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For YouReal-Stories

Coping with the Christmas holidays when you are trying to conceive

By December 9, 2021No Comments
trying to conceive

Written by Deborah Brock, CEO – Nua Fertility

Christmas is one of the most beautiful times of the year and my favorite time. My mother loves Christmas; growing up, our home was like Santa’s grotto! Every year, as our family grew with outlaws (our sister and brother-in-law), so did the pitter-patter of feet, and my gorgeous nephews began to arrive and light up the place. Christmas morning was chaotic (that is, putting it lightly). I loved it! BUT, and an excessively big but, each year, I secretly hoped I would be able to surprise everyone with a baby onesie saying, “Merry Christmas, see you in July.” I secretly hoped to experience the wonder and joy through my own child’s eyes.

For those of us trying to conceive or have experienced loss when trying to conceive, Christmas can be triggering, but like me, it can also be very isolating if you have chaos. A reminder that this is yet another year in which we will not be able to celebrate as we would have liked. At Christmas, family gatherings bring unwanted questions from family members. Friends and couples on your social media feeds are announcing pregnancies. 

As we are heading towards Christmas, I want you to know that I understand and have been there. It is a tough time. Remember, though, that you are unique, loved, resilient, and will get through this. Infertility and TTC (Trying to conceive) can make you feel that you have no control. I am all about taking control, and the holiday season is no different. So, here are my tips that you can use to take back some control this festive season proactively.

Know your triggers

The first thing I recommend is to make sure you know what will trigger your negative emotions. If you know specific questions from family members will cause you pain, note them down. If you know that scrolling on Instagram or Facebook and seeing someone else’s pregnancy announcement will hurt, limit your time on social media. Before you make an action plan, make sure you understand what can cause you to feel sadness, hurt, or pain.

Journal your feelings

I have found that journaling is one of the most effective ways to release and process your emotions. If you are not ready to share your feelings or struggle to find people to share your feelings with, find a notebook and pen and write it all down. If you can, make a habit of it—something you can look forward to every day.

Awkward questions 

If you know you will be asked awkward questions, think about what they might be and construct appropriate responses beforehand to prevent yourself from getting flustered when they pop up in conversation. What do I say to family members if they ask me if I am trying for a baby? Here are some responses to have in preparation:

“Our situation hasn’t been easy, but we are hoping things will turn around soon!”

“We’ve been struggling, but I hope that our time is coming.”

“It’s taking longer than expected, so I’m not sure.”

“We are trying! Hopefully, it will happen soon! “

You can be honest but do not feel the need or pressure to explain more than you must.

Set boundaries 

Christmas can be so overwhelming when you are trying for a baby. Everything can seem to be about everyone else, and there does not seem to be any “me time”. Be selfish! If there is a party you do not want to go to, or family obligations are bringing you down, step back and ask yourself, “will this make me feel better or worse?” It’s OK to say no and utilize that time to be completely selfish. Instead, do something you enjoy. Maybe take a relaxing bath, read a book, go for a walk, watch a movie, whatever you want to do that will give you some sense of self-care. Our blog on tips to lower your stress while trying to conceive will certainly help you get yourself away for a bit.

Don’t isolate yourself from everyone

Confide in people you feel comfortable telling. If you have friends without children, plan with them to do something fun with them. 

Social Media

Social media during Christmas time tends to reflect perfect, happy families–a painful reminder of what we want but don’t yet have. Remember that social media is not a true reflection of people’s lives; it’s just a snippet of what they want others to see. You can choose to mute certain social media accounts during this time of year. You can also look for new social media accounts to follow, giving you a sense of belonging and support. Or you can also disconnect.

Treat yourself

A holiday? A spa day? A night out with the girls? A new dress? If there is something, or a few things, to give yourself another focus, or something to look forward to, then do it. 

Journal your feelings

Anticipate that your emotions will be up and down and that this is OK. I’ve found that journaling is one of the most effective ways to release and process your emotions when trying to conceive. If you’re not ready to share your feelings or you’re struggling to find people to share your feelings with, find a notebook and pen and write it all down. If you can, make a habit of it—something you can look forward to every day.

