With the Christmas frenzy building, we asked Naomi from Embrace Fertility to share some tips for surviving the onslaught of work parties and family gatherings!
I’m sure most of us have experienced that awkward silence after an aunt or work colleague tells us to hurry up and have a baby before it is too late. How on earth are you meant to respond when you are in the mist of infertility and what you want most in the whole world is a baby!
One of my tumble weed festive silences was a year into trying to conceive
It was Christmas Eve and I was back in the village I grew up in staying with my parents. We were at church for the Christmas service, to sing carols and to catch up with everyone.
After the service I was stood with my mum and a group of her friends, with a couple cradling a grandchild in their arms. ‘Come on Naomi when you giving your mum some grandchildren?’ somebody asked.
10 pairs of eyes looked at me expectantly. Seconds felt like hours. My godmother bless her, who didn’t know we were trying chipped in haughtily: ‘Naomi is far too busy with her important job in London to be thinking about babies!’
Phew saved but that was not the case at all, I thought about babies constantly, mainly the fact that I didn’t have one yet.
Other examples of the ridiculous and hurtful questions people have asked while I was experiencing infertility
‘How come you guys don’t have kids who has the problem?’
‘I can’t stand the fact that children make everything sticky. That’s why we are not having them how about you?’
and from people who knew we were having problems;
‘You are definitely too stressed to get pregnant! It’s obvious don’t you think?’
‘Why don’t you just hurry up and have treatment what’s the hold-up?’
‘I don’t believe in fertility treatment I think it’s morally wrong don’t you?’
‘It doesn’t take normal people this long to have kids what’s wrong with you?’
Awkward silence after awkward silence. So I came up with some prepackaged answers.
Being armed with classy comebacks when assaulted with this type of question is a fantastic way to protect yourself and can make heading into the numerous social situations of this season less daunting.
Ranging from the softly softly to the whack them round the face with a sprig of holly response! Suitable for all levels of inappropriate comments.
First tactic is to answer their question with another question. Fab as you don’t need to actually need to give away any information about yourself or your situation.
Comeback 1: “Are you thinking of having (more) children yourself?”
Sometimes people ask because they actually want to talk about their own situation so why not give them that opportunity? This one can also be entertaining if the person asking is obviously not going to be having any/more. i.e. an ancient great aunt.
Comeback 2: “When do you think we should have children?”
Some people will actually answer this for you but most will realise how inappropriate it is for them to be planning your sex life!
Comeback 3: “Why should we?” or
Comeback 4:“Why do you ask?”
Both are fantastic comebacks which will stump most people who are probably just asking to pass the time.
Second tactic is to divert the conversation via a non-committal answer. For example in response to “When are you having children?”
Comeback 5:“Not this week. Would you like another mince pie?”
or give them a little hint that it is on your agenda then divert:
Comeback 6: “No answer to that one yet I’m not Mistig Meg. Aren’t the decorations fantastic this year?” or
Comeback 7: “Hopefully soon. I did send a letter to Santa! Did you get what you asked for this year?”
A good one for putting a lid on future questions is;
Comeback 8: “Not yet but be assured that when there’s news, you’ll be one of the first to know.”
If you’re feeling a bit more bolshie try one of the following:
Comeback 9: “One in six couples experience difficulty in conceiving, constant questioning can make the situation worse!”
Or go for the absolute truth:
Comeback 10: “Well we have been trying for years and so far have spent thousands on treatment. Then we suffered a miscarriage and I’m really struggling to cope at the moment!”
Which ever tact you go for it can help to get your partner on board so you are a united front. Decided in advance who gets what level of confidential information so you don’t get surprised when his brother suddenly starts asking you about when you ovulate!
Take extra good care of yourself this season and know that it’s totally reasonable to duck out of any gatherings, family of otherwise, if you just can’t face them. If you do decide to go set yourself a limit on how long you are going to stay and if you need to take a time out during the event to regroup.
A lovely acupressure technique to take your body out of stress response and comfort yourself is to give yourself a hug! Wrap one arm around your rib cage directly under your breasts with the other arm on top with your hand wrapping around your arm just above your elbow. Hold yourself with gentle pressure and take three deep soothing breaths in through your nose and out through an open mouth. Holding these points and breathing in this way is soothing and calming for both mind and body.
Coping at Christmas while trying for a baby free masterclass!
To learn more simple yet powerful mind and body techniques to calm your mind and soothe your body join me for this free masterclass on Sunday 8th December at 8pm GMT. I am going to be teaching how to stop repetitive negative thinking in its tracks and how you can not only survive but thrive this Christmas even if you are really suffering at the moment. Visit here to sign up.