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Celebrating the holidays when you are going through IVF

The holidays are upon us; it’s a weird term ‘the holidays’ isn’t it? Especially as many people don’t actually get time off and for others, it’s not particularly relaxing and enjoyable. Maybe you fall into one of these categories or maybe you will just come across some people that are less than jolly this holiday season. Either way I hope this blog helps you navigate this time of year with more easy and joy.

Here are my tips for celebrating the holidays when you are going through IVF and this time doesn’t feel particularly celebratory.

  1. Say no to the things that don’t serve you. Attending that work Christmas party where everyone keeps asking why you aren’t drinking? Getting asked ‘Are you pregnant?’ by coworkers who you only know in passing. You can say no, you can pretend to be ill or just say you have something else on. It’s ok to not attend every single thing you are invited to, that is why it’s called an invitation rather than a compulsory meeting. And if you are the one getting invitations declined please don’t take it personally, it’s most likely not about you at all.
  2. Say yes to the things that do. Want to spend Christmas day at home in front of the aircon binge-watching your favourite show? You are allowed to do this, sure people may have other expectations of you but especially when you are going through something as big as IVF (in the middle of a pandemic no less), you are allowed to make some allowances for yourself.
  3. Plan ahead. It is a good idea to double check details of any cycle you are going through. Too often once work finishes for the year we shut our diary and forget to check important dates so knowing appointments that may clash with holiday events can be useful in advance.
  4. Be kind to yourself. The holidays tend to be emotionally intense at the best of times but when you add in the stress and hormones of IVF, things can get even more challenging. Be kind to yourself as you are navigating this time especially when you may have to be dealing with relatives who are pregnant or with little ones which may be triggering right now.
  5. Give yourself extra scaffolding. One of the things I found most helpful coming up to challenging times was to think about what extra things I might need in advance. For example if meditation is something you find extra helpful, then blocking out some extra time for that before a big family event may be the difference between having a relaxed time and being extra stressed. Find whatever strategies have been successful for you and double dose on them over the holidays.

The holidays have the potential to be a challenging and triggering time for those going through IVF but they also have the potential to be filled with joy and connection (and cherries, don’t forget the cherries!). Whilst you may need to put some thought into what you need in advance, remember that the real joy of Christmas comes from being around those you love and welcoming the end of this year and the start of a new one.