I am sharing my fertility journey with a nod to Christmas and how s*** it is if you are facing loss, have just had another disappointment or you are struggling with poor health due to fertility struggles.
Everywhere the message of joy, family and merriment is being spread and for many it can feel like sadness and darkness is forgotten.
My own personal experience of building a family and creating the “magic” was oh so difficult to find back in December 2016. My “Merry Christmas” was just not there, having experienced another miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy after our first try at IVF, followed by a TOPFA (termination of pregnancy for fetal anomaly). I had clocked up 7 losses. That particular Christmas was spent with my family and watching my 13 month old niece delight in the magic. For the sake of her and my family I channelled my inner jolly elf.
I didn’t give myself a year off to not be that jolly elf and now in hindsight my top tip to you is, it is ESSENTIAL to do this! Show yourself some self care, set some boundaries, be kind to you! It’s ok to not celebrate, or celebrate just a little, whatever you feel is right for you. It’s ok to feel sad for the entire Christmas.
Here are my tips on how to look at this festive period with a different perspective:
Build some time for you!
This little yellow book was a way for me to process my emotions on a daily basis. I set myself a task of writing three good things that happened to me each day. Some days it was a chore, other days things flowed. What it did was made me fall asleep with a less anxious mindset. My treat to myself was the purchase of the little yellow book.Take the opportunity in December to slow down, finding a good book to read or treating yourself to a massage.
To Decorate or not?
I actually found decorating the tree quite fun because we have a menagerie of animals and watching the cat attack the baubles was quite amusing. Go nuts, if it makes you feel happy.
If decorating is not your thing, give yourself time off. Next year you might feel the same or different. Hope will return.
Start a new habit or dig out an old one!
Now is a good time to try something new. I learnt to scuba dive, the Friday evening trips to the swimming pool were fun and I was motivated by the booking of a holiday to finish off the course in more tropical surroundings. Pick something that inspires you, if you are not ready to commit to a full on course. Check out workshops which give you a taste of what it could be like.
Gift yourself a dose of nature
Walking outside and going to my favourite place featured a lot in my little yellow book. Turning off my phone and actively looking for something that brought me joy really helped to lift me out of my rut.
If there is a favourite space you like to visit, take the time on your walk to acknowledge your feelings and observe your surroundings. If you can leave your phone at home or turned off in your pocket. Feel the cold air in your cheeks, get your heart pumping as you stride, you may even notice a skip in your step.
Then, reward yourself, head back to the warmth and nurture with a hot chocolate with or without cream. Now is not the time to deny yourself!
These are just a few of my tips to help you rebuild hope, find joy and peace over the festive period.
It really helped me to visualise these tips in a first aid box and access them when I felt I needed them. Maybe a first aid box isn’t your thing, if there is a nice, pretty box you can visualise it helps on those dark days. On a good day, be curious and anticipate what could be next.
May you enjoy and find peace, learn to enhance your well-being on this difficult journey. My wish is for you to keep finding joy in the simplest of things and most of all hope this Christmas.