Whether you’ve been trying for a few months or a few years, Christmas is tough when all that’s on your wish list is a baby.
Christmas serves to highlight just what you want but don’t have. Being around family and friends who have children can be hard any time of the year but for some reason, the ache is stronger around Christmas.
The festive season can be hard when you’re struggling with infertility but there are things you can do to make things easier. Here are some suggestions:
1. Have A Break
Give yourself permission to take a break from trying to get pregnant – even if it is just for a short time. Have a breather and let yourself enjoy the freedom of not trying to conceive. It can be hard to do this when you feel the clock ticking, but a few weeks won’t matter long term. However, the positive benefit on your emotional and mental well-being will make a difference.
The disappointment of not being pregnant is hard to deal with. Those feelings don’t go away with time, we need to take a proactive approach and process these emotions. Taking time to acknowledge how you’re feeling, journaling about your experience, or talking to someone you trust, are some great options to help with this. You’ll feel in a better space to enjoy the holidays and to be with loved ones.
3. Focus on the things you love about Christmas
Are there things you love about Christmas? Are there Christmas traditions you love or some new traditions you can create? House decked out in colourful, twinkling lights and a beautifully decorated pine tree? Christmas carols? Festive baking or glittery crafts and delivering them as gifts? Watching cheesy Christmas movies? A potluck Christmas dinner with other couples who don’t have children? A trip with friends to the Christmas markets? You can still enjoy parts of the festive season by doing it your way.
4. Say No
It’s ok to prioritise your emotional well-being by saying no to some things. This may mean for this year; you miss events that you find hard or perhaps plan to arrive later and leave earlier if that’s all you can manage. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling the way you feel. Everyone deals with difficult times differently and there is no right or wrong way. What’s important is that you acknowledge how difficult this is and accept where you are at.
5. Take Self-Care Time
The Christmas season can leave us feeling depleted when we’re not in a festive mood. Balance this by doing things that make you feel good about yourself and fill your cup. Give yourself whatever it is you need – whether it's rest, time alone, or a special treat like a massage.
6. Focus on What You Can Control
There is so much out of your control right now, and that’s challenging. Remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can. Ask yourself how you want to feel this Christmas – fun, energised, abundant - and focus on doing things that help you feel that. All you can do is focus on what you can control.
7. Manage Information and Communication
Christmas is a prime time for being put on the spot and asked questions you’d rather not answer. One way to claim some control is to manage information and communication. Infertility can be the elephant in the room and while others may have the best intentions, they don’t always know how to navigate it. Consider letting family members know in advance what’s going on for you. You can also communicate if it’s something you don’t want to talk about so you can go into a family gathering feeling safe that you won’t be caught off guard.
8. Soak Up the Baby Love
Christmas and the holidays are great times to take advantage of the abundance of children around. Embrace being with the kids in your life. There’s a lot of joy to be had in the Auntie role. It may still hurt when you leave but that’s not a reason to soak up the baby love and fill your baby love cup.
Finally, know that you’re not alone. Many people are experiencing the same feelings this Christmas. If you don’t have someone you can connect with who understands what you’re experiencing, then contact a support group or therapist who can support you.
About the Author
Kathryn Grace is a Life Coach at Fertility Potentials. She is passionate about supporting women on their fertility journey and helping them find acceptance and peace whatever the outcome.