Today’s podcast is all about How to survive Christmas when you’re trying to conceive.
Let me tell you what Christmas was like for me at times….
- You are receiving all of these postcards in the mail from all of your friends with their happy family photos, with the kids wearing their Santa hats
- You have nieces and your kids’ friends to buy for, so you are painfully having to go into all of these kids’ toys and clothing stores.
- You are at your Christmas lunch and Aunt Martha starts rubbing your belly and saying, “Ooh, I think you might have something to tell us,” and you’re like, “No bitch, I’ve just eaten too much turkey.”
- Your dad gets too drunk and then starts telling you, “When are you going to have children? You know that if you can’t have children, then you would just adopt.”
- Your best friend or one of your best friends start saying things to you like, “You know, I’ve had a chat with my husband and we have decided that we would be your surrogate if you needed us to be your surrogate.”
- And then you switch on Facebook and all of these people have done these little videos and things like that saying, “Oh, awesome Christmas present. #soblessed” because they’re now announcing their pregnancy.
Christmas is like “Waah!” And then to top it all off, #fertilitydiet. You’re trying not to drink and eat dairy and gluten and everything, all the good food like ice cream has those ingredients in.
Really you just pretty much want to get drunk and sit in your room all alone and Bah Humbug! Is that Christmas? Is that what Christmas is like?
So today I want to share with you my nine tips to surviving Christmas while you’re trying to conceive.
Before I start, let me just say it does end.
Soon it will be a distant memory and you will be ready for the New Year and pumping in to the New Year.
Just like anything as well, this phase of life that you are in right now, I promise you will end at some point too.
Tell people how to act.
It’s not enough for you to expect people to know what to do, know what to say, what not to say and things like that.
I’ve said this before, I had a friend who had a husband, who had cancer. And sometimes, in these big life events, it’s really, really hard to know what to do with people. She sent out an email that said, “Look, this is the deal. This is where we’re at, etc.” My thought was, “Oh, that’s so helpful because I didn’t really know what to say.”
It can’t hurt to maybe just have a little conversation with your mom. Put your mom or someone aside and say, “Look, this is a really, really hard holiday for me. I need you to be my wingman. Can you be my wingman? Can you help me out in this scenario. This situation is going to be quite tough for me. This is what I need you to do.”
If you don’t tell people though, you can’t expect them to know what it is that they’re supposed to do.
2. Get off Facebook.
Straight up, put yourself on a hiatus from Facebook for whatever, one month, two months. If you’re like, no, but I still want to be part of the Fertility Warrior Support and Chat group, (because it is an awesome group), then don’t scroll. Just go to groups and just check it out. Set yourself the rule that for December and January, you are not going to scroll on Facebook.
Just imagine, all of the time you will save. And yes, you’ll probably going to miss out on a whole bunch of pregnancy announcements and things like that, but I’m sure that you will find out at some point about those people’s news if they are people who are close to you and worth knowing about.
But you will also save yourself a lot of heartache.
3. Release the guilt.
If you are feeling guilty about the way that you are feeling, then that’s so never a positive emotion. If you start to feel guilty because you have had some alcohol or something that is not within your realm of healthy, then release the guilt. It’s okay. Be easy on yourself.
If you say something that you didn’t mean at Christmas lunch, go easy on yourself. Everybody gets a little bit drunk. Everybody does things that they regret at Christmas. It’s all part of it. And the people who are meant to stick with you are the people who meant to stick with you.
If you’ve had a drink at Christmas, it’s one day. Be easy on yourself.
4. Let loose a little bit.
If you’re anything like me and you’re a type A, you are really strict about maximising your chances of falling pregnant at every opportunity. You’re trying to tick off every single box on your list of things that you need to do to conceive. But… my next tip is to just let loose a little bit and to just be cool.
If you want to have a drink at Christmas, go for it. I don’t think that one drink here and there, one little thing here and there will make a huge difference to your journey.
5. People don’t mean anything by the things that they say.
As an example of that, let’s say, which actually happened, my dad once said, “Why don’t you just adopt?” For us, that kind of stuff is like, “No! You don’t understand. Adoption is not easy. Don’t you think I haven’t spent 367 hours researching all about that?” But what I wanted to say is understand that people don’t mean anything by the things that they’re saying.
