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Challenge: Reducing Holiday Stress

Holidays When Adopting: 3 Uncomfortable Holiday Situations; How to Cope?

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The holiday season is a time to spend with family and be thankful for all you have, but this holiday is a difficult and stressful one for people who are trying to build their families. It can be hard to find joy during the season when you are waiting for your child. More hardship comes when you have to face families who have their own kids or don’t understand what you are going through. As the holiday season approaches, you begin to dread the season as you gear up to face your families.

Your extended families are definitely something to be grateful for during this holiday season, don’t get me wrong. And most families only have the best intentions with your journey in mind. But unless they have gone through the adoption process, they simply don’t understand how difficult this time is. There are a few things that might happen during the holidays with your family that can hurt, but here are ways to deal with them and get through the holiday in one piece.

Being around all the kids

You know it is inevitable and that there is nothing you can do to prevent it, except not show up and miss out on spending time with your family. Many of your other family members have kids ranging all ages. They run around yearning for attention, giving you a painful reminder of what you are trying to achieve.

There are two ways I see to deal with this. First, just take a break. Excuse yourself for fresh air, go to a different kid-free room, or sit in the bathroom for a little while. Sometimes the easiest thing to do is to separate yourself from the kid activity so you have a chance to reset.

The second, albeit more difficult, thing you can do is to try to find joy in the kids’ activity and excitement. Spend time playing with them or holding your sister-in-law’s new baby. Cherish this kid time and get excited about what you will experience one day.

Listening to and answering your family’s questions and advice about adoption and family building

They are well-meaning, but sometimes extended family can ask questions that hurt. You will receive joking questions about when you will have kids or not carefully thought out inquiries on how things are going trying to conceive. Then there are always the inevitable comments and unwanted advice:

  • “You know, if you stop actively trying, you will get pregnant when you don’t expect it! It happened to my coworker.”

  • “I bet once you adopt, you will get pregnant!”

  • “Do you get to pick the gender?”

  • “Why don’t you try X, Y, Z? I heard it is easier!”

No one really knows what you are going through except you. All you can do is educate and try to answer these questions in a way that helps them understand. It is also helpful to give short answers and then abruptly change the subject.

Handling rude comments

This is the worst part of the holidays. There will be some quirky relative that makes rude comments without truly realizing how hurtful they are. These comments are usually about other family members who got pregnant without issue and how there must be something very wrong with you.

Often, the best way to handle these comments is to ignore them entirely. Turn to someone else and start a conversation or pretend that you didn’t hear. It is not worth a biting comeback that puts a damper on the holiday. Again,if you need to, get away to some fresh air or take a break in a different room.

These holiday situations can be tough. The most important thing to remember is to take everything in stride. Your family only wishes the best for you and wants to support you through this journey, even if they don’t fully understand it.

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