You are not alone-reach out if you need help

It’s also important to understand that you are not alone. Many couples with fertility issues are experiencing the same feelings this Christmas. If you’re grieving a loss right now or you’re still having trouble processing your emotions, please reach out to a specialist for help. Connect with support groups through social media or a charity network such as the National Infertility Support & Information group of Fertility Network UK https://fertilitynetworkuk.org/. If you’re going to be with family during the holidays, make sure you have people you can turn to if you feel triggered in any way.

Christmas triggers can creep up on you and may seem to be everywhere, and the truth is that we are all different, and there is no one way to manage them. Remember, be gentle with yourself this Christmas, recognise that there may be challenging times but always honour your feelings and do what is right for you. Stay strong in your trying to conceive journey.

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Amy Martin

Marketing Director

Amy is a high achieving individual with a number of marketing awards under her belt, including Young Digital Business Person of the Year 2019. She is a big believer in digital marketing and an expert in executing personalised targeted campaigns. Amy strives to learn from data and campaigns that show return on investment.

Robert Gordon

Managing Director, Gordons Chemists

 

Robert Gordon, director at Gordons Chemist's. Gordons Chemists is a chain of more than 60 pharmacies, located in NI and Scotland. Gordons Chemists is Northern Ireland's largest independent pharmacy chain.

Dr. Debbie Collins

MBBchBAO MRCGP

 

Dr. Debbie Collins MBBchBAO MRCGP, a practicing GP and partner in Belfast. She has a passion for patient education and advocacy. Her special interests are Women's Health and Fertility

Sarah Trimble

Nutritional Therapist

 

Sarah Trimble - a nutritional therapist with a passion for good food instead of fad diets. Sarah has a particular Interest in using the power of nutrition to support hormonal imbalances and reproductive health.

Barbara Scott

Director, Seren Natural Fertility
Chair, Association of Reproductive Reflexologists

 

Barbara Scott is Chair of The Association of Reproductive Reflexologists, founder of Seren Natural Fertility and author of Reflexology for Fertility. In 2017, she was awarded ‘Complementary Therapist of the Year’ by the Federation of Holistic Therapists and has been nominated for several awards within the field of complementary therapy. In 2019 she was awarded the Innovation in Reflexology Award by the Association of Reflexologists.

Barbara speaks and lectures globally on her integrative approach to supporting couples having difficulties conceiving. She has spoken at many of the Fertility Shows and Fertility Fest. Alongside her own busy clinics, she also trains practitioners in providing this integrative, approach to fertility and reproductive healthcare and well-being. The ARR (Association of Reproductive Reflexologists) has trained practitioners globally, from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Europe, and most areas of the UK.

Her expertise and passion is in advocating a patient-centred and integrative approach to supporting both men and women on their journey to parenthood.

Cindy Charles

Fertility coach and Founder of Fertilelife

 

Cindy Charles- Fertility coach and Founder of Fertilelife. Cindy is a committed advocate of social and personal development. Her own life experiences inspired her fertility support services. Cindy has worked with the Fertility Network UK, and has had the privilege to work as a resident Fertility Coach for the London Women's Clinic on Harley Street. Cindy believes in the importance of nurturing our own fertility.

Dr. Lyuda Shkrobot

MD, MSc Gynecologist, Fertility specialist at unq.life fertility clinic

 

Dr Lyuda has a special interest in reproductive immunology. Dr Shkrobot assisted in establishing the first European Donor Egg programme at Sims, coordinating and liaising with Intersono Clinic in Ukraine Advisors. She is passionate about patient-centred, results-driven care.

Lisa Corcoran

Business Development Executive

 

Lisa has 15 years of commercial business experience. She has proven her capabilities in Investment Property Sales and, Management & Business Development for Technology companies that have provided her with an understanding of different customer needs across several sectors. Lisa appreciates the value of customer education and relationship building in long-lasting partnerships.

Aoibheann Murphy

Chief Financial Officer

 

Having trained with PWC, Aoibheann qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1997. She subsequently spent eight years working in industry, gaining invaluable experience in many areas In 2005 Aoibheann became MD of Pangur Consulting, providing professional expertise to a broad client base. She is looking forward to the new challenge of Nua Fertility.
 

