When you’re planning a pregnancy it’s hard not to daydream about the moment that you reveal your precious secret, some of us hope that day will be Christmas when we’re surrounded by everyone we love.
But if you’ve had months of negative pregnancy results this time of year can be devastating, so we asked midwife Donna Barnekow to give some advice on how to deal with infertility during the holidays.
Donna, from The Conceiving Mind, is a midwife, nurse and mother of two children who were conceived through IVF.
She helps women prepare mentally, emotionally and physically for IVF and coping with infertility. She can relate to the heartache some women can feel at this time of year, even if they already have children and are trying for more.
“If you’re struggling with secondary infertility, sometimes feelings of guilt can creep in as you had hoped for a sibling for your child by now and you feel like the age gap is growing fast,” she said.
“If you’ve been undergoing treatment for infertility, this time of year everything stops. The doctors and IVF clinics take a break and usually your last cycle before Christmas has added pressure because you don’t want to take a break, you just want a baby.”
We’ve asked her to give our lovely Healthy Mummy community three of her top tips about how to get through the holidays if you’re dealing with infertility.
Donna’s Top 3 Tips To Getting Through Christmas
1. Have A Wingman
Donna recommends having someone close by who will have your back in tricky social situations.
“Now this doesn’t have to actually be a man, just someone (your partner or close friend) who is by your side for the awkward social situations,” Donna says.
“With secondary infertility it’s comments like, ‘At least you have your son (or daughter)’ that can really hurt.
“My husband and I would talk about it beforehand, identify the potential suspects and then he would make sure he was next to me for most of the time, or he would make his way toward me if I was in the ‘danger zone.’
“He would change the subject quickly so I didn’t have to answer or just follow my lead if I did answer a tricky question.”
2. Reconnect With Your Partner
Use the time to take a break.
“If you’re not working during the Christmas holiday period, use the time to reconnect with your partner. Struggling with infertility and its treatments throughout the year, going to work, attending appointments means life can become consumed with talk of treatment and next steps,” she says.
“Sometimes just hanging out and spending the time together doing the things you used to do can be a great way to reconnect, keep the lines of communication open and keep you strong as a couple to handle what the new year may bring.”
3. Go Easy On The Turps!
While it’s understandable to want to let loose a bit during the holiday period, you need to know your limits.
“If you’re having a break from treatment, it’s totally okay to enjoy a few drinks and great food, it‘s Christmas after all. But, if you go overboard, get upset and pick a fight with someone over something from the past, it can end up ruining yours and everyone else’s time,” Donna says.
“Alcohol can increase your emotions, lower your defences and make your stress worse if you have to deal with the fallout from an argument in the following days. You don’t need that.”
For more information on trying for a baby, take a browse through our post on everything you need to know about conception.