Last night I held my therapy group in Norway, five women talked about how it felt to celebrate Christmas and another year without a child. The word “celebrate” did not give them any meaning anymore, the only thing they want to celebrate is a pregnancy and that has not yet happened. Christmas and New Year’s Eve is just another symbol that time is running, they will be one year older as mums and also means they have to accept that they have been through another year of fertility treatment without a result.
I asked the girls in my therapy group how they were planning to celebrate Christmas? One of my clients had rented a cabin up in the mountain with her boyfriend, they wanted to celebrate Christmas alone, without their families around them, as their families didn’t show them any understanding in relation to their childlessness.
Another girl was going to celebrate Christmas with her family, this involves her brother and his new-born child, she finds it hard to accept that her little brother has children and she doesn’t and that her brother is the one that gave her parents the greatest gift; a grandchild. She knows that this child will get all the attention this Christmas and she feels bad not to be able to enjoy being an aunt, but it hurts so much! It hurts to think that she lost the opportunity to give her parents their first grandchild and this Christmas she will be reminded of that. She cries.
Christmas and New Year’s holiday are the days where it is expected that we should spend time with our closest family and friends. But, to be able to enjoy this special time of the year with our families we need to first find out what is best for ourselves and then expect respect for the decisions we make.
This is some advice I want to give you:
- Allow yourself to say NO to some dinner invitations, or other types of gatherings if you feel too vulnerable during treatment. Remember, this is a time limited situation, next year your situation can be different, so allow yourself to except your feelings right now and expect that the people around you will understand. Avoid blaming yourself for not attending certain Christmas parties.
- Try to avoid situations where you need to pretend that everything is ok if it is not! Respect your own emotional reactions and others will also.
- If you go to church Christmas time then check the service arrangements in the evening, a time when there are not so many children present.
- Try to prepare yourself for questions about children and your situation and prepare some answers in advance that you feel comfortable to give.
- Prepare your own rituals and traditions, rituals that makes you happy and give you inner peace.
- Show your gratitude to the people around you that support you in the right way and spend time with them!
Try to think:
- Now I am entering a new year with new possibilities! This year I will experience a pregnancy!
- This is the last Christmas and New Year without a child!
You need to trust that one day you will be the one that is running around buying gifts for your own children and not everyone else’s children. You need to trust that you will also one day will celebrate a pregnancy, a Christmas Eve and a New Year’s Eve being a parent.
My clients in the support group gave each other ideas about how to handle this time of year; they find support in each other. I hope you have built up your own support group around you this Christmas with family and friends.
I wish you a great Christmas and a Happy New Year.