Share a little about yourself—the things we wouldn’t learn from simply reading your professional bio.

 

What was your journey to parenthood like?

Right craic!
 

Do you prefer podcasts or books? And of the one that you prefer, what is a show or title that you recommend?

I love sport…any sport…and the outdoors. Living in the Barrow valley I get to enjoy swimming and kayaking in the Barrow and exploring the Blackstairs mountains. Since I hung up my soccer boots (the body just couldn’t take it anymore!), I’ve been cycling with my lovely friends in Mount Leinster Wheelers and was chuffed to have completed the Ironman 70.3 triathlon event in Dublin in 2019!
I’m an avid reader…books beat podcasts hands down!...although recently I’ve dabbled with audio books through the library app Borrow Box. “A Little Life” left its mark on me. A harrowing story, definitely not for the faint hearted.
 

If there was just one thing you could impart on women on their journey to parenthood, what would it be?

Don’t be consumed by the roles in your life – parent, partner, employee etc. Parenthood, be it getting there or going through it, will have its tough times. Cherishing yourself as an individual and making time for yourself can help you through those times….it’s good to be a bit selfish!!

Mark Mullins

Director of Sales

 

What was your journey to parenthood like?

To be honest it was very difficult. At the beginning we thought that when we decided that we wanted to start a family Deborah would fall pregnant shortly afterwards like many of her friends. As time went by, we started to suspect something was wrong. After initial tests we found out that I had a low sperm count which meant that we would have to go down the assisted pregnancy route. This took me several months to get my head around as I blamed myself for this. All I wanted was my wife to be able to go through the pregnancy journey. We couldn’t wait to become parents. There were many long and painful nights where I thought this would never happen for us. After several failed attempts we decided to look at further ways of improving our chances. This led us to look at fertility supplements, our diet, exercise. I will never forget when that morning during our Two Week Wait when Deborah woke me up at 5 a.m. to show me those two lines, we had both been yearning for! We are blessed to now have our beautiful daughter.
 

On challenging days, what kept you going? Where did you find inspiration?

My wife was my inspiration. She kept me going through those challenging months and years. She was there to help me deal with everything. The guilt I felt when I saw her having to go through everything.
 

What is your ideal was to relax and unwind?

My latest passion is cooking on my BBQ. I find it so peaceful and I just switch off. It just gives me a bit of alone time which everyone needs.
 

If there was just one thing you could impart on men as they begin trying to become parents, what would it be?

I would highly recommend communicating with friends and family. A problem shared is a problem halved. Failing that there are some really good private Facebook groups for men suffering from infertility. I found this great support through the good and especially the bad times.

Deborah Brock

Founder & CEO of Nua Fertility

 

Deborah has a personal passion for fertility health, supporting people and communities. With over 15 years experience of working in the Non profit and Education sector, I have had the honour of working together with people and communities focusing on their strengths, capacities and assets. With extensive senior management, project management and creative programme development experience.

How did your experience with fertility inspire you to help start Nua Fertility?

My own personal fertility journey opened my eyes to the world of fertility health. Trying for a baby is one of the most exciting yet vulnerable times in your life. It took myself and my husband over three years and the helping hand of science to become a mum.  I have always worked with people and communities and felt my vision for Nua Fertility could genuinely support others who have fertility challenges.

Share a little about yourself—the things we wouldn’t learn from simply reading your professional bio.

I'm am curious person and love all things research. My ideal evening would be reading and exploring scientific journals! I like to think I am a little bit creative and I LOVE paint by numbers! Its probably the only time I slow down, I become immersed in the painting and think of nothing else.

What do you want to tell someone trying to conceive or already pregnant?

Educate yourself! Knowledge is power. The more you inform yourself about your fertility health the more you are empowering yourself with knowledge. Own your journey and take control over your own fertility health.

What’s something you wish someone told you while trying to conceive?

Open up and talk with friends and family. I was surrounded by amazing friends and family but I never opened up. When your struggling to conceive, a non-judgemental ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on is so powerful.