Preparing yourself for difficult situations during the festive season

While the festive season can be wonderful, it can also be challenging if you’ve been trying for a baby for a while without success.

Spending time with family and friends who are pregnant or have young families can be difficult if you have been struggling to get pregnant. While we can share in other people’s joy, their success can make your waiting feel longer and more painful.

Family gatherings can also be a time for difficult attention and questions, like “so when are you going to have a baby?” or “aren’t you leaving it too long to start a family?”. Many people, especially those who have not experienced difficulties conceiving, don’t understand that asking someone when they are going to have a baby can be upsetting if they’ve been trying for a while.

Attempting to stay healthy and baby ready during this time by avoiding alcohol and eating carefully can also be a challenge. This behaviour can also be a trigger for questions or suggestions that you may be pregnant – “you’re not drinking, do you have something to tell us?” - which might be awkward or upsetting.

To help you prepare for this time of the year, it’s worth:

  • anticipating questions or jokes on this subject and having answers ready that may help you feel more in control or comfortable.  If you have a partner, have a conversation with them about how you could respond to these sorts of questions or comments. It is best if you can be united in your responses
  • reminding yourselves that you don’t have to answer these questions and that you have a right to keep your situation to yourself. A smile or non-committal expression followed up by a deflective question can help you feel like you are in control of a situation
  • remembering that while people may not mean to upset you, there are times where they are not as sensitive or thoughtful as they might think they are
  • considering whether you may find it helpful to be honest about your situation. Sometimes sharing our problems can help and there can be value in assisting other people to understand more about infertility. However, social settings can be unpredictable. If your fertility journey has not been simple, you may only want to share details about your situation in environments where you feel emotionally safe
  • if there are family or social situations which you think may be too difficult, you may want to consider avoiding those situations or minimising how much time you spend in them, where possible
  • finding activities, settings or projects that are comforting and also offer pleasant and reassuring distractions during days that might to be stressful or taxing.

Be kind to yourself and realistic about what you can reasonably deal with. Be sure to place your welfare front and centre at this time so that you can enter the new year with renewed strength and confidence.

Wishing you a stress-free festive season and a happy New Year.