Last weekend we were decorating for Christmas and I was thinking about where we were this time last year and I never thought this is where we would be at a year later. Christmas time is always a difficult time for people struggling with infertility…everywhere you turn it’s just babies and kids. It is supposed to be the happiest time of the year even though depression and suicide rates are at their highest this time of year. It makes you wonder…where and who are all of these supposed happy people??! I would like to say that even after being 20 weeks pregnant that all of that goes away but it doesn’t go away…it’s a little easier this year and I am more hopeful than I have been in the past but there is still a part of me that feels a little sad and that something is missing. Every year, I would always wish and hope for the same thing: please let this be the last Christmas we spend without a baby of our own. I am still hoping that for this year and that next year we will have a happy and healthy little girl with us.
Here are some things that have helped me “survive” the holidays past:
1. Let yourself feel it…the good, the bad and the ugly. I think one of the worst parts is feeling like you have to be happy all of the time during this time of year even though you just want to curl up in a ball and cry. And if you aren’t festive you feel like the Grinch. You have to allow yourself to feel how you feel even if that means skipping out on some of the events you normally would have attended. There will be some things that you will have to just suck it up and put on your festive sweater and a smile but if it’s something you don’t have to go to and you don’t really want to then it’s ok to skip it. Your family and true friends will understand.
2. Plan some special things that you like to do. Make sure you schedule some time for you and your husband or significant other to spend some time together doing things you both really love. Infertility can be a real drag in the romance department so try to plan some fun outings or even a weekend get away if you can. Also take time out for yourself and treat yourself to something you like…a manicure, massage, movie, etc. whatever you want.
3. Wine. I am not by any means suggesting you start to develop a drinking problem over the holidays but there is something about enjoying a nice glass or two of wine every now and then that helps the soul. I would advise cutting yourself off at two glasses…anything more than that tends to get into a wine with crying situation and that’s not good…unless of course you need a good cry (refer back to #1).
4. Plan some things with children. I know this sounds counterproductive but if you have nieces and nephews or friend’s children that you really enjoy then plan something with them. Or even volunteering with children who don’t have a good role model. Bake cookies, go see a holiday movie, take them to see Santa or a holiday event. I know it sounds terrible but there were times when seeing a child was the last thing I wanted to do but spending time with children can sometimes be the best reminder of simpler times and the joy of the season. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that you do have children in your life and can still enjoy them even if they are not your own…and it will be good practice for your own one day:)
5. Take a little time to mourn your losses. I always take a little time to mourn the losses of my little angels. I have an angel ornament for each of them that I place on my tree…it’s not for anyone else but me and a way for me to honor them. The worst things is pretending that it never happened and that there aren’t little ones that are supposed to be here with you but taking time to remember them always makes me feel a little better.
These are just a few things that have helped me. Talking to others and being open about my feelings rather than hiding them makes me feel a little better and not feeling like I have to always pretend. The holiday season can also be a time for believing so believe that you won’t always feel this way, believe you are not alone and believe that you will have the life you want either with a child no matter how or when they arrive or a full life living child free. And also believe that January 2nd is right around the corner:)