When you’re trying to have a child, holidays can be full of joy and anticipation of the year to come, or they can be tinged with regret that you aren’t pregnant yet.
Here’s how to make your holidays happy no matter what stage of the journey you’re in.
While you’re trying to start your family, it’s natural to be imagining holidays filled with the joys a child can bring. You might be looking forward to this holiday season as the last to share as a couple, before you bring a baby into your lives. But if you’ve been trying for longer, the holidays might fill you with different emotions. For instance, last year you might have been saying, “This time next year I’ll be pregnant,” or “This Christmas will be our first one with a baby.” In that case, if you’re not pregnant yet, the holidays may be a reminder of what you’re missing.
If you find yourself in this situation, you have lots of options. Deciding how you want to spend your holidays starts with learning how to take care of your-self. Accept that the holidays may be a challenging time, with children at seemingly every turn. Slow down, take a breath, and ask yourself, “How am I feeling right now; what is it that I need?” Then consciously listen to what comes up for you. Feelings of anger, bitterness, or sadness are not uncommon, so it’s important to find ways to express these emotions.
Journaling and creative outlets give substance to these feelings, and can help you to let them go. You might feel your spirits nurtured by spending time outdoors, or by engaging in hobbies or crafts you love. There may be friends and family who provide comfort, and others you choose to avoid. See yourself and your spouse as a team who can really be there to support each other.
Throughout the season, stop frequently to ask yourself, “How am I feeling right now? What do I need?” Be sure to heed those messages and take care of yourself.
Make "Girlfriend" Time
A wonderful way to keep your spirits up during the holidays is to plan girlfriend time. Start by making a list of simple pleasures you enjoy: shopping, getting a pedicure, browsing in a bookstore, antiquing, eating at a particular café. Decide what “girls,” either friends or family, you would enjoy spending time with. Then start calling them up and making dates.
“This strategy was a life saver for me,” related my client Gina after she had put together her own plan. “My sister-in-law Denise and my friend Rosa have always been there for me. So when I told them I needed some extra support during the holidays, they were willing. Both were able to squeeze out a couple of hours on a Saturday morning, so I made a plan to alternate between the two: one week Denise and I got our nails done and had coffee afterward, and on the other, Rosa and I went for a run at the local park. No matter how my week was going, I knew that every Saturday morning, I had an appointment to recharge with a girlfriend.”