYTHING as it relates to baby making. We’ll go out, have a good time, and smooch a lot.”
Self-Love and Affirmations
Whether Valentine’s Day is a reprieve from the real world or an annoyance, there’s power in love. There’s healing in love. There’s magic in love. And self-love is the kind that shines from the inside, flowing into our daily lives.
Infertility can make us hate ourselves. This Valentine’s Day and every other single day of the year, offer yourself a little self-love, whether it’s chocolate or flowers or a loving reminder that you are loved. Turn the fear that feeds self-hatred into an affirmation of love for the living being that you are.
Here’s one fertility affirmation, from Zhara Haji, Yoga Goddess:
Fear: my body is broken.
To heal this fear, recognize how magnificent your body really is…
Fertility affirmation: I value my beautiful, strong, and courageous body. Yes!
Want to hear more voices of infertility?
About Lisa Rosenthal
Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.
Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.
Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.
Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.