Survival Tips During the Holidays

baby tree_lgJoy to the world!  Unless, of course, you are trying to get pregnant and are dealing with infertility.

Infertility is stressful regardless of what time of the year it is, but during the holidays with all the family get-togethers and the “magical and miracle” themes that are centered on children, and all you can think about is having a baby, it can cause those suffering from infertility to fall into a depression.  We have tips to keep the ‘baby blues’ at bay!

We all know that the holidays can be stressful, even in the best of circumstances. Expectations are at a peak. Pressure comes from all sides to celebrate, enjoy, and be merry.  But for the person experiencing infertility, that added pressure can be very hard to deal with and even harder to talk about during the holidays.

So make a plan!  We plan everything all the time anyway, so why not try to plan our emotions. We call it “self-care.”

You certainly can’t plan the pain away or plan every question or situation, but by planning some general responses and guidelines in advance and acknowledging that the holidays may be uncomfortable this year, you can prepare yourself and improve your chances of not only surviving this time, but having a pleasant holiday season.

By planning in advance for the emotions, situations and questions, you can mitigate the chance of falling into a deeper sadness.

This time of year it’s all about family and parties with the endless questions. You may encounter people you haven’t seen since last year when you talked about trying to have a baby. So make a plan on how to answer the uncomfortable questions that you might get asked over and over.

A good rule of thumb is to decide ahead of time what you will and won’t answer, what topics are out of bounds at a neighborhood holiday party or your partner’s work function.  It’s okay to create boundaries, they are healthy.  If you encounter that distant cousin who comes up and says “When are you two going have some kids already.” Just give a nice smile and say “I’m not sure, thanks for asking.”  Don’t worry about offending anyone, this is about your survival.

That’s why it’s a good idea to rehearse your answers a head of time. Being caught off guard and unprepared can cause more distress.  When asked a question that you might find difficult, your first reaction may be to snap.  That’s the stress talking.  Remember your plan, you don’t need to be specific or too personal: “We had a busy year and are still trying to have a baby.”

Here are our tips to deal with the season in general:

  • Don’t drink too much or eat too much and get plenty of rest.  Don’t over-do it just to keep busy.  Take plenty of time for yourself either alone, with your partner or your girlfriends.
  • Don’t over commit yourself. That means you do not have to accept every single holiday party invite that comes your way.  This is a time when you should be super selective about which invitations you are going to accept and commit to go.  And it’s a no-brainer, if it’s a party with lots of families, babies, and pregnant women – just say “No thanks, we have another commitment.” Remember, you never ever have to say yes.
  • Whatever you do, don’t feel bad, guilty, or pressured into participating in the myriad of family events.  This is a time that you need to be focused on yourself and your partner.  This isn’t a time for you to be a people pleaser and please your family.  Your family is going to understand.
  • Got friends that are childfree?  Make time to hang out with them, have them over for a holiday dinner.  This will give you balance between all the events with kids.
  • If you can’t get out of family obligations and you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by being around your young nieces, nephews and cousins, consider arriving just in time for the main event (opening gifts, having dinner etc…) and then say you have another commitment, perhaps for work.
  • Do the things you like most. If you love bake, go for it, if you love to entertain, create that incredible meal that your friends and family will still be talking about in July!  If you’re a reader, stock up on books, if you like to knit, stock up on supplies.
  • Go to the movies, a good comedy can do wonders.
  • Exercise, get outside for a walk or run, go to the gym, just be active.
  • Consider traveling. Go away for a ski weekend, or shopping excursion with girlfriends.
  • How about your own family traditions?  If you are partnered you are a family, you can create a ritual or a tradition that shows the love you have for one another with or without kids.
  • It’s important to share your feelings with the people in your life you trust and love.  If you were diagnosed with an illness, you’d receive support from family and friends.  This is no different.  Pretending that there’s nothing wrong, isn’t healthy for you. It’s okay to feel whatever you’re feeling.

If you start to feel overwhelmed, it’s important to have some coping techniques that work for you.

Having some easy coping techniques will help manage the stress and emotions.  For a lot people, taking a nap helps reduce stress, it’s a way to not only rest your body but rest your mind.  Go to yoga or mediation class a few more times, have some quiet time with a cup tea.  Whatever it is, make that your go-to when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

But most importantly, don’t isolate yourself. Talking about your feelings with people you trust can be the best medicine, so call your best friend, your sister. But if it’s serious, call your doctor!

 
 

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