How To Cope With Christmas When You’re Trying To Conceive

Including dodging unwanted questions from that uncle.

Christmas can be a minefield at the best of times. Weird family dynamics, nosy relatives with all the personal questions. It’s a recipe for disaster. You’d be forgiven for wanting to pull the covers over your head and say ‘wake me up in the New Year.’ 

It’s even more challenging if you’re trying to conceive. From complicated IVF journeys, heartbreaking miscarriages and other people’s babies (that seem to be positively multiplying around you), there’s a lot of deal with if you’re waiting for your positive pregnancy test result.

There’s also very little advice on how to navigate the festive season whilst trying to conceive. If you’re not yet pregnant, and would very much like to be, these five tips are for you. 

1. Choose an emotional support person 

The fertility journey can be long and lonely. While some of us get lucky and conceive within a couple of months, for the many of us  it can take years.

If your partner is working, or has their own family Christmas to attend, consider seeking back-up if you find yourself riding solo on Christmas Day. 

This may look like a trusted relative you can pull aside when the going gets tough, or an external friend you can rely on to be WhatsApp ready. If you know anyone in a similar situation to you, it can be reassuring to swap updates if you need extra support during the holidays. 

Whoever you choose, ensuring you have the right support around you will ensure you get through Christmas with your sanity intact.

2. Have a game plan 

It’s an unfortunate truth that if you’re of child-bearing age, there will always be that one relative who can’t resist probing… ‘So, will we have a new baby this time next year?’

The nosy parkers in your family are probably already springing to mind. While you can try and avoid them as much as possible (and I truly do recommend this as a coping mechanism), it might not always be possible. Or your favourite Aunty could lob a conversational grenade in your direction which leaves you scrambling for an answer. 

Firstly you’re under no obligation to satisfy anyone’s curiosity. Remember your boundaries and stick to them. This could sound like ‘We’re not discussing our family plans with anyone at the moment,’ or ‘I’m not really feeling comfortable with this conversation. Can we move on?’ By preparing some answers in advance you won’t be caught off guard if the conversation moves into dicey territory. 

You and your partner (or trusted person), can also come up with a safe word should either of you need rescuing from a particularly awkward chat. 

3. Manage the ‘ol beverage situation 

As there’s no definitive resolution on how much alcohol is safe to consume during pregnancy, some women decide to stop, or cut back, when they start trying to conceive. 

This can be particularly tricky to handle during festive celebrations when mimosas are flowing thick and fast. 

Here the advice is similar to women trying to conceal a first trimester pregnancy; come armed with an excuse around ‘cutting back’, bring your own non-alch beverages (I love Sobah, Heaps Normal and browsing Sans Drinks), nurse drinks that you can ditch later or pass them off to your partner to drink for you. 

Organisations such as Thrivalist Sobriety also have great resources on how to survive the silly season sober.  

4. Get sneaky 

Nothing screams psychological regression quite like sleeping in your old bedroom over the holidays. Replacing the alco-pops with fertility supplements and trying to conceal your pregnancy plans can make you feel like a teenager all over again. 

To avoid unwanted questions, decant your supplements into less conspicuous bottles (they’re just multivitamins Mum). Leave the jumbo box of pregnancy tests and ovulation kits at home and just pack what you’ll need. These can be stashed away in a separate bag in your luggage to be disposed of when you leave.   

And always remember to lock the bathroom door! The last thing you need is your nephew telling everyone he saw aunty weeing on a stick. 

5. Take a time out

As much as you plan for every situation, there’s no denying that Christmas can be tough if you’re trying to get pregnant. Whether you’re struggling meeting your bestie’s or sibling’s new babies or cannot seem to dodge the incessant questions, take a timeout whenever it gets a bit much. 

Take a short stroll or plan some exercise to get a much-needed rush of endorphins that will relieve feelings of depression, anxiety and stress

Most importantly, be kind to yourself. There’s no right or wrong way to feel during this time and there’s nothing wrong with going AWOL for a moment of respite. 

As we gear up for Christmas, I’m sending anyone that might be struggling to get pregnant the warmest wishes for stress-free festivities. Good luck!  

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