With Christmas frenzy building up I thought I would share some tips for surviving work (zoom) parties and family gatherings of the season
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 crib 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, each 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.
“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.
“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!
“Why should we?”
“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?”
“Not this week. Would you like another mince pie?”
or give them a little hint that it is on your agenda then divert:
“No answer to that one yet, I’m not Mystic Meg. Aren’t the decorations fantastic this year?”
“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;
“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:
“One in six couples experience difficulty in conceiving, constant questioning can make the situation worse!”
Or go for the absolute truth:
“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 CLASS and fertility visualisation
To learn more simple yet powerful mindbody techniques to calm your mind and soothe your body then check out my free masterclass. I share 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.
I then guide you through a beautiful and deeply relaxing fertility visualisation AFTER I’ve explained the science of why this type of work is so powerful and can help you feel better and more in control no matter what’s going on for you physically right now.
PS I had endometriosis, ovarian cysts, male factor, the lot!
Visit www.embracefertility.co.uk to sign up.
Naomi Woolfson is a mindful fertility coach and cognitive hypnotherapist. Having been through infertility, IVF and miscarriage herself before conceiving both of her children naturally she is more than aware of the stress caused by infertility and how to counterbalance it’s effects to enhance fertility and well-being.