The journey of trying to conceive can be a whirlwind of emotions, no one needs added external pressure during the festive season.
As we approach Christmas and the festive holidays, you might feel a well of dread and emotions just bubbling to the surface. Hopes for a picture-perfect family are being challenged and you might feel apprehensive towards all the incoming questions and advice. All these feelings are perfectly normal.
The holidays are meant to be a time of joy, gratitude and family. Here are eight ways to gracefully survive this festive season when you’re having difficulties conceiving.
1. Prepare yourself
Family and friends’ curiosity can get ahead of them, and they can come across as insensitive. It is best to be prepared for scenarios of curiosity by preparing for them. I know it might feel weird, but at home, rehearse a few lines you can say if someone enquires about this sensitive topic. Discuss and agree with your partner what your main message will be to such enquiries and who may potentially deal with it. Be polite, somewhat vague and friendly. Take control of the situation, be warm and then change the subject.
2. Identify and set healthy boundaries
Unfortunately, you may have to deal with people who are pushy, rude or insensitive. If someone makes a hurtful comment, prepare for this too. People usually don’t know how hurtful it is if they suggest a wonder diet or that you simply need to relax. Remember most of the time they are just trying to help. Be patient with them. Politely and firmly reinforce your boundaries – you never have to discuss anything you are not comfortable discussing, and you’re within your rights to make this known.
3. Practice self-care
Over the holidays it is imperative to make sure that your self-care routine is nurtured as this will mean that your own tank will be filled. When our own energy levels are nurtured and taken care of, it is easier to deal with the curve balls that get thrown. (which seems like it increases over the festive season). Don’t be too hard on yourself though and make time for some guilt-free bubbles or vino. You totally deserve it. All in moderation though.
4. Acknowledge your relationship
It is so easy to get lost in the manic chaos that is the festive holidays. It is even easier to forget that our partners might also be going through a rough or tough time. Make sure that you not only nurture your own wellbeing but look after your partner as well. A simple question like ‘What can I do for you?’, ‘How can I help you?’ or ‘I’m here for you’ can help to strengthen your relationship.
5. Remember to be grateful
Constantly checking in with all the abundance of blessings that is already part of your life is a very healthy and sustainable way to keep the energy levels up. If you haven’t already, start to write down 3 -5 things, every day, that you are grateful for. You will be surprised as to how that might help to change perspective and mood.
A while ago I wrote a blog on how to stay positive while #ttc. It’s an easy read and I cover the idea of gratitude in the article. You can find the article HERE.
6. Find your own well-being in the present
So often, our suffering is caused in most part by our own thoughts and interpretations of reality, rather than reality itself. Try to reclaim your own presence of mind and power in the coming months and remember – nobody can make you feel anything, at least, not without your permission.
When you get carried away in your own thoughts about the world around you, one thing always happens – you are no longer in the world. Sometimes we cannot predict the shape our happiness will come in. Try and find happiness and well-being within you, right now and not in worry about the future.
7. Challenge negative thinking
If your thoughts manifest in a negative form, it might be time to learn to challenge this negative thinking. Watch your inner monologue and be careful of one-dimensional, “black or white” thinking. The more you tell yourself something, the more you’ll think it’s true, so it pays to be watchful – is it really true that you can never enjoy Christmas because you don’t have children?
When you tell yourself something like, “Everything will be OK, just as soon as…” you’re brushing away the wonder of the present moment, and all the ways that your life is already OK, right now.
If you find the mental chatter to be too much, why not do this little meditation I made especially for women trying to conceive. Just click on this LINK for easy access to a mindfulness meditation recording.
8. Take a breather
All of the above can be achieved if you can take a moment every day to stop, turn inward and reflect on your experiences. By incorporating a breathing exercise into your daily routine, you train yourself to relax, which loosens your muscles and lowers your cortisol levels. This brings you back to focused awareness of the present.
There is a number of helpful breathing exercises. You can try a 4/7 technique: wherever you are, close your eyes and find your breath. Breathe slowly in for a count of four, pause for a moment, and then breathe slowly out again for a count of seven. Placing your hands on your lower ribs or diaphragm can focus your attention on the way your lungs fill and empty as you breathe. Simply let go, and clear your mind, even if it’s just for a short while. The heart womb breath is also a lovely breathing technique to use, you can find a little video tutorial HERE.
The festive season can be a difficult time as you navigate your journey to parenthood, but try to see the many ways that it can remind you of the joys you already have in your life.
All our fertility clinics offer supportive counseling services to patients. If you need a little extra help, don’t hesitate to reach out to our experienced fertility counselors.