How to handle the holidays when you’re trying to conceive
Infertility and the holidays can be a challening combination.
It’s the best of times and the worst of times:
A week filled with family, friends, and food. Often too much of some of these things…
It can be stressful. But especially if you’re trying to conceive. Because the dreaded question inevitably comes up at these family functions: “So when are you going to start a family?”
So how do you deal with the inquisitive relatives? And how do you handle all the other triggers like pregnant cousins, and babies left and right? Here are a couple tips to help you handle these potential holiday pitfalls with a little grace:
We all know the holidays can include a lot of family time…..and when you’re trying to conceive, that can be even more stressful.
Whether it’s all your pregnant cousins and their small children running around reminding you of what you wish you had, your great aunt asking when you’re going to start a family, or your mother-in-law dropping not-so-subtle hints about grandchildren, the holidays can cause a lot of emotional turbulance.
Just in case you didnt have enough in your life already….
Sometimes it’s all you can do to get through the day without bursting into tears.
So how can you get through this holiday season without losing your mind? Here are my suggestions for you:
1. Visualize your triggers:
First, start by visualizing your holiday gathering and list out all of the potential triggers that might set you off—is it the questions about when you’re going to have a baby? Or is it seeing other family members’ babies? Or the pregnancy announcements–hearing that your sister is having her fourth? Or maybe it’s hearing your mother-in-law talk about when your husband was a boy and all the cute things he did.
Whatever triggers you and gets you into that dark place, write it down. Any potential scenario that might arise. Make a list.
2. How would Ideal-You handle these triggers?
Okay, then I want you to go through that list and write out how Ideal You would handle that situation. Not Emotional You, not I’m-So-Upset-I’m-Tongue-Tied you. Super calm, cool you who exists in an alternate dimension. How would she handle the new pregnancy annoucement? The questions about kids? What would she say in an ideal world? Write it down.
You can think of this as a kind of rehearsal. Instead of letting these scenarios surprise you, you can actually practice for them. Then they aren’t as jarring when they happen, and you feel prepared for them. You may not respond as perfectly as you are planning right now, but probably better than you would otherwise. Plus we feel a sense of control over the situation when we feel prepared for it.
3. Consider sharing a simple statement about your situation
Finally, consider sharing just a little bit about your situation. For some of my clients, it can be really liberating–, and it can be educating to your great aunt who has never really considered that starting a family may not be easy for everyone.
Here’s an example. When asked for the hundredth time when you will be starting your family, you could say something like:
“Well John and I have been working on it for the last two years. It’s taking us a little longer than we had hoped, but when we have something to share you’ll be the first to know.”
You dont have to share the whole saga, or get into the personal details, but if you’re comfortable, I think it can be helpful to share some of what’s going on.
For one. I guarantee the questions will stop, but it’s also empowering to take charge of the situation. Instead of dreading the question and mumbling some awkward response, you know what you will say, and you can use it as an educational opportunity. Like I said, it never occurs to a lot of people that a seeminly innocent question could be hurtful. And maybe that person won’t ask the question quite so often to other women.
You definitely have to be comfortable and ready to share, but it doenst have to be much. Keeping it simple, can also indicate that you’re not ready to discuss it further or talk about the details, while still letting your family in on what’s gouing on. Rehearsing a simple statement like that can help you feel prepared and take charge of a potentially stressful situation.
So give these things a try–imagine what potential triggers may arise and how your ideal self would handle them, and consider a short statemnt that tells your family what’s going on, if you feel ready for that.
Wishing you a holiday season filled with love, wherever you are.
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