The holidays are here. Faster than any of us expected them to be. I can’t believe it is almost 2015. Where does the time go? I have put together a plan. A plan that will hopefully make the holidays a little easier to handle.
I know it is hard for people in my real life to understand why I feel the way I do about the holidays. I’m sure they think “Why does it upset you that you can’t have kids if you have decided you don’t want children anymore?”. I wish it were that simple. My decision to remain childfree is based on my infertility. For personal reasons as well as financial, PC and I have decided not to pursue fertility treatments. That doesn’t make it any less heartbreaking for us. In the end it was still a very difficult decision. I still feel confident it is the right one for us but the anger/depression/resentment (etc) remains. I’m dealing with all of those feelings and probably will be for quite some time. The “why her and not me” question is likely a permanent part of my thought process now. I have a plan! I will survive this holiday season. I will enjoy my time with PC. I will not be the party pooper. Here are some holiday tips for us to follow. This list is a combination of info I read in an article from The Huffington Post, random internet reads and my own concerns.
- Prepare answers to questions ahead of time. We know the usual questions. Think about your current situations and possible new questions that might arise at the family gatherings. Sit down with your partner and decide how to answer them together. What are you comfortable sharing with others if anything. It is important and much more comfortable if you and your partner are on the same page here.
- Take time for yourself. People say this is important but what does it mean exactly? Well for those of us on the IF journey it can mean meditation, acupuncture, warm bubble bath or maybe a massage. But more specifically, we should remember the importance of time management. If you use one of those relaxing techniques today and then you wait until February to do it again, you might be defeating the purpose. If you look at your December calendar and see 2 holiday parties in one week, maybe you should schedule a relaxation day for yourself in between them. Why wait until you are all holidayed out to get that message? After all is said and done, that message may not help as much as it would have in the middle of the holiday shuffle.
- Don’t be afraid to say no. This one sounds like a no brainer but it’s easier said than done. Stand up for yourself. There is no reason to go to every single party or gathering you are invited to. Maybe you have that one friend who is known for her drama. That could be the one you skip. Or maybe you decide to only go to the “adult” parties. You and your partner might be the ones that usually host the holiday party. In that case, you can schedule the party for late in the evening or at an adult location. Separate your options from your obligations.
- Avoid your triggers. I have a pretty good idea of my own triggers. I have a list of them actually. Lists are very helpful for me. I chose to do a lot of online shopping this year. Doing that kept me out of the children/infant’s department. I had a lot of kids to buy for this year so online shopping was my pretty much only option. What about holding that new baby in the family? For some it might be comforting, for others..excruciating. Know your triggers, know your limits. What are your emotional triggers and how can you avoid them?
- Start a project. I find that I can keep myself composed and focused when I am busy. It is when I have down time that my brain automatically goes down that road of “infertility” thoughts. That’s when my feelings have time to become overwhelming. Here is where a new project might help. maybe project isn’t even the right word. Start a new book series, or pick up where you left off on that hobby you started. For me, I am practicing my piano. I try to practice as often as possible, especially when I start feeling a little down.
- Rely on your support system. If you have a good support system at home or in real life, use them! And I am not just talking about your partner. Reach out whenever you feel like you need to. Whether that means calling a friend or family member or posting on your blog. I consider most of you family at this point. I don’t have anyone in my life who knows what I am going through, I mean who really understands. So you guys are more important to my IF journey than you know. I hope you all know I am here for you! Anytime! If you just need to vent, do it! We are in this together. Do not hesitate to reach out!
So that is my list of tips for the holidays. Next week’s list will be more comical than this one. I am already working on it but I will take a few days off because I tested positive for strop throat today. Don’t even get me started on that though. I just went to an Ear, Nose, Throat doctor on Tuesday and she couldn’t find anything wrong with me. No swelling, no fluid on my ears…nothing. She scheduled me for further testing though. My primary care doc looked in my ears for half a second and found a lot of fluid in BOTH! Ah! I will be revisiting the ENT as soon as i feel better just to make a complaint.
Much Love To All!