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Coping with Christmas Triggers when Trying to Conceive

14 December 2020

Christmas season can be the most wonderful time of the year, but for those trying to conceive, it can bring triggers, a sense of isolation and a reminder that this is yet another year when we don’t get to celebrate the way we truly wanted. In this article, we’re going to review common Christmas triggers, so you can plan ahead during this season.

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 the year. You can also look for new social media accounts to follow, that give you a sense of belonging and support. Or you can also disconnect and do a complete detox during the season. Do whatever feels right for you.

Shopping, mailing lists and adverts

Christmas season is filled with shopping, mailing lists and adverts that are child-centred. This can magnify the loss we’ve experienced so far, of how we had hoped our life would look like. Whilst it’s difficult to escape these triggers, you can for example, opt out of Christmas mailing lists, or choose to shop in shops that only sell presents for adults.

Christmas parties

Christmas season brings with it a series of parties, with colleagues from work, friends and family. These parties often lead to relaxed conversation and questions which may involve aspects of your personal life that maybe you don’t feel comfortable talking about with them. However, one of the good things about celebrating Christmas in 2020 is that these parties are likely to happen over Zoom! This means you can decide not to join the call, or even attend, and not engage in one-to-one conversations.

Questions, comments and advice

However, even outside Christmas group parties, this is a time of the year when we often reconnect individually with friends and family we might have not spoken to in a while. This may trigger certain questions like “when are you having children?”, or comments like “maybe it’s time to start trying”, or even unhelpful advice like “why don’t you just take a holiday and relax?”. It is also the time when we often receive holiday cards, with family pictures, and sometimes even pregnancy announcements. This can be overwhelming and trigger feelings of sadness, longing and jealousy.

A practical way to address these triggers is to prepare ahead of time for these questions, comments and advice. Prepare responses that feel good for you and practice them. You can also choose not to open all holiday cards as soon as they arrive in your mailbox. Allow yourself the time to open one at a time, when you feel emotionally ready to cope with whatever might be written in the card.

End of the year reflections

Christmas season can also prompt you to reflect on what has happened throughout the year. This can be yet another reminder of loss of time. Whilst you may not have achieved everything you wanted, try to recall all the small victories along the way: maybe you learned something about your body, or maybe you are more resilient or reconnected with your partner. Try to remember both the losses as well as the successes.

Christmas triggers may be just around the corner, and the truth is that we are all different, and there isn’t one way to manage them. And whatever you decide to do this Christmas, everyone at Mylo wishes you a lovely season and a fresh start for year 2021.

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