***Originally posted on Fertility Matters Canada***
Too soon for a Christmas post you may ask? Hmm, well, I’ve already had an Eggnog latte, Hallmark Christmas movies are taking up just about all the space on our PVR and Christmas Bath & Body works candles are filling my home with delightful scents. Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” has been played and sung at the top of my lungs in the shower and Bing Crosby’s Christmas Vinyl has been added to our new collection! So, is it too soon for a Christmas post? You’re probably asking the wrong person!
I LOVE Christmas, but I have to say that infertility & loss has really put a sting on the holidays.
Even though I work hard at filling the holidays with fun events and do all that I can to enjoy it to the fullest, a certain heartache lingers. A heartache that comes from a yearning to have a little one to share the magic with. A heartache that wonders how cute our little one would be in Christmas pyjamas had we not miscarried and how amazing it would be to watch him/her experience Christmas for the first time. Since this pain has entered our lives, Christmas has never been the same. However, Christmas is still a time of year that I look forward to and love, so I’m not going to let infertility & grief steal that from me too.
In a support group I lead, someone recently suggested starting a thread on how to survive the holidays. The dread of Christmas seems to be familiar.
I thought I would share some ideas on how to get through Christmas:
1. Do not be afraid to excuse yourself from family functions. Our family only does presents for kids and after a few years of panic attacks and sob fests in the bathroom, last Christmas I decided to actually leave the house. I booked myself a manicure and then went and got a latte and browsed through Christmas decorations. It was the best thing I could have done. Why put yourself through something painful if you don’t need to? Don’t get me wrong, I love watching kids opening presents. I love seeing their excitement. There are just too many complex emotions involved now and it’s too hard. So, if you can, excuse yourself and go to something kind for yourself! Hopefully your family will be supportive but if not, remember that you cannot please everyone.
2. If you can, and want to – protect Christmas morning for just you and your significant other. Fur babies can be included too! Don’t be afraid to carve out time to be alone and work on your own traditions
3. Celebrate your fur babies! They’re family too! Get them a stocking and fill it with some treats and toys. Make sure to get a cheesy, classic Christmas photo of your pet wearing a Christmassy hat of some sort. I know they’ll love it!
4. Eat chocolate.
5. Make an escape plan just in case you need one. One of my support group members wrote, “Our rule there is that we always plan an escape to use if necessary. I do not necessarily recommend dishonesty but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. We always make it clear when we arrive that “We cannot stay the whole time because we have to (fill in blank)” but be vague enough that we can choose whether to stay for 30 mins or 3 hours, depending on how we feel.”
6. Prepare yourself with witty remarks for the dreaded questions and comments that someone will surely ask. There’s always that one aunt…
7. In the past, my husband I have gotten Starbucks and gone for drives around town looking at all the Christmas lights. Make yourself a Christmas bucket list. What are the things that you love to do at Christmas? Go and do them! What are you waiting for?!
8. Eat more chocolate.
9. Make sure to watch your favourite Christmas movies! What’s Christmas without Buddy the Elf?
10. Speaking of Buddy the Elf, listen to as much Christmas music as you want, and as early as you want because as Buddy says, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear”.
11. Drink this drink because it’s amazing – Hot chocolate with eggnog and peppermint vodka. You’ll thank me later.
12. Definitely eat more chocolate.
13. Get together with some of your best friends and make gingerbread houses or other Christmas crafts like salt dough tree ornaments! Need some ideas? Pinterest is your friend.
14. Go for a Christmas, winter wonderland photo shoot! I just realized this, literally a few days ago. Adorable Christmas photos are beginning to fill social media and soon they will be coming in the mail. Why can’t we get photos taken?! Just because we don’t have children doesn’t mean we can’t hand out cute Christmas photos! Put on a cute outfit and get some photos taken! Print them out and hand them to everyone! You’re important too!
15. Let yourself cry if you need to. (Oh, and did I mention eat chocolate?)
So there you have it. A ton of things to do this season.
A lot of these ideas are pretty simple and the reason I suggest them is because I know firsthand that infertility can be extremely depressing. When I’ve been depressed, pushing myself to do things that I enjoy has been therapeutic and has helped pull me out of the darkness. The pain of Christmas in addition to depression can swallow you whole! Don’t let it! Infertility and all that comes with it affects us all year round. It steals a little bit of all that should be enjoyable, doesn’t it? Don’t let the Grinch, aka, infertility…steal Christmas from you this year.
P.S Baileys is a good addition to your coffee or hot chocolate…or eggnog at Christmas too. Just saying…