Guest blog by Monica Bivas, a holistic fertility coach.
As the holidays approach and you watch your neighbors fixing their Christmas trees or placing Hanukah menorahs, holiday cards arriving in your mailbox, and nonstop commercials promoting everything possible on your TV, many of these can be a trigger of sadness at this time of year when you’re on a journey of TTC.
Experiencing any fertility issues by itself is stressful and brings you a full mix of emotions that are challenging enough during anytime during the year, but with the stress of the holidays it’s even harder.
As a fertility warrior myself who went through 5 cycles of IVF to reach my goal of becoming a mom, I know how difficult and overwhelming this time of the year can be.
We have a dream of being able to place a gift to “our” child below the Christmas tree, or have them help us decorate our home for the holidays, or singing Hanukah songs after lighting the candles, or playing dreidel with chocolate coins…. But that dream is not happening this year. And instead of being a joyful dream, it passes to instead sadness.
Since I’ve been there and I know that feeling, I know you need to have some self-care guidelines to help ease additional “stressors” during this holiday season. Though this might be difficult to start these self-care guidelines at first, after awhile you will see how they immensely will help you through the holidays.
Holiday Get Togethers
One of the things I’ve learned you must do during the holidays is to be selfish in a loving and healthy way. How does being selfish work? This means that you must “filter” the times you spend with family and friends during the holidays. This does not include your partner or spouse as they can be a great support system. How do you “filter” your time? If there is any friend or family member that just became pregnant, or is focusing on becoming pregnant, or just had a baby, you might want to consider to not attend gatherings with these people. You have enough on your plate to focus on with building your own family with your partner, and by “filtering” out those events, you are centering on your own pace of your TTC journey. Instead I recommend trying to find a group of women (or couples) or community of women who are going through the same journey you are walking. You will see how fun it can be to be surround yourself by people going through similar experiences where you can talk, share, listen or even cry on a shoulder that understands your journey. They might even share with you some tools they find helpful for this journey like journaling, nature walks, even coloring can be amazing. Things that help you to shift your mind for even a moment during this time.
You Deserve it!
Nourish and spoil yourself – trust me, you deserve it! Treat yourself with something special that maybe you wouldn’t normally do. A weekend with your partner away somewhere. A massage for just you or a even a couple’s massage. A date with your best friend to your favorite restaurant that you haven’t been to in years. By doing these things, you are opening space for love in your hearts and soul. And trust me, your body reads that – especially when you’re on an ART (IVF) cycle.
Acknowledging this is a moment on your journey
Remember something very important, this fertility journey and medical treatment, is not forever. Even if you are on your XX cycle number (yes multiple cycles make it harder, but they are not forever). Yes the cycle is time consuming, but you will not be an infertility patient forever. This is just a temporary situation that brought a lot of challenge to your live, but that’s it, raw and clear. You need to say this and believe it with all your heart and soul.
Finding YOUR Community
As mention above, finding support from others walking the same path is really a huge step in helping yourself during your journey. Today with the easy access to technology, we can find online communities, that can understand us and will not make unsensitive comments. There are also so many different communities with women on different journeys, so you can find the one that is right for you – for someone on their first IVF journey, someone who has been on a long TTC journey, someone who is over 40 trying for their first child, someone who is experiencing secondary infertility, or even someone who is considering adoption as their path of a child. There are many communities and it’s worth taking the time to find the one right for you that will support you and help you.
One group I would encourage you to look at is Circle+Bloom’s Private Facebook Group. It’s a group of women dedicated to learning, helping, and supporting each other on the journey to building a family. They share their stories, inspire each other, help you find hope, discover kinship, and take joyous, positive action on your journey. They also offer many webinars with fertility experts to help support you on your own personal journey or answer questions you have about the TTC process. The group is TOP SECRET so that no one on Facebook will see that you’ve joined the group, nor can they see any of the posts or comments you make within the group.
Let’s Get Creative!
Go ahead, get creative! Creativity is something we all have within us in different ways. You don’t have to be Picasso or Vincent van Gogh to be creative. Coloring in a coloring book, knitting something, journaling, scrapbooking, creating jewelry, and even doodling. Creativity brings openness and positivity while making you happy. Creativity actually helps to release serotonin which is our happy hormone.
And finally, practice gratitude. Be grateful, for the good things that have come into your life. Connect with your core and look at your past and remember your happiest moments you’ve had…and you still will have. You were not always in this ART state you are in currently. Focus on appreciation and thankfulness for every area of your life that is going well. Remember your treatment is temporary, and the ultimate goal which is having a baby will eventually come.
Love and light to you!
Monica Bivas was inspired by her own experience with IVF, her road to motherhood was not an easy one and she knows what it is to walk in the shoes of fertility issues, and she now works with couples on their own IVF journey. She promotes love, positivity and her main mantra “Where your thoughts go, energy flows”.
Monica coaches and mentors women and couples all over the world going through IVF. She offers three different 1:1 programs on IVF depending on what fertility journey you are on, as well as group programs. Learn more about Monica by visiting her website.