7 December 2016

7 Ways to survive the festive season when you’re having difficulties trying to conceive

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Sims IVF

Christmas can a challenging time for many people, and particularly if you are experiencing difficulty getting pregnant, as you navigate friends and family asking about your baby plans.

We are now coming into the festive season and I realise that you may feel moments of sadness - longing for a family, trying to look cheerful even though it hurts and hoping people will avoid the topic altogether.   All these feelings are perfectly normal.

Christmas is a time of peace, gratitude and friends.  Here are seven ways to get through this festive season when you’re having difficulties conceiving.

1. Be prepared

In the coming weeks, you may have to deal with curiosity from family members, or have to cope with insensitive comments. You may want to practice some suitable lines, so that you’re not caught off guard. Discuss and agree with your partner what your main response to baby enquiries. Be polite, somewhat vague and friendly. Take control of the situation, be warm and then change the subject.

2. Establish healthy boundaries

Unfortunately, you may have to deal with people who you feel are pushy, rude or insensitive. If someone makes a hurtful comment, prepare for this too. People usually don’t know how hurtful it is if they suggest a wonder diet or that you simply need to relax. Remember most of the time they are just trying to help. Be patient with them. Politely and firmly reinforce your boundaries - you never have to discuss anything you are not comfortable discussing, and you’re within your rights to make this known.

3. Mind yourself

The holidays can be a draining time at best. Since December is so often a period of overindulgence, set yourself some goals when it comes to eating and drinking, your sleep routine and even your spending habits, so as not over-extend yourself or put yourself into overly stressful situations. But take the opportunity to enjoy yourself without feeling guilty!

4. Nurture your relationship

While you will hopefully get some ‘me time’ over the holiday, it is also important to spend nurturing time with your partner.   Sometimes, it may feel to you that your partner is not equally interested in the fertility related topics. Well, how do you truly know what your partner thinks or feels about it? Make a conscious decision to acknowledge your partners feelings. A simple question like ‘What can I do for you?’, ‘How can I help you?’ or ‘I’m here for you’ can help to strengthen your relationship.

5. Remember to be grateful

When you want something that is elusive, it can be hard to see the other good things in life.  However, having a positive mindset can lead to positive things.   You might want to reinforce your positive thinking by writing down three things you’re grateful for every day.

6. Find your own well-being in the present

So often, our suffering is caused in most part by our own thoughts and interpretations of reality, rather than reality itself. Challenge your negative thinking and watch your internal monologue.  Try to reclaim your own presence of mind and power in the coming months and remember - nobody can make you feel anything, at least, not without your permission.

When you get carried away in your own thoughts about the world around you, one thing always happens - you are no longer in the world. Sometimes we cannot predict the shape our happiness will come in. Try and find happiness and well-being within you, right now and not in worrying about what could be.

7. Take a deep breath

All of the above can be achieved if you can take a moment every day to stop, turn inward and reflect on your experiences. By incorporating a breathing exercise into your daily routine, you train yourself to relax, which loosens your muscles and lowers your cortisol levels. This brings you back to focused awareness on the present.

There is any number of helpful breathing exercises. You can try a 4/7 technique: wherever you are, close your eyes and find your breath. Breathe slowly in for a count of four, pause for a moment, and then breathe slowly out again for a count of seven. Placing your hands on your lower ribs or diaphragm can focus your attention on the way your lungs fill and empty as you breathe. Simply let go, and clear your mind, even if it’s just for a short while.

Christmas can be a challenging time in your journey to conception, but try to see the many ways that it can remind you of the joys you already have in your life.

Sims IVF is running fertility open mornings early in the New Year.  To find out more, log on to www.sims.ie or contact us directly at (01) 208 0710.