Christmas has always been one of my most favourite special events in the year. Christmas for me is filled with memories of too much food, horrible Christmas-cracker paper hats and bad jokes, summer, sunshine, playing games after lunch and lying out in the sun with too-full bellies.
But trying to conceive (TTC) has put a new slant on it.
Sadly one of the tough things about having trouble TTC can be that previously anticipated and enjoyable events during the year become hard to face...
They can become a milestone - a reminder that another of those events that has passed with no pregnancy in sight.
Everyone coming together for a special occasion is prime-time for those 'Pearls of Wisdom' (POWs), well meaning, but insensitive, questions...and inevitably it seems to be the time for other people's happy announcements.
Occasions you previously loved can start to feel like a minefield.
Christmas 2013 was particularly hard for me. We had two ectopic pregnancies in 2013 - the first of which would have been due just before Christmas. Before we lost the pregnancy I had already indulged in the thought of having my baby in my arms in time for Christmas...
Our second loss came a month before Christmas and was still fresh, with a knife's twist of being on the due date of the first pregnancy!
Feeling particularly fragile I didn't know how I'd cope with the well-meaning questions and comments. I wasn't sure I could muster the same joy and excitement I would have normally felt.
Then I decided this wouldn't do - infertility has taken my time, my fallopian tubes, my patience and so many other things...it was not taking from me the ability to enjoy important occasions in my life!!
So what's my survival guide for holidays and special occasions??
I remember what I loved about them in the first place!
I shift my focus from what I don’t have to what I do have – rather than thinking of all the reasons I feel sad about the occasion I immerse myself making a list of all the things about it that bring me joy.
I find this so useful – often we have a tendency to focus on the negatives in life, or the things that aren’t working….it can take conscious effort at first to shift that to the good things in life.
I don’t know about you but I’d rather spend most of my time being happy and enjoying the moment than losing it to things I can’t change!!
I have a game plan!
This really helped me – I put some thought into how I might react or approach certain situations where people might say or do something that might upset me.
Hubby and I run interference for each other, helping to ensure we didn’t get stuck for too long with the well meaning relative who doesn’t get that what they are saying is landing some heavy blows.
I also thought about what I might be able to say – either to others or myself - to make sure I react to any well meaning POWs in a resourceful way that doesn’t ruin my entire day!
I focus on everyone around me rather than myself!
I don’t know about you but at times during my TTC journey I have become a little self-absorbed. So much is going on for you and it can be easy to get lost in it unintentionally…
I remind myself that its not all about me – often the best way to stop someone from focusing on what is going on with you if you don't want to talk about it, is to focus on what is going on with them!
As a general rule, people love to be acknowledged and to talk about their lives...so I make sure the conversation turns to them quickly and stays there by asking questions and being curious about how they are doing!
This for me has been a wonderful tool! It makes me happy, and those I love happy - win-win!!
What are your tips for surviving special occasions while TTC??