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As we move further into the winter months, we are faced with more frequent holiday get-togethers, and potentially challenging situations. The key to not just making it through each passing holiday but actually enjoying them, is being prepared! We most likely secure our plans ahead of time, giving us plenty of room to be selective, and prepared.
Unlike Halloween and the December holidays, Thanksgiving tends to be focused more around conversation, than on children. If you are eating with family, children will most likely be present. There is some relief however, if it is anything like my family, the children are too busy running around causing trouble to occupy the center of attention.
I have compiled a quick list of things to remember as you are preparing for the holiday (note: prepare! You will feel most relaxed and ready if you give yourself a pep-talk, and review your options before the actual holiday!):
Be your best friend: You are not required to be anywhere or do anything you are not comfortable with. You have to listen to yourself, and protect yourself. If you feel that going to your cousin’s house with 15 children running around will be too anxiety provoking, then graciously thank them for the offer but let them know you have other plans. You (and your partner, if you have one) must have a discussion before, outlining the most enjoyable and least stressful holiday scenario: where will you eat? How long will you stay?
Prepare your script: This does not mean you will have each conversation planned out, but come to a consensus beforehand. How will you respond to the inevitable question, ‘so when will you have children of your own?’ If you have a couple of planned responses that you feel comfortable with, it will make the conversation a lot smoother, and quicker. When we become anxious about answering a question, it can often lead to us revealing more than we would like, but if we are able to calmly deliver our planned responses, we can guide the direction of the conversation to another topic rather smoothly. If you have told your family you are trying and seeking treatment, this tool also works. They may ask ‘how are your cycles going? What is new at the doctor’s office?’ and instead of giving them a play-by-play of your last blood draws, you could have similar, planned responses.
Throw yourself into the holiday: What better way to focus on the positive, than to enjoy a beautiful holiday? Try cooking, or decorating the house. Find a way to volunteer, or give back to the community. If you are spending a quiet night with your partner, make a special meal and have a nice glass of wine (one or two won’t hurt!). Get outside and take a walk, it is prime bird watching season as the chickadees are feasting for winter – just like us!
Essentially, the best survival tip for any holiday is preparation. Play over your holiday plans in your mind, and prepare yourself for challenging situations. Know that they will pass, and you are strong enough to not just make it through the evening, but also enjoy yourself. Your family and friends love you, and would never want you to suffer through a painful evening on their account. And if things become overwhelming just remove yourself from the situation…and a little bit of pie always helps too.
I would be more than happy to help create a holiday plan with you, feel free to just email or call me at anytime!
Take care, and happy holidays.