The Christmas table is set, the candles are lit, the carols are playing … and then Grandma turns to you and says, “So when are you two going to have kids?”.
Although the festive period is often a time of great joy for many, it can be particularly hard for those of us struggling to conceive. When you’ve spent the past 12 months hoping and praying that this will be your year and December rolls around with no baby to show for all the pain, effort, expense and time you’ve spent trying, it can feel overwhelming.
Christmas is also extremely family focused, which can make it a very triggering time of year – emotions are heightened at the best of times, but when we’re longing for a baby, Christmas can remind us of everything we don’t yet have.
This is why I’ve created this Christmas Fertility SOS Guide and accompanying Christmas Calm Guided Meditation – to support you through the challenges of the holiday period and help you to harness your mind and find a bit of peace and joy over the next few weeks, because after all you’ve been through on your TTC journey, you certainly deserve it.
5 Top Tips for Surviving Christmas
1) Physically stop and breathe:
If your thoughts are running away with you and you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a moment to physically stop and take a deep breath.
Stand still and breathe in for a count of four, hold for four, then breathe out for four and notice your heart rate start to slow and your mind start to calm. Our minds and bodies are so connected that by simply physically stopping, we can begin to unpack our thoughts in a more helpful way.
Focusing on our breathing helps us reset and shift our unhelpful thinking patterns and emotions to more helpful ones, enabling us to react more rationally. A guided meditation is also a great way of finding time and space to work on your breathing; see the QR code overleaf for one I’ve put together for you.
2) Prepare yourself for questions:
One of the hardest things about Christmas when you’re TTC is people saying the wrong things or asking the wrong questions – especially publicly! One way to manage this is to prepare some responses ahead of time. By arming yourself with responses you feel comfortable sharing, you can feel more empowered and in control of the situation, and less like you’ve just been caught off guard.
Some good examples are:
“It’s not always a straightforward journey.”
“Plenty of people conceive in their 20s/30s/40s, so you don’t need to worry about us, but thank you.”
“Yes, I’d love to be a mum – hopefully that will happen soon.”
3) Be clear on your needs:
Be clear on your needs and communicate them – it’s not selfish to be self-aware. If you’re on IVF medication and need more rest, then say you’re taking a nap. If you need to exit a room/situation/conversation, then do it guilt-free and with confidence; you don’t have to stay in situations that you find too triggering.
If you are trying to be really careful with your diet then own that decision, politely decline what you don’t want to consume, and don’t feel the need to justify yourself. Oh, and if you just need lots of cuddles, then ask for them!
4) Nurture your mindset
Our minds are powerful things – they are the driving force behind everything we believe, feel, and think, but sometimes they can send us down a rabbit hole.
If you find yourself overwhelmed by negative thoughts and struggling to stay positive, there are some steps you can take to help nurture your mindset.
Begin by taking a moment to focus on your breath (tip 1), or listen to the guided meditation I’ve put together (see QR code below). This will put you in a better place mentally to be able to shift your mindset.
Next, write down some positive and supportive affirmations that you can use whenever you need some strength. You could even dot these around the house on post-it notes. Then, when you’re feeling low, either read them or say them out loud to reinforce them in your mind and reap their positive benefit.
Here are some examples you could try:
“I can get through this.”
“Even though it’s hard today I know people mean well.”
“It’s ok that they don’t understand.”
“It’s ok that I feel this way.”
5) Stick on some music and shift your energy!
Music can be incredibly therapeutic and healing; it can transport you to another place and has the power to change your emotional state and energy levels really quickly.
If you want to shift how you’re feeling, then pop on your favourite uplifting tunes and notice just how quickly your thoughts change. Why not also have some fun and create your own Christmas SOS Playlist with those cheesy songs and festive faves guaranteed to get you feeling good? That way, it’s all ready to hit ‘play’ in those moments when you need it most.
Christmas will feel difficult at times, but hopefully, these tips will help you find moments of peace and joy too. I’ve also gifted you a lovely soothing Christmas Calm Guided Meditation to help you clear your mind. You can listen to it here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Julia Midwinter is a fertility and pregnancy mindset coach and the founder of Pineapple Coaching. She supports women struggling to conceive to manage anxiety, helping them to make confident choices and foster a supportive and healthy mindset for their TTC journey. Having struggled with her own fertility journey, Julia coaches from a place of deep understanding and care to develop personalised coping strategies and techniques for her clients.
If you would like to find out more about Julia’s 1:1 coaching and how it can benefit you, drop her an email with any questions, or go ahead and book a free 20-minute consultation: firstname.lastname@example.org.