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Dear Santa

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While Christmas is an exciting time of year for many, it is also a time when those who have experienced struggles, loss or grief can find it especially difficult. Many couples facing infertility or pregnancy loss will have hoped that they would have a new baby by this Christmas. I have seen many comments on blogs and forums that express disappointment over their situation and a reluctance to embrace the festive period.

I am the least Christmassy person you could ever meet (I just don’t get the hype!) so it was never going to be an issue for me. This time of year is not momentous for me in any way. But I can appreciate that for many it is a time for family and that can be hard when you hoped yours would look very different.

My advice is to:

  • avoid placing too much emphasis on what is essentially one day of the year – just like any time of year there is hope and a multitude of opportunities and possibilities ahead
  • look at what you have got, rather than what you have not got – you may not have the baby you are desperate for but you have many other wonderful things in your life
  • embrace the distraction – consider the time off work or the socialising the perfect thing to occupy your thoughts. If you don’t feel sociable get cosy with some comfort food and watch elf and home alone!

Home Again

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Sadly we are home now from our holiday. We had a gorgeous week in Israel and it was wonderful to spend time with my family and husband. It seems so strange to think that the last visit to Israel, 2 weeks after our termination for medical reasons, was during such a dark and depressing time. For this visit we were in a different, hopeful and positive place. So much can change in 8 months.

We walked along the same beach we always do and silently hoped that our next visit would be with a little one in tow.

The baby is increasingly active and I love the movements I can feel. Hopefully soon my husband will get to feel them too. Every night I place his hand on my tummy convinced he will feel the kicks. I can’t wait for him to enjoy it too.

When To Go Back To Work

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After we lost our baby I did not want to face the world and resume real life for some time. I wanted to hide away and shut out everything that represented normality. That included work. I deliberated about whether it would be best to go back so that I could take my mind off our loss or whether I needed time to return to my usual self. At the time those around me kept insisting I went back. I felt a lot of pressure. It resulted in me going back too soon and having to postpone my return for a while. I learned that you have to trust your own instincts and that other peoples advice, while well-meaning, is not always right. When I did go back I found it to be a very positive distraction, but I had to be strong enough to manage it. I was extremely fortunate as my boss and all my colleagues (many of which I consider friends) were endlessly supportive and understanding. Their kindness made all the difference.

During this pregnancy, which has been fraught with worry, work has been the best thing. The summer break I had from work was awful as I was bored and had too much time to think about everything. Having a busy, productive day is far better than letting the situation consume me. I like to be busy and feel like I have a purpose to my day. Who knew work could be such good therapy!

Paint Your Troubles Away

 

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Painting is such a relaxing distraction from the anxiety and sadness of IVF and pregnancy loss. It doesn’t matter what the finished piece is, just get those paints out and enjoy some creative therapy. It will take your mind off all your worries. Express yourself. Here are two of my creations!

Get On Your Bike!

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Waiting until our second IVF attempt seemed like a prison sentence. To pass the time I took up some new hobbies. One of which was cycling. Turns out bikes are a bit like IVF, you have to wait for them to be ready, and they are more expensive than you thought. However I love my new wheels, matching helmet, star-print bell and pink gloves (as shown above).

I ride to work (well before the embryo transfer I did) and with my husband and friends. Mostly I ride to St. John’s Wood for frozen yogurt! Keeping fit and active was just a bonus really.

If you see me cycling past please try not to hit me with your car.

 

How Puzzling

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My lovely friend received a 2,000 piece puzzle for her birthday. On one of my many visits to her home I got involved. It was a great distraction and before we knew it we 3 hours had passed. Over the weeks we did more and more of it and it was a great focus while we chatted about everything and nothing. I was hooked!

I did a bit of googling and found studies that suggest that jigsaw puzzles can actually lead to a longer life expectancy, a better quality of life, and reduce our chances of developing certain types of mental illness by an amazing third. Apparently it is due to the simultaneous use of both sides of the brain. In addition, completing a puzzle, or even just the successful placement of one piece, encourages the production of dopamine. Jigsaw puzzles are a unique activity that allows us to achieve a state of creative meditation, while imparting a sense of accomplishment.

You’ll find me in the toy store.