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!

How to handle Christmas when you’re trying to conceive

juletraeetIt’s that time of year again and it can seem as if you can’t escape images of cheery happy families whatever you do and wherever you go.  Christmas is always a difficult time for anyone trying to conceive when it can feel as if everything conspires to remind you of what you don’t have – and of course, the festival itself is all about celebrating a very special birth.

I know lots of people offer lots of different advice about how best to get through the next few weeks, but I think the bottom line is that you need to try to find a way to make the Christmas break an enjoyable or rewarding time for yourself. It isn’t easy if you end up with dozens of invitations to family parties or child-focused events, but don’t forget that this is your holiday too and your top priority should be looking after yourself.

Christmas is meant to be a time of giving, and sometimes we assume that means that we need to put what others want and need ahead of what we might want and need ourselves – but actually sometimes that’s not the best thing to do. If you know you are going to spend a miserable afternoon at your friend’s Christmas party surrounded by the friends she’s made at her daughter’s nursery school who all want to discuss how to get children to eat broccoli and which is the best local primary – and who will all ask whether you have children yourself – it’s really quite acceptable to make an excuse not to go and just arrange to see your friend at another time over the Christmas period.

This is true of any events over the holiday period. Try not to 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. Don’t feel you have to do things that you know will make you feel upset and unhappy just because it’s Christmas.

If Christmas makes you feel lonely, never forget that there are 3.5 million people across the UK having difficulty getting pregnant – and it may be that your neighbour or colleague is experiencing exactly the same feelings.

Think carefully about the things you would like to do – an adults drinks party, a trip to the theatre or cinema and maybe you’d like to celebrate in your own way and do something completely different whether that’s a Christmas trip somewhere completely different (IVF-diminished funds permitting), a long seaside walk, tapas for two at home for Christmas lunch or a Christmas Day film marathon. You could consider doing something completely different, perhaps volunteering with an organisation like Crisis which provides Christmas for homeless people or Community Christmas which provides celebrations for isolated elderly people – in London, another option is Whitechapel Mission but there are similar schemes across the UK.  It really is up to you what you want to do, and you don’t need approval from anyone else. Do something that will make you feel good and that you will enjoy – and most importantly, try to have fun.

 

 

 

 

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.