Christmas – the most wonderful time of the year. Everything is wrapped in a magical coat of warm and colorful lights; the smell of cookies and candles is everywhere. Family and friends are coming together and are joyfully chatting about their year. Everything could be so wonderful, if only there wasn’t the pain. The pain of the baby wish that hasn’t come true yet. Emotions don’t just know one direction. The beauty of lights, cookies, precious and cozy times not only bring up joy, but also emotional pain. There might has been the dream of being pregnant and announcing it on Christmas, by either shouting it out loud or wrapping the positive pregnancy test or just a pair of little baby shoes in a beautiful little box and giving it to the future father waiting for his face to explode in joy. Or simply just sitting with a big belly under the Christmas tree excited to welcome this little baby soon on this earth. Fantasies and dreams have no boundaries. However all there is for now is only the frustration that it didn’t happen yet, the powerless feeling of not being in control, let alone the despair of the ups and downs this fertility journey has caused so far.
We see others living our dream and celebrating Christmas and being so happy. We are happy for them, too, but deep inside we feel the pain it causes in us, still waiting, trying and painfully receiving one “not pregnant” after the other. Sometimes we don’t even want to go in front of the door, because everywhere are reminders; women being pregnant, babies in strollers, coworkers showing pictures etc. It seems endless and what is even worse – it is impossible to escape. I felt sometimes hunted, even my plants or the animals outside seemed more fertile than me. Watching my favorite soap wasn’t even safe anymore, being interrupted by diaper, baby food or any other “happily ever after family” commercial.
So what can we do during Christmas to reduce our pain and manage our emotions wisely? We know is important to receive empathy during those tough times, but empathy also comes from “knowing the pain” and this is the hard part about it, since not many can relate to fertility challenges and the pain that comes with it, they won’t know how to act around us. Comments, questions or stories can take us easily out of balance. If we then on top get angry with ourselves the Armageddon is right on, because we think something is wrong with us and we cannot be happy for others and we need special treatment.
Let me tell you, there is nothing wrong with you and yes you do need a very loving and tender treatment at this point, because your body and mind is going through hell wanting to become a mom with obstacles all over the place. There is no doubt – it is exhausting.
My advice and I also had to learn this along our fertility journey, however it was worth it, because it absolutely rescued me from getting destroyed. — Be kind to yourself; don’t be mad about your inner thoughts when you hear from a friend another pregnancy announcement. Allow yourself being sad, angry or frustrated or all together about the fact that it hasn’t happened for you yet. You are not a bad friend feeling this, because there is also a part of you who is happy for them, it is just very overwhelming and a lot of feelings need to be managed – take the time and be there for yourself.
Family and friend mostly mean well and they still say or do things and they have no idea about the impact of it, they don’t know that they are being hurtful. Most importantly allow yourself to feel the pain and either say something and tell them what would be helpful for you or leave the scene and take good care of yourself. I heard from a woman once that on Christmas her sister in law dressed her two kids in T-Shirts “we are having a brother soon”. Her sister in law announced this way that she is pregnant the third time….and she made this big fuss about it, despite the fact knowing that her sister in law and brother were in the room, who have been going through fertility challenges for years and weren’t pregnant yet. This is a situation that is hardly bearable and I felt extremely sorry for this woman. I of course also understand that the other woman was very happy about her pregnancy and she has every right to be. However, if we know that our biggest joy is someone else’s biggest pain…don’t we decide differently? Anyhow we cannot control people and we certainly don’t need to power through any kind of torture.
There will be a lot of get-together during Christmas, a lot of questions, stories, scenes and situations. You do have the choice whether you want to stay in it or not. Do what’s best for you. Sometimes knowing having a choice is already relaxing and makes things surprisingly more bearable, just because we kept the “door of choice” open for us.
Indulge yourself during this time. Get to know your needs. Start little, it is not about a new job or car it is simply about what makes you feel good. It goes down to as little as using your favorite shower gel, putting your favorite oil in a diffuser or putting on your favorite sweater etc. If you tend to always please others, please yourself first. That has nothing to do with being selfish it is self-care. Feel you feelings consciously, avoid to push them away because they come back even stronger. We always think feelings weaken us, but it is the opposite.
The power of locations. We had a Christmas party the other day at our adoption agency and we went there with our little son. Getting there and walking through the different rooms brought up many painful memories. Which is ok, it is part of our live story. However I knew I had to leave. I did not want to put myself through this any longer. I needed to take care of myself. My mom asked me, after I told her about this, why it did not cause the opposite in me, being absolutely happy about our current situation having our son and way passed those painful times. I told her, yes I absolutely do feel this joy, but being back at this location triggered many painful memories and it would have been wrong not respecting them. The more we listen to our feelings the faster they will pass and balance and joy can take their place again.
I wish you all a wonderful Christmas, be aware of your situation, live your own truth, don’t pretend. Be kind to yourself and speak about your feelings, if needed. Otherwise take yourself out of situations and follow your needs. If you do this you will be surprised how much you will enjoy Christmas and the magic about it. Trust yourself and its magic. Don’t miss out on the collateral beauty on your journey. Allow yourself to be and feel and the collateral beauty is all yours. Your dream will come true.
Be your own best friend, know what is best for you.
Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays and a wonderful New Year.
If you need someone to share your story with, I am here for you.