Just this month, I have heard quite a number of TTC moms express their desire to disappear before Christmas gets here. They just wanted to be somewhere no one can ask any questions about the obvious.
Some have been able to perfect plans to this end, and some were not able to (not for lack of trying though).
Sarah is one TTC mom who can’t physically be away, but has put in place measures to protect her emotional health. She had thought that this year was going to end on an awesome note for her, as she had finally gotten pregnant after four years of trying.
She and her husband were officially diagnosed with unexplained infertility just last year. Why the long wait, you wonder? Well, Sarah is a doctor, albeit a family doctor, and had been the one waiting just to see if they would pregnant soon. After all, that was her usual counsel to her patients. So, it was a case of the physician taking her own advice, and she did a good job of taking it.
Even with a diagnosis, Sarah had not wanted treatment. She had just been more about optimising their conception chances naturally, and that meant lots of supplements, clean eating and exercise. All those efforts yielded some results when she discovered she had conceived spontaneously earlier this year.
It was awesome news.
Their friends and family were so happy for them, when they found out about their good news and when she began to show, she attracted lots of warm looks, smiles and a lot of protective attitudes from even people she was not close to.
So, when she lost the baby in the second trimester due to an incompetent cervix, she wasn’t the only one devastated by her news. Just as she didn’t have to announce her pregnancy, she also didn’t have to announce her miscarriage. People just knew and that was when it got really hard.
People remembered when she wanted to forget. They patted her back whilst greeting her , and that action alone had made her emotions bubble to the surface one too many times. But thanks to tight control, she had been able to keep her composure.
But as grim as that miscarriage was, it was also a ray of hope. It was a promise that if she could get pregnant spontaneously once, then it could happen for her again. And that is the hope that she clings on to till today.
But as the festive season approached, which would also have been her EDD, Sarah found herself apprehensive. All of a sudden, she felt keenly her loss. Several people who knew she was pregnant, but didn’t know she had miscarried, were going to be around and even if they didn’t ask, the questions would be in their eyes.
This was a serious source of bother for Sarah, and she discussed it with her husband. After worrying the man endlessly, he suggested that she come up with a list of things that would make this festive period easier on her sensitivities, and they were going to see how it worked out.
It was as though Sarah had gotten a project, because she gave so much thought to it and indeed came up with a list and even a different ‘donts’ list.
Sarah shares her list below in the hope that it will make the life of just one woman easier over the holidays.
Dos: Celebrate the season, as you really feel. This year was one Sarah wanted to spend doing the things that she wanted, not following any family tradition and that already meant a late night movie and lots of snuggle time with her favourite person in the world.
Yes, it was a norm for them to spend the Christmas day at her mother-in-law’s house, where all her husband’s siblings always congregated, and later move the party to her parent’s house. But this year, that routine didn’t appeal to her at all and she didn’t even care that her family would read meaning into it. It wasn’t happening and that was it.
Don’t try to force the cheer. Truth be told, Sarah didn’t feel so into the season and she wasn’t going to force it.
Do: Decide in advance how you will handle difficult and insensitive questions. You may even want to rehearse your answers. Sarah decided to be upfront with her relatives as to why she couldn’t join certain celebrations and traditions this year. Of course, she made this known over the phone, not in person.
Don’t: Even though family gatherings are not part of her plan this year, she also knows the kind of family she has. They would find their way to her home, so she prepared answers about her plans for having a family. Some vague, non-committal but enough to satisfy family member’s curiosity responses are what she has planned.
Do: Make faith purchases. This is the season of giving and gifts buying. You don’t have to feel left out. You can do what Sarah calls faith purchasing.
That’s when you buy an item for your future child or children, in anticipation and hope for the future. You can keep these items in a hope chest, knowing one day they’ll be put to great use…because they really will be put to great use.
Even though she bought some baby stuff earlier in the year, Sarah bought a tiny gift to add to her hope chest…waiting for that one day.
But with that said…
Don’t overdo it. Just something significant.
With this list, Sarah has made sure that her life will be a lot easier this holiday period but she is also ready to feel the emotions that may come her way, because anything can happen.
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