As the decorations are hung and invitations arrive to end of year festivities and celebrations, for some patients struggling to conceive, this time of year can be met with many mixed emotions. There may be some aspects of this time of year you are looking forward to, perhaps a break from work, some time to socialise and celebrate (especially with the year that we have had in Victoria). However, it is not uncommon for people trying to conceive to find these end of year celebrations difficult to navigate.
Coping with end of year festivities and celebrations
Christmas particularly is often a time focused on family and children and this alone can intensify feelings of sadness. At celebration events, you may see friends and family that you have not seen for some time. Sometimes questions about what has happened for you this year or more directed questions about starting a family can leave patients feeling vulnerable and unable to know how to answer.
- It can be useful to plan for this period, ensuring that you have down time. Keep up your self-care regime as much as possible, eating well, getting exercise and doing what you know is nurturing for you.
- Review your invitations and whether you need/want to say yes to all of the events that you have been invited to. Where possible, choose the events that you will feel most comfortable and supported at. Social events can be fabulous for a good diversion and way of reconnecting with others.
- For events that you are most anxious about, create a plan for yourself. For example, can you attend for a shorter time period, can you take a break and have someone ready to confide in if someone does ask you that uncomfortable question. Have a good friend/partner/family member on standby!
- Plan some standard lines ready to say to people if they do ask questions about starting/growing your family. They might be sentences like:
- I/We are just seeing what happens
- I/We have opted to keep things on the low down at the moment
- It is tough for us/me at the moment
Then then feel able change the subject!
- If you start to feel yourself feeling sad or overwhelmed, use some self- talk to get you through. Things like ‘It will be over soon and I will leave and have a rest’ or ‘It is ok that I feel like this, I am going to have a good chat to someone when I get home’.
- If you are struggling and feeling overwhelmed, book in a supportive counselling session with the Number 1 counselling team or your own private counsellor.
- With the focus on family and children, for some patients it can feel as if they don’t ‘fit’ into the celebrations. Create your own celebration on your terms and invite the good supports in your life. This might be something small like a coffee with a friend, or something bigger like an end of year picnic. Feel able to celebrate what you have achieved this year, from a decision to undergo treatment, to small progresses in all aspects of your life, acknowledging that you got through a tough year.
Senior Counsellor, Number 1 Fertility.