Christmastime can be a really tough time for many people, and for the involuntarily childless, the focus on family and children centre stage makes this especially difficult. As I write about elsewhere, everybody responds to grief differently. For those who have experienced perinatal loss and involuntary childlessness this no exception. Similarly, our regard for and experience of Christmas is varied. Some people love it, some dread it, some redefine it into something that has meaning for them.
If you are someone for whom this is a difficult time of year, the following reflections may be of some comfort.
*You will find more information about our contributors at the end of the post.
Janet Ambrose, artist and PLICA Ambassador
Christmas isn’t one of my favourite times of the year, I spend a few by myself with Kym (partner) at work, I’m good at keeping myself occupied, as it’s not Christmas but people’s insensitivities that are sometimes the problem.
My tips for surviving Christmas, if you are alone, is to plan to do something you really enjoy - watch that movie you haven’t had time to, if you have pets spoil them for the day. If you don’t feel comfortable about going to some events, don’t put yourself under further pressure. Try not to buy too much into the bombardment of advertising this time of the year. Volunteering is always a good way of giving something back to those who need it the most and it makes you feel good too. Be kind to yourself.
Anne Moman Brock, Blogger and writer
Being childfree after infertility during the Christmas season can be challenging because of the big focus on children. As with any time of struggle, I let myself really feel my feelings. After that I focus on the things I enjoy this time of year -- picking out and decorating a tree with my husband, attending or hosting adult-centred holiday parties (during non-pandemic years!), and making handmade ornaments for our nieces and nephews. When travel is allowed, we also look forward to getting away and making memories in new ways over the holidays.
Stephanie Phillips, Founder of World Childless Week
It's come to that time of year again when emotions can be muddled and heightened. I hoped to have a blog written but my mind has been distracted and my words have not made it to the page. Perhaps they will over the coming days but if they don't then it is not meant to be.
Accepting that things don't always go to plan is a positive and takes away the pressure. Accepting that we have the right to do things at our own pace and in our own way is important.
We often feel pressurised by society; should we try to fit in or not? Should we do what makes us happy or fall in line with others and their expectations? Now, at this time of year, should we celebrate or not?
It's all about control. We can decide if we want to take control of our days or accept, we don't always have control. Sometimes going with the flow can be easier than trying to break away and reaching out in another direction. No matter which way you go, remember this is just a small moment in time.
Brandi Lytle, Founder of Not So Mommy Blog… and PLICA Ambassador
The following is an excerpt from Brandi’s latest post. Details on the full post are included in the More Information section at the end.
Before we talk about redefining Christmas, let me just say…
I love the Christmas Season. Yes, even when struggling through infertility… Yes, even when I realized we would lead a childless life… December is one of my favorite months. I think this is because of my Grammy.
As a child…
You see, every year for as long as I can remember, my Grammy had a Christmas party. And one of the highlights of her party–Santa visited! My Grammy made sure that every kid got a present. And I mean every kid. She not only invited her family (my dad’s side of the family), but she invited my mom’s side, too. She invited my best friends. (Yes, Jennifer attended these parties…) She invited neighbourhood kids. Oh. And she invited adults, too! As I entered adulthood, I learned why my Grammy was so adamant that every child received a gift from Santa. But that is her story to tell. Let me just say that it is a magnificent“ Finding Joy Despite…” story.
As an adult…
Now, you might be wondering why I am sharing this. I mean, this is a childless blog and I’m regaling you with tales of grandmas and kids and family parties. Well, to this day, I love not only Christmas, but Santa. And I love Santa because of my Grammy.
After Dane and I were married, we got to be Mr. & Mrs. Claus at a few Christmas parties. In fact, of all the holiday blogs I’ve written, my favourite (and a favourite of the Not So Mommy… community) is Mr. & Mrs. Claus: A Childless Couple (see link below).
Dane has embraced my love for Santa. Because of this, Mr. Claus visits the Lytle Family every year (often on New Year’s Eve) to take photos with Maddie and give me a kiss under the mistletoe. So, when I decorate our home for Christmas, Santa figurines remind me of my amazing hubby who has truly helped me redefine the holidays…
Redefining Home . . .
If you are a regular here at Not So Mommy…, you know that we’ve been remodelling our cabin in the woods for several years. Most of the work is finally done, with only a few projects left to complete. At the end of last year, there was a HUGE push to get a TON of work done. During that time, we turned some empty, wasted space under our stairs into a little house for Maddie and a bar area for Dane.
Redefining Christmas . . .
As I decorated for Christmas this year, I put a collection of Santa figurines on the bar. I also came across a couple of books about Santa that I added to our bar, as well. These decorations sit alongside some beautiful liquor bottles with red and green labels, as well as crystal drink glasses. As I put this together, I vacillated…
Read the full blog post here:
Crystal Webster, Founder of Sharing Solace and PLICA Ambassador
I could focus on all the things I'm missing out on this year - instead I'm choosing to remind myself of all the things I am grateful for: that my family and friends are all (mostly) happy and healthy, and I still have the ability to make an income helping others and doing what I love.
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