Time seems to be flying by more quickly these days, doesn’t it? And when you’re trying to create your family through fertility treatments, time always seems to be an issue. I remember the anxiety produced as each month ticked by at lightening speed. Then add the stressors of the holiday season: shopping, preparations and the family and social gatherings, and it might feel as though time is our keeper.
I remember crying while looking at December’s calendar as we began an IUI cycle and realizing that I would be in the middle of it right around Christmas and New Years.
In hindsight I wished I had taken the holiday off. But that is looking back on our situation from an eleven-year distance. When you’re “in the heat of battle,” that option might not sound, feel or seem correct for you. But I’d like to offer my armchair opinion about holding off on a cycle during the holiday season … if at all possible.
If you decide moving full speed ahead is what’s best for you, then here are some tried and true strategies that can help you bring balance and joyfulness into the season, regardless if you are in a cycle or taking a break.
Social Gatherings and Parties
Here’s a strategy that changes the event from potential failure to a winner.
Break down the event into parts.
Decide which parties you are capable of attending. Perhaps you are in a position where you “must attend” and are feeling the pressure. Commit to yourself and/or your partner that you will attend the cocktail portion and then make a discrete exit. Stay longer if you are up to it. But if you feel you’ve fulfilled your goal, then leave acknowledging “ another job was well done!”
Create an elevator speech.
An elevator speech is a rehearsed and well-delivered speech at the ready to answer those annoying questions such as: “Do you have children?” “When are you going to have children?” and the dreaded, “Isn’t it time for you both to start having children?”
My tried and true elevator speech was, “We have a whole team of experts working on that.”
Remember to use the Every Day Certainty combination by committing to the follow each and everyday:
Gratitude: Writing down ten things you are grateful for each day and using this as your mantra if those negative thoughts start to creep in.
Nurturing Item: Finding one special thing you can do each and every day to uplift your spirit. Perhaps it’s a hot cup of tea, a long shower or walk or maybe a secret indulgence of a candy.
Daily Intention: A daily intention is a mini-goal for the day. Setting your intention to be open to all possibilities or perhaps finding the joy in communication exchanges. What can you intend to look for and give out during the day that will help others and yourself? After all, this season is more about giving than receiving.
And remember, the holiday season will soon pass. But if you can use these strategies to enjoy it as much as possible, you will find yourself feeling stronger as you start a new year.
By Kristen Magnacca, author of Girlfriend To Girlfriend: A Fertility Companion and Love & Infertility: Survival Strategies for Balancing Infertility, Marriage and Life for FertilityTies