I thought it was only right to take a pregnant pause from blogging about my own journey…to discuss why Christmas is not always the most wonderful time of the year for women struggling with issues of infertility.
Tis the season to be bombarded with baby reminders. First, there is the Virgin Mary. Really?? Even virgins are getting pregnant! Then come the Christmas cards, complete with the photo inserts of happy families with long letters listing all of the accomplishments of their precocious preschooler. Retail therapy doesn’t help much…unless you map out a way to entirely avoid the long lines of cherub looking children waiting to see Santa. And then there are those family gatherings, where your 20-something second-cousin shows up 7 months pregnant, and your Aunt Alice asks you why you haven’t popped out a kid yet (along with a not-to-subtle reminder that you ‘are not getting any younger’).
Now it’s not as if you are the Grinch who wants to steal Christmas cheer from your friends with families…but it would be nice if Santa delivered on YOUR wish to get you to the delivery room. Do you know that one year I even went as far as changing the lyrics to my favorite Christmas songs just to make me feel better? Take “Santa Baby”, for instance. I would sing, “just slip a baby under the tree for me; been an awful good girl, Santa Baby.” I mean, was it really too much to ask for a genetically perfect egg to hurry down MY chimney tonight???
So here’s my holiday guide on how to survive a Christmas when all you can think about is having a kid. First off, give yourself a present, and realize it’s OK to feel bad about not having a baby. The end of the year can be melancholy for many…and if you have been struggling with infertility all year, it’s natural as a woman to be angry with Father Time. Making matters worse is the image of that damn New Year’s Baby running around in just his diaper (as if you needed another maternal reminder).
You may also want to consider slipping a little something extra into your mix of prenatal vitamins each morning. If you are taking anti-depressants, maybe you consider upping the dose? If you aren’t taking anti-depressants, it’s OK to talk to your doctor or therapist about prescribing something to help you through the holidays.
I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I would get all wrapped up in negative thoughts that I somehow didn’t deserve a baby. Sure, I’d been naughty and ignored my biological clock, but that was Christmas Past. It’s time to focus on Christmas Future, and sometimes a little pill can help you more clearly see all of the possibilities.
And considering your state of mind, it’s also perfectly OK to skip a holiday party or two (especially the ones that are crawling with kids). And don’t think you are obligated to offer up an overly emotional explanation to the host. It’s simply a busy time of the year, and you are booked.
You should also think about planning an adult escape. You know…the kind of trip that people with kids could never take this time of year. Try Cabo at Christmas or a cozy mountain cabin where you are free to Après Ski as long as you like. My fiancé and I always opted for Las Vegas—where the lights were twinkling and the drinkers were merry. It’s also a safe bet that you can lose yourself on a gaming table or two, and after the year you have been through, let me tell you how good it can feel to beat the odds and come up with a winning hand.
Most importantly, use this time to recharge, refocus and reset. The New Year always marks a time to try a new approach. Is there a fertility treatment you haven’t tried? Take this time to do some research. Is your work wearing you down? Figure out a way to lighten your load. Are you at an ideal weight? Lose yourself in getting healthy.
Take it from someone who has cried under her Christmas tree…a lot can happen in one calendar year. Last December I was defeated. I was 44 and spent the holidays feeling that I didn’t have such a wonderful life. It was hard believing in angel wings, and all of those things that make the season bright. But this year, I can’t help but feel joy as I look at the toys under the tree for my baby to be. My eight month pregnant belly really does shake like a bowl full of jelly. And I do believe in miracles (especially the reproductive ones).