Supporting yourself this Christmas
Here are some tips for navigating the festive season.
Navigating fertility treatment during the festive season can be challenging, but self-care is crucial. Prioritise your well-being by maintaining open communication with your partner (if you have one), and seeking support from trustworthy friends and family. Remember to balance festive activities with rest, stay mindful of your emotions, and consider incorporating relaxation techniques into your routine. It's okay to set boundaries and prioritise self-care during this sensitive time.
Maintain open and honest communication with your partner (if you have one) about your feelings, concerns, and expectations during the festive season. For some, connecting with friends, family, or a support group who understand your journey can be helpful to support you through Christmas. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with those you trust, if you feel that this will help you, can be a good way to help alleviate stress and anxiety and provide you with more support.
It's okay to decline invitations or modify plans to accommodate your emotional well-being. There may be certain social occasions that you find difficult over the Christmas period. If this is the case, you should try to avoid being pressured into attending these events. If you don't feel confident enough to outright refuse an invitation you could suggest an alternative that might be easier for you, e.g. meeting your friend for a coffee rather than visiting them and their family at home. If there is an event that you simply can't avoid, try to confide your anxieties to a trusted friend or family member who'll be there too, it can help having someone there who can support you and steer the conversation away from any difficult topics.
Use this time for rest, relaxation, and pampering with a self-care routine that includes activities you find relaxing or enjoyable. This could be anything from meditation to reading to walking, to a night in with a good movie. Fertility treatments can be physically and emotionally demanding, so ensure that rest is a priority and that you get enough sleep to support your overall well-being this festive season.
Deep breathing exercises, meditation, or guided imagery may help you to manage stress during this time, find something that works best for you.
Prepare For questions beforehand
Meeting old friends and family at Christmas increases the likelihood that you might be asked about your plans to start a family. It may be a good idea to anticipate this and prepare an answer that you feel comfortable with in order to avoid getting flustered if you are asked an awkward question. If certain conversations or situations are causing stress, it's okay to limit your exposure or politely decline events. Setting boundaries can be helpful.
It can be helpful to have some answers prepared to the common questions people may ask.
So, when do you plan to have a baby?
Having a baby is a very private and personal event, and you may not want to discuss it publicly with others; however, when catching up with old friends, this may be innocently asked whilst they try to get an update since they saw you last. It can be useful to prepare an answer for this, so you are not put on the spot.
You’re still young it will happen when it happens
They don't know your medical history, treatment plan or what impact it may have on the outcome. Again, it may be an innocent comment, but it is a common one that people can say in passing, thinking it is reassuring. It can be helpful to be emotionally prepared for comments like this as they can be upsetting and frustrating.
Just relax, and it will happen!
The reality is that most couples only have 12 chances of getting pregnant each year, so ‘just relaxing’ will not alter this. Sex at the right time of the month is essential for conception, which is why it can be useful to keep a close track of your likely ovulation date. Again, this may be a fleeting offer of 'reassurance' so it is good to be prepared as it can be frustrating to hear.
Have you tried supplements/ teas /alternative methods etc.
This can be very frustrating when you and your partner are following all the medical advice, treatment plans and doing everything you can. It can seem like someone is diminishing your doctor's medical advice. However, someone might suggest these as a way of trying to offer help so it can be useful to acknowledge they are trying to help but let them know you are following professional medical advice.
Try to Enjoy
It is the festive session after all, it’s time for you to enjoy it too.
Christmas is a key time to spend time with those you love, whatever your family unit looks like. It is often easy to focus on what we don’t have but don’t lose sight of those in your life who love and care about you. Some people may feel guilty for being excited about Christmas and catching up with friends. For many, the fertility journey can be long and tiring so it is important to practice self-care and remind yourself that you are allowed to enjoy yourself and time with your loved ones. Plan festive activities that bring you joy and distract you from the challenges of fertility treatment. Focus on activities that make you happy and create positive memories. Celebrate yourself! Celebrate the milestones and achievements in your fertility journey, no matter how small. Recognise your strength and resilience.
Remember, it's important to prioritise your mental and emotional well-being during this time.