When you’re trying to conceive, Christmas and the whole festive period can be tough as the focus is often on children – making the topic difficult to avoid. There’s also lots of family events and nights out which can trigger difficult feelings.
When I was trying to conceive, I saw Christmas as a marker that I still didn’t have a baby. This is why it is so important at this time of year to remind yourself of the things you do have, rather than the things you don’t.
Below are my top ten tips to help you redefine Christmas as positive and exciting so it can become something to look forward to rather than dread:
1. Be kind to yourself. Being sad, jealous or upset is ok and perfectly normal. Just acknowledge these emotions, don’t beat yourself up over them.
2. Schedule time for self-care. This could be anything from getting a manicure to reading a book. Something that makes you smile, that’s the main thing.
3. Start new festive traditions. Go out for a meal where the focus is on food rather than alcohol, go ice skating, or spend a day at the Christmas markets.
4. If you don’t want people to know you’re not drinking on nights out, lot’s of places stock alcohol-free spirits served in ‘alcoholic’ looking glasses. You could also confide in a friend who can pretend to order alcohol for you, or say you’re driving as you have a big family event the next day.
5. Write a gratitude list for the things in your life you feel thankful for. It doesn’t have to be big things, just those special to you. Drawing attention to all you do have will help you to feel more positive.
6. Set some goals you would like to achieve next year – maybe taking a trip somewhere or starting a new hobby. Think of these goals as existing outside of trying for a baby. It will help you to feel more in control of your life.
7. Give yourself permission to miss events. If your family know you are struggling to conceive you could explain that events where there will be babies/people asking when you are going to have a baby are challenging at the minute. If they don’t know, remind yourself it’s ok to put your needs first.
8. To dodge being put on the spot with the ‘when are you starting a family?’ question, prepare an answer you are happy to share beforehand.
9. Helping other people is a great way to make a difference to someone else’s life and make yourself feel good at the same time. Maybe visit the elderly or wrap gifts for the Salvation Army.
10. Remember to use your support system. If you are having a bad day, call a friend or family member that understands. You can join my Facebook support group TTC Support UK to talk honestly with other people who share your experiences and for wellbeing and support for everyone struggling with fertility.
Happy Christmas, and however you spend it, I hope it’s a good one.
Love Sarah x
About the author
Sarah Banks is a fertility coach and mentor who works with clients struggling to conceive. Using the experiences of her own 6-year infertility and IVF journey, Sarah helps women and couples to manage their anxieties around TTC, and to prepare emotionally for conception.