That time of year again…

It’s December and it ought to be a lovely time of year, but if you’re trying to conceive, it can be incredibly painful to find yourself faced with constant reminders of what you don’t have as you have to contend with the endless images of happy smiling families wherever you go. It can make you feel very lonely and isolated, as if you’re the only person who isn’t part of the cheery celebrations, so it’s worth bearing in mind that there are 3.5 million other people in the UK at the moment who are experiencing difficulties getting pregnant and who are probably feeling very much like you are about it all.

You will find lots of advice on how to cope at Christmas, but I think perhaps the most important thing to do is to accept that it’s a difficult time of year – and to do all that you can to look after yourself. Just because it’s Christmas, that doesn’t mean you have an obligation to do things that you know will be difficult or upsetting. Don’t feel guilty about making an excuse if you know you will find your niece’s nursery nativity play or the family Christmas party with your three pregnant cousins a challenge. At this time of year, it’s easy to be double-booked and making an excuse is acceptable. If you want, you can be honest and just say that actually you would find it too upsetting, but other people don’t always understand.

If you have friends who are going through fertility problems, it can be a good time to make arrangements to spend time together and do something different. You may even want to get away completely if you are able to and celebrate in your own way whether that’s a Christmas holiday in the Caribbean (yes, I wish too…), a day out in the countryside, pizza for two at home for Christmas lunch or an all-day long scrabble contest. If you want to do something in the spirit of Christmas, you could consider volunteering for a charity like Crisis which provides Christmas for homeless people or Community Christmas which offers companionship to older people who might otherwise be alone.

If you are struggling to deal with this season, it may be helpful to talk to a fertility counsellor who has the specialist skills and knowledge to understand how you are feeling. Some counsellors offer Skype or telephone counselling services and you can find a list of specialist counsellors on the British Infertility Counselling Association website.

Remember, this is your Christmas too and it’s entirely up to you what you want to do. You don’t need anyone’s blessing to decide that you’re going to branch out on your own and do something completely different, something that will make you happy and that you will enjoy. Think carefully about what might make you feel better and have fun whatever you decide!

Skype chat on coping at Christmas

I’m going to be taking part in a Skype online chat for Infertility Network UK on Wednesday 16th December between 8 and 9pm about coping at Christmas. We’ll just be discussing coping strategies and there will be lots of time for everyone to get involved in giving their own thoughts – and any tips. If you’d like to attend, you can find more details here – or just email your skype username to Hannah – hannahtramaseur@infertilitynetworkuk.com

Coping with Christmas

images-1This is always a difficult time of year for anyone who is trying to conceive – you can’t escape the most painful reminders of what you don’t have in the face of festivities which are so often focused on happy families and excited children. It can make you feel very lonely and isolated, and it’s always worth remembering that there are 3.5 million other people in the UK at the moment feeling very much how you are about it all.

There’s no shortage of advice about how to get through the Christmas period for people with fertility problems, but I think the most important thing that you can do is to be kind to yourself, accepting that this is never going to be an easy time. Do all that you can to protect yourself which means that you may want to say that you can’t go to your nephew’s nativity play or a family party if you know it is going to really upset you. Don’t feel guilty about making an excuse if you need to. Sometimes other people may not seem to understand, but there’s nothing wrong with being honest and saying that actually you would just find it too painful if you feel able to do that. Otherwise, you can always make an excuse – at this time of year, there are often so many things on that it’s very common to be double-booked.

If you have friends who are going through fertility problems, it can be a good time to make arrangements to spend time together and do something different. You may even want to get away completely if you are able to or perhaps do something different – volunteering with an organisation like Crisis which provides Christmas for homeless people. If you are having a family Christmas, you can always opt out of the bits that you find particularly challenging. It is not going to be easy – but take care and remember that looking after yourself comes first.

It’s that time of year again

images-1When you’re trying to get pregnant, you can start to feel like Scrooge as Christmas approaches; there are the endless adverts with glowingly happy families every time you switch on the TV, the jam packed shopping streets, the decorated trees and father Christmas figures everywhere. It can all seem like a particularly sharp reminder of what you don’t have – and of course, underneath the layers of commercialism, Christmas is meant to be the celebration of a very special birth.

You will find lots of advice on how to cope at Christmas, but I think perhaps the most important thing to do is to accept that it’s not a time of year when coping is easy – and to ensure that you do all that you can to look after yourself. If you want to escape the whole thing, that doesn’t mean you’re turning into some unpleasant Dickens character, it means you’re being realistic about what you can and can’t cope with.

There is no obligation to go along to traditional family Christmas events just because it’s what you always do if you think they are going to upset you. It’s fine to decide that actually you’d like to celebrate in your own way and do something completely different whether that’s a Christmas holiday in the Bahamas (yes, I wish too…), a trip out to the countryside, pizza for two at home for Christmas lunch or an all-day long scrabble contest.  It really is up to you what you want to do, and you don’t need anyone’s blessing to decide that you’re going to branch out on your own and do something completely different, something that will make you happy and that you will enjoy – be brave – and have fun!

Royal announcements

This is always a difficult time of year when you’re trying unsuccessfully to conceive, but this particular run-up to Christmas has also brought the announcement of the Royal Pregnancy  which led to pages of newspapers being full of every last detail about morning sickness and pregnancy symptoms.  We learnt that apparently the Royal couple had been on a “fertility diet” for some months which involved eating a lot of brussels sprouts.  If only it were that simple…

If you are finding the festive season hard going, don’t feel obliged to do things that are going to make you feel miserable just because it’s Christmas.  You don’t have to attend parties with friends who spend all their time talking about their children, you don’t have to go to extended family gatherings where there will be babies – it’s perfectly legitimate to decide you’d rather spend Christmas together and go out on a long walk or not get up all day and watch TV in bed. If you can find your own way of enjoying Christmas, then go for it.