Invent a competitive game for you and your parter to play as a pattern interrupt – a ‘get through the day a different way’ strategy.

Comments and questions from friends and family can seem intrusive and upsetting, insensitive and crass, when you have been trying for a baby without success and it’s another Christmas when you are not pregnant. However you don’t have to let offhand casual and often well meaning comments ruin your Christmas.  

If Christmas comes at the end of another year of not being pregnant then you may expect to hear some of the following well worn phrases:

‘So its about time you two started a family, you don’t have forever you know’.

‘It’ll be your turn next don’t leave it too long’. 

‘So when are you two going to start trying?’  

Decide to do things differently this year?  

The obvious foreign getaway over the festive period may not be an option but you can still decide to have a good Christmas. A different one. 

This year why not decide to give yourself a day off from being you!  

By that I mean the you that is stuck in the story of trying for a baby, with all of the thoughts and feelings that entails every day. Sounds simplistic I know but give it a try. Thoughts create feelings and emotions, feelings create actions, actions create events. That is how human beings work, how we are programmed to survive on the planet. We don’t even notice the best bit any more, that we have the power to choose what to think about! 

Track your feelings back and you will come to a thought that started you off down a path, down a trail, a downward spiral that ended with you feeling s*** again.  

Practice – Tune into your feelings by briefly recalling one of the worst experiences in your life and notice your posture as your whole body responds.  Your eyes may even fill with tears.  Now deliberately recall one of the best times in your life when you were having fun and felt happy.  Think about who you were with and what you were doing.  Notice that your mood lifts, your physiology and your posture changes.  You have made those changes to your physiology by choice, by choosing what to think about.

Thoughts create feelings, feelings create actions, actions create your life.  

You may not be in control of everything in your life but you CAN choose what to think about.

Noticing your thoughts is the first step to choosing different ones and getting out of the loop you may find yourself stuck in. So today notice your thoughts about the challenges of Christmas.  Then make a decision to take a day off from them. Give yourself and your partner a break, a well earned rest, it is Christmas after all. 

How? The key is to plan.

 

  • Christmas tends to be organised and so (Covid allowing..), the likelihood is that you know where you are going and who you will be with. Take advantage of this fact and prepare. You know the questions you have been asked in the past, so this year plan your responses in advance so you are not caught off guard. Brainstorm some witty answers until you both agree on your favourites, the more outlandish the better. Make it a Christmas game that only the two of you are in on and actually use them and have fun. Make sure they will elicit surprise and close the subject down. Use the time to laugh and change the subject. This will keep the atmosphere light for everyone but it will also be a clear signal that the subject is off limits.
  • When you find your thoughts drifting to the negative, past or future, bring yourself back to the present moment. Use your senses fully. “Narrow your life down to this moment. Your life situation may be full of problems –  most life situations are – but find out if you have any problem at this moment. Not tomorrow or in ten minutes, but now. Do you have a problem now?’ When you are full of problems, there is no room for anything new to enter, no room for a solution. So whenever you can, make some room, create some space, so that you find the life underneath your life situation” The Power of Now Eckhart Tolle
  • Have a drink if you want one, remember you are having a day off and it really won’t matter.
  • Hack your brain chemistry! If you need to give yourself a kick start, fake a big cheesy smile (you may need to lock yourself in the loo to avoid frightening the relatives) keep forcing it and magically it becomes natural and you feel better. This is because the use of your smile muscles is a signal to your brain to release feel good chemicals into your bloodstream. Keep smiling. You could make it secret game number two.
  • Use the time in the loo to stand in ‘wonderwoman pose’ if you want to ramp up your confidence. Better still arms up and head back looking up

Our lives are all about perception. 

Couples with children may be yearning for the peace and quiet you have, whilst you yearn for the chaos they have. Make a mental note of all the things you are able to have and do without children in tow, that you take for granted and most enjoy.  If you don’t already do these things take it from me its time to start!  Plan or remember: exotic holidays travelling to off the beaten track locations; romantic meals in expensive restaurants; peaceful candlelit baths; spa weekends; last minute city breaks; a clean and tidy sporty car; eating your meals slowly; sleep… and when your thoughts start drifting down those old well trodden crappy paths keep bringing them back to this mental glad list. By the way this also works well whilst you are stood in the loo in superwoman pose grinning like a Cheshire Cat! 

Finally, be kind to yourself and to each other and remember ‘this too shall pass’.