Christmas is coming! And you know what that means:
Countless social events with workmates or colleagues, family functions and everybody else’s kids everywhere.
I found Christmas really tough during our IVF years, especially after a November miscarriage. So I thought I’d share with you some of my tips for navigating your social calendar with grace and good humour in the coming silly season.
I call it: Aunty Sandi’s IVF Silly Season Survival Guide for Grown-ass Women who don’t want to talk about when or whether they’re having babies.
Here’s how it works:
Step 1: RSVP ‘No’ to the events you simply don’t want to attend
- Be unapologetic about it, or lie if you need to – but it’s is incredibly important that you stand up for your needs.
- And if it’s going to be altogether too much to handle and you feel you can’t stand up for yourself, then think about planning some time away or hang out at home, not because you’re hiding, it’s just where you’d prefer to be right now.
Step 2: If you do attend a function, then plan ahead.
Will you be drinking alcohol? If you would normally enjoy a drink, then the lack of it is a flashing emergency light to gossip hounds and curious friends or family.
One simple, sure-fire trick to throw them off the scent: Fake your alcohol intake!
- Make your own drinks, or have your partner bring you your drinks. The key is to make them look like they are alcoholic – a glass of soda water with cordial and garnish, like a lime wedge, could easily be a vodka, lime and soda, or a glass of tonic with ice and slice could be a G&T… you’re the only one who’ll know for sure.
- Nurse the one glass for a while as though you were savouring the cocktail, because smashing through them and not appearing tipsy could be a red flag too. Slur your words if you have to, daahling.
- Drive yourself: Volunteer to be the skipper and moan about it being an imposition; roll your eyes and sound put out… but not too much to attract offers of lifts and questions about why you didn’t take a taxi. After all, designated drivers can drink as much soft drink as they like without issue.
- The skipper routine works best when teamed up with an excuse to leave the party early like: “I’m so busy at work/uni right now, so no I can’t drink, I have a report/thesis to write when I get home…” OR “I have an early start tomorrow, but I wish I could stay…” Do the rounds and excuse yourself, be polite but brief. Ask a question of them and then excuse yourself to the bathroom, or to the bar.
Step 3: Dodging insensitive questions
Small talk at parties and functions is a real minef…ield. People who barely know you, or have only just met you, can easily ask questions that sting without them realising how deeply they’ve cut you.
Let’s put up a bit of a barrier to your most sensitive nerves right here, right now, with these little conversation tricks:
- Talk first – when you run into someone you think may ask an insensitive question, you can save them from putting their foot in their mouth by offering up your latest news first.
Or better yet:
- Ask them questions about them and their interests to get them talking and guide the conversation away from opportunities to talk about you. You’ll have them talking at length and they’ll love you for showing an interest.
“So Derek, Tell me more about your XYZ project/trip to ABC/renovating your house…”
A final thought:
The best gift you can give yourself this Christmas is a beautiful pair of big girl panties and a big gift box of healthy boundaries.
I lovingly encourage you to care for yourself first.
So go ahead, print off and sign the permission slip I’ve put together for you below, and keep it somewhere you can read it whenever you need a reminder that it’s perfectly OK to put your needs ahead of others.
My gift to you for yourself:
Your permission slip
If you’d like to your own customised IVF Silly Season Survival Guide where we discuss how to set and honour healthy boundaries around your fertility struggles, then please book a chat with me here: https://sandifriedlos.as.me/coffeechat.
Find a time that suits you, mix yourself your BYO beverage of choice and let’s get some strategies in place to help you feel like partying again soon, whatever your future holds.
Wishing you a wonderful silly season without awkwardness and insensitivity.