Well December has arrived at the end of a very difficult year for many. We have all had to deal with the stress, grief, and isolation that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused. But for many, you have also had to navigate fertility journeys, IVF and/or pregnancy loss this year. For those walking this path, December and the holidays can be a triggering time. But essentially even more so this year.
If you are starting to dread Christmas parties, family get-togethers and the feeling of having to put on a happy face, this post is for you. I write because I have been there. There was 3 Christmas’s that passed while we were trying to conceive, going through fertility treatments and grieving pregnancy losses. For me personally I found Christmas and the party’s especially triggering. I felt like an imposter. I was feeling far from happy yet put on a happy festive smile. I did not want to drink as most of the time I was trying to treat my body like it was pregnant. While I so deeply loved our nephews and niece who had been born during the time we had been trying for a baby, sitting around at Christmas time, with the main focus on the babies/kids, was a hard reminder of how desperately we wanted to be sharing that excitement with our own baby.
The holiday season can be tough. There is all the excitement of little children experiencing the wonder of Christmas. But perhaps all you feel like is some space to grieve or reflect on your loss. No one wants to feel like they are ruining “the mood”. Which can then lead to you pushing down your own needs at the time. I know when I was going through IVF, I was always exhausted! So, the increase of social events during this time can be especially draining. Throw in that many people like to announce special news like a new pregnancy or a gender of a baby while all the family or colleagues are gathered. If that happens it can be very painful to hear.
If you can feel within yourself that this time of year will be difficult, I have put together some helpful strategies to navigate this often triggering time.
-Have an excuse planned so you can leave a function if needed. A white lie is totally ok in this situation.
-Have a script in your mind of what to say if its likely you will be asked triggering questions. For example, if asked “So when are you two having a baby?” You could respond with “It’s something we would love really soon”.
-Be OK with saying NO! This can be hard for many. But so crucial for your own self-preservation. If there is a function that you know will trigger you, maybe it is full of kids, or you will be asked questions, then it is really fine to say NO and not attend.
-Do something to honour your journey or pregnancy loss. Buy and ornament for your tree, donate to charity, or purchase a gift for a baby/child that would be the same age as your lost baby and donate it to an organisation.
-Don’t do the holidays! Yes, you heard me. One year after we had had our 2nd miscarriage in an October, I just did not want to face Christmas day with all the extended family, including kids. So, we went away interstate for a week just my hubby and me. We did our own picnic in the park and just did fun things together the whole trip!
-Reach out to support agencies like the Pink Elephants Support network, SANDS, and Red Nose. Connect with others who have lived experience of infertility and loss. We get it!
-Put your needs first!! Increase the self-care, increase the outside support, rest, journal and use the strategies I have mentioned above.
The holiday season can be far from cheerful if you are walking the path of infertility and pregnancy loss. I hope some of these tips and strategies you can use, and you find helpful! I truly stand with you during this time. I send you all my love and healing vibes. I hope 2021 is your year to become a mama to a baby earth side!