Faith, What do PREG patients experience during the holidays?
The holiday season is very hard for patients undergoing fertility treatments. They see so many holiday commercials and advertisements with children and you are with your extended family and maybe young children with family and friends. They are attending all of these events with family and friends, Santa Claus, and everything involving children during the holidays. But nobody takes into consideration the couple who can’t have children or are struggling to conceive. For example, there are many people who have had a recent pregnancy loss and this time of year is tough for them. We try to encourage our patients especially during the holidays that they are not alone and there is a whole community to support them and get them through the season and the events.
It’s tough on these couples, isn’t it?
It’s exhausting, you know the holidays are exciting and wonderful with all of the parties, shopping, events and the food and we don’t exercise as we should and everybody kind of gets off-kilter. So even in the best situations, it can be stressful. But when you are in the middle of fertility treatments it can be especially stressful. Some of our patients have a tendency to withdraw and isolate themselves from friends and family during this season. We encourage our patients that they don’t have to take on every single event they are invited to. But do take on those events that mean something to you and are going to fill your soul and make you happy. Spend time with the people you really want to be with, not just another appointment on your schedule.
How important is self-care during the holidays for patients?
We always encourage our patients to practice self-care. Do the things you enjoy and find relaxing whether it’s a bubble bath, reading a good book, yoga, a long walk outside just anything you find relaxing and finding time to recharge, rewind and step back from the hustle and bustle of the season. Reflecting on the things you are grateful for and sometimes finding gratitude is a challenge when you are struggling with infertility but we encourage our patients to start a gratitude journal. Just to find the things they are thankful for like health, family, and things that are so good in life despite their current challenge.
What advice would you offer for immediate and extended family members?
Well, the first thing is don’t ask couples when they plan to have children. Mothers and mother’s-in-law can be well-meaning and want those grandchildren to come so badly, but many don’t even know that those they love the most are struggling with fertility issues. If you know someone is struggling you don’t have to go into a lot of details. Sometimes just a hug or saying “I’m here for you and if you ever need to talk, or need a shoulder I’m here for you.” That goes a long way for people struggling with fertility issues and they know people care about them.
One of the best things we can do is find humor in tough times. Laughter goes a long way. Share funny stories together and if you find a common interest that is humorous just laugh. Laughter is something that uplifts everyone. Even in our saddest moments sometimes all we can do is laugh to keep from crying. There is just something about the endorphins and chemicals that kick in when we laugh. It’s long-term medicine for the soul. It is so uplifting for the spirit to have a good belly laugh. So we encourage our patients to maintain a strong sense of humor.
How about holiday traditions and finding a sense of balance for those in treatment?
I think traditions are so important because they hold special memories for us. Whether you’ve lost a loved one, a child, or reflecting on your childhood and how you grew up I think traditions are so important because they keep our history alive. However, making new traditions is also important. If a past family tradition is no longer meaningful to your own family start a new one. It doesn’t have to be a tradition that your grandparents or extended family enjoyed. You can do something for yourself and your immediate family. Just focus on the holidays and celebrate them regardless of religion or beliefs. Capture the holiday spirit of love, unity, and family and start a tradition you find enjoyable.
What are some of the things your family will be doing during the holidays?
We always have our sons and their families over to eat, bake cookies and we are just all about celebrating our family and enjoying the time together. We don’t make a lot of plans for the holidays other than time with our family. We are blessed that our immediate family lives relatively close to each other so we don’t have to travel a lot. Getting together, spending time, laughing, talking, and cutting up. When our boys were young we would give them an ornament every year and a few years ago I gave them their ornaments for their own trees. It’s fun when we gather at their houses to see some of those ornaments from the past and the wonderful memories that accompany them.
As the CEO of PREG, what is your holiday message for your team?
We have the greatest team of doctors, medical professionals, and staff ever. I wish health and happiness to everyone. I want them to know they have a community surrounding them, people who love them and I love our PREG family. They give 100% of themselves every day to take care of our patients. Day in and day out they sacrifice so much and it really shows in the care they provide for our patients. They amaze me every single day! I just want to say thank you to all of them.
2022 is right around the corner, what are some things you’re excited about?
We are in the process of recruiting a couple of new doctors and we are expanding the Greenville office. It should be finished in early January. We’re very excited because we’ve been bursting at the seams for some time.
What are some of the specifics in regard to the Greenville expansion?
We are enlarging the surgery suite and have more space inside the operating room itself. We are adding another examination room and our administrative team is moving downstairs to make room for more clinical space upstairs. We’ve been in this location for almost 20 years so it was time to expand and get a facelift and open up more areas for treatment. Greenville is the busiest of all the PREG locations and Columbia is the largest in terms of square footage.
Faith Ripley, BS, CPC is the Chief Executive Officer of PREG
PREG has centers in Greenville, Spartanburg, Asheville, Columbia, and the Lowcountry where we offer highly personalized fertility care and management. For more information on your reproductive options contact us today at 866.725.7734, or online at www.pregonline.com/contact-us.php