The holiday season can be particularly stressful for women and couples trying to conceive (TTC). It’s an occasion when you are reminded that another year has come by and once again you don’t have news or a child to share this special time with.
Here at The Evewell, we wanted to share with you a few coping strategies to help you and support you throughout your journey.
Spending time with family and friends over Christmas is lovely, but it’s also a daunting prospect having to dodge the inevitable questions or comments about pregnancy. Not to mention pretending that sparkling water is a gin and tonic, or mumbling something about antibiotics and alcohol not mixing, whilst swiftly changing the subject.
We’ve all been there, having to put on a smiley face whilst you bounce your brother’s baby on the lap, then go and have a cry in the bathroom.
The “when are you going to start a family” question is almost always guaranteed by well-meaning relatives. So, you need to be prepared and remember that you don’t owe anyone an explanation.
If you decide you want to avoid answering, deflect the question, either by quickly changing the subject or suggesting that the question is rather private and perhaps they should mind their own business – depending on how brave you are, or how well you know them!
Should you tell your family?
One tactic you might want to try is being open and telling your family you are trying to conceive. It may not need to be the main topic of conversation on Christmas Day, so perhaps think about telling a few people in confidence in the days running up to the time you will be seeing them.
If you do decide to tell your friends and family, you might want to explain if you have any boundaries in place, so for example, “I wanted to tell you we’re trying to get pregnant, it’s not been easy and I’m not ready to talk about it right now, but I just wanted you to know.”
Choose the people you confide in, and make sure they know when they can talk about it and who to, but this will undoubtedly help the whole experience if someone else knows that you trust.
Friends and Family Pregnancy Announcements
Some people choose this time when a family is all gathered to share news such as pregnancy announcements. And this can be particularly triggering if you’re TTC.
This can catch you off guard and perhaps your reaction might not be the same as other members of the family. And if they are unaware you’re TTC, they may not expect the kind of reaction that would naturally come from feeling like you’ve been ‘ambushed’ by this kind of news.
How you deal with this kind of news is very much dependent on many factors, including your relationship with your family, how long you have been TTC and your past experiences.
However, please remember it’s ok and totally normal to feel sad or even angry. It’s ok to take yourself off to the loo and have a little cry. Don’t feel guilty for how this news has made you feel, just be prepared in how you are going to cope with the news.
Self-Care: take some time out
Christmas is a busy time filled with parties and family get-togethers. Don’t feel pressured to go to every party if you don’t want to, and if you would rather spend Christmas with just the two of you, do it.
This is now the time for self-care. Think about what you like doing, and treat yourselves.
This is perhaps the first and (hopefully) the only time you’ll be able to have a quiet Christmas, so take advantage of the extenuating circumstances and look after yourself.
Another tip by way of self-protection is to get off social media altogether… avoid the Christmas and New Year pregnancy announcements, restrict your usage to TTC accounts, and definitely avoid the infinite scrolling!
Create new traditions
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the festive season is centred around parties. And that can make you feel like you’re missing out if you’re TTC and making healthier choices.
But the festive season is really about traditions, and what’s stopping you from starting your own new traditions?
Instead of a Christmas Eve spent in the pub, have a festive family walk, or try a wreath-making class with friends, go for a walk or a run on Christmas Day morning, or crack open the Quality Street for breakfast.
Whatever your new traditions are, this time is about spending quality time with friends and family and creating new traditions together will help you feel included.
Ditch the guilt
TTC is hard enough without laying on extra guilt. Now is the time to ditch the guilt and enjoy a glass of wine or champagne.
Life is about balance; enjoy all the food and bubbles for a few days, laugh, cry, eat all the Quality Street and know that you’ll be back on the healthy wagon in the New Year.
A few glasses of your favourite wine or an extra mince pie won’t stop you from getting pregnant, but what they will do is help you release and feel normal, if only for a few days.
However, if alcohol really isn’t part of the equation, but you want to join in with the fun, there has never been a better time to try some of the many non-alcoholic options such as Seedlips or Wild Life Botanicals low-alcohol and Freixenet alcohol-free sparkling wine.
Healthy festive choices
If you do decide that you want to focus on your health over the festive period, there are lots of ways to make healthy eating feel festive. Consider oily fish instead of turkey or heavier meats. Limit the carbs and roasted vegetables, and instead load up on steamed vegetables.
Above all, always remember that life, and a fertility journey is all about balance, so try to maintain your healthy habits, but don’t give yourself a hard time if you want to enjoy something off the naughty list. If you want more advice on the fertility diet, read our article here.
Let your hair down
The last few years have been undeniably difficult for pretty much everyone. And if you are TTC, the challenges you have faced have been particularly hard.
You’ve most likely been deprived of all the lovely things in life that you used to enjoy and life has been on hold for too long now. For the next few days, let yourself go, and feel joy and happiness. Do things that make your heart sing and embrace how you feel.
Celebrate what you have, what you are grateful for and put aside your worries for a few days. Use this time to recharge your batteries and look to the New Year with a positive mindset. Here’s to 2022!
How can we help?
Here at The Evewell, we are fertility experts with 20+ years of experience. Whether you need help trying to get pregnant, have experienced a miscarriage or need emotional support, we are ready to help you. Please get in touch by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling us on 020 3974 0950
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