When people are saying things that are insensitive or asking you when you’re going to have kids or things like that, they really have good hearts 99.9% of the time, and they want the best for you 99% of the time.
It’s just that they don’t understand. And sometimes, the only people who can understand are the people who have been in your shoes.
But they are all wanting the best for you.
If your Christmas wish is to have a baby, then so many people around you, I promise, also have that same Christmas wish for you.
6. Cut it short.
If things are getting awkward at Christmas lunch, if people are starting to say things, if you have had an absolutely gutful, then I am telling you, I feel like that’s a good time to fake gastro.
“Oh, I’m feelling a bit queasy. What was in the herb stuffing in that turkey?”
Feel free to go easy on yourself. Give yourself some excuses. Feel free to get gastro and it can be a little inside joke between you and your partner that Robyn from the Fertility Warriors Podcast told you to do so.
You might even have like a code red with your partner if things are getting just too much. If you’re like, “Nah, I’m done with this. I’ve had enough of this.” You might have a code red like “purple bananas” and then you could say, “Oh, have you ever heard that there’s this new thing that they try and develop called purple bananas?”
And then your husband hears that and it’s time for us to go, because we’ve had a gutful… and then you can go home and have a few drinks by yourself in peace and quiet, and just let loose. If you want to go and have a cry, if you just want to feel what you’re feeling, let it all go. Totally okay.
If you’ve had enough, cut it short, get out of there, and don’t feel guilty about it.
7. This Christmas is a good time to start thinking about next year
Set some intentions for yourself and some New Year’s resolutions. I don’t mean New Year’s resolutions like giving up dairy or running 10 miles a day.
I’m talking about you have one life.
You have this one time in your life to make changes, to do everything that you desire.
You only get one play.
There’s no replay of life.
What are you going to do?
What are you going to tick off your bucket list next year?
Don’t put your life on hold as much as you can.
Start writing it.
Now is the time to do it.
What do you want to achieve?
I know that in your life, there is more than this fertility battle.
What kind of goals do you have around your household?
What kind of goals do you have around your finances?
What kind of goals do you have around your career?
What kind of goals do you have around your general health.
What does my ideal around those look like?
Are there any small changes or tweaks that I can make to my life to improve those areas of my life?
But now is the time of the year to really start looking forward and to see what kind of things you can do, intentions, New Year’s resolutions, bucket list, all that kind of stuff that you can put in place, have a look at, implement for the following year.
8. Change the subject.
If people start talking about when are you going to have kids and things like that, there are some really good things that you can say to deflect the conversation,
“I’m really, really sorry. I’d rather not talk about that. Can we talk about something else? How delicious are these things? Where’d you buy those from?”
“It makes me really upset to talk about it.”
“I have some support. Thank you so much for asking.”
“Look, when we have some news, we’ll share it with you, but until then, I don’t really feel like talking about it with you. So can we talk about something else?”
9. Treat yourself.
I hope that this Christmas, if you’ve had a rough time this year, that you go out and buy yourself a really nice, big present. Something that you have really, really wanted. Or between you and your partner, you say, “You know what, let’s say we usually spend 100 bucks. We’re going to spend 200 bucks this year.”
Try to make sure that you treat yourself. Maybe you go out for a massage; maybe you get your hair done. But I want you to really treat yourself and go easy on yourself this Christmas.
If you are strapped for cash, which in know so many of us are, why don’t you set some rituals or traditions, such as a candlelight dinner every year on 23 December, or a really nice bath together with candles and music, or something special that you and your partner will do every Christmas morning.
Whatever it is do something special for yourself and make yourself feel really, really nice.
If you are embarking on a Christmas season, then sending you lots and lots of love, lots and lots of support, and lots and lots of guidance. We will be there, here in the Fertility Warrior Support and Chat Group. We have cracked 1,500 members now, which is phenomenal.
If you are looking for something to read this Christmas, please make sure you check out my book, Screw Infertility – I have been exactly where you are, and this book is my journey through the trenches and out the other side. It’s my advice on how I managed to get through the tough times – lots of stories, lots of advice and lots of inspiration… and most importantly – lots of ‘me too’ – the words that can help you feel less alone on your own fertility journey.