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Emotionally Preparing for Take Your Child to Work Day
April 19, 2013
Take Your Child to Work Day is April 25, 2013. It can be a fun bonding experience for parents and their children, but for individuals or couples who are still struggling to conceive, it can be a painful reminder of infertility and a marker of passing time.
Similar to child-centric holidays, baby showers, and birthday parties, it may be difficult to cope with the reminders of infertility on Take Your Child to Work Day. It is best to prepare for the day with positive thoughts, responses to family building questions, and a plan to give yourself a much needed break.
Los Angeles psychologist, Janis Goldman, Ph.D., recognizes the pain of infertility and how days like Take Your Child to Work Day can evoke negative emotions. “The greatest wound for an individual or couple that wants a child is not to have children. It feels like an inalienable right. Women are made to have children. It is something natural and when we look around, it is easy for others. When they bring their child to work, it is a blow to our pride and self-esteem. It can be so upsetting,” she says.
Jennifer Burbridge, Ph.D., a Boston area psychologist, believes that the best way to deal with these emotions is to anticipate that the day will be difficult and to be prepared. “It is always better to mentally prepare for the day just as you would on child-focused holidays like Christmas or Hannukah so you are not blindsided. You will see kids with their parents, kids will be the center of the day, and you may even get questions about your family,” Burbridge says.
Anticipating that this day will be emotionally trying will help you to find ways to cope in advance. Excuse yourself from some of the day’s events or commit to work-tasks that do not require you to be surrounded by children as a helpful way to get through the day.
Tips to cope with Take Your Child to Work Day:
- Talk to your partner and strategize ways you will address family building questions or handle times when you’re feeling particularly emotional.
- Plan to meet a friend or your partner for lunch.
- Catch up on calls or meetings, or plan to work on tasks in your office.
- Treat yourself at the end of the day.
“It is ok to gently avoid these situations. If you can, change your hours, take a lunch break outside of the building, catch up on paperwork in your office, text with a friend or your spouse, and remove yourself from the child center. Anticipate that it is going to be a hard day and make it better for yourself. Prepare responses and how much you want to share about your family building. You might even talk to your boss about the tasks you do that day. It is ok to be less effective and let your boss know you may not be the best person to perform a specific task that day,” advises Burbridge.
Decide in advance which details about your fertility journey and your emotions that you care to share with your boss and coworkers. Remember, there is nothing wrong with acknowledging and protecting your feelings. “Try to be in touch with what you’re feeling, be polite but respectful of yourself. Then do other, kind things for yourself. Take this as your opportunity to get a massage, a pedicure, or acupuncture. Process and digest it, talk to a therapist, give yourself a comfort zone,” Goldman recommends.
Couples should also be aware of negative thoughts and how they can impact their mood, overall. For couples wishing to become parents, there are multiple paths to do so even if they are not initially apparent. It is important to stay focused on your journey and be hopeful that in the future, you may have a more positive association with Take Your Child to Work Day.