Christmas*……. The most wonderful time of the year! -Joyous, peaceful, serene……
Whoever envisions Christmas that way is clearly not deep in the trenches of pregnancy or new parenthood.
Christmas is “supposed” to be such a happy time of year, and it can be! – It can be peaceful, blessed and wonderful…. And it can also be sad, depressing and as stressful as hell.
Christmas for pregnant women
It may seem on the outside that Christmas wouldn’t be any different for a pregnant woman than for anyone else, but she’s got more going on, on the inside, than we might realise: she’s growing a little human in there, after all, which is affecting her body and her hormones, and consequently her mind, too. Where it can be even more impactful is for the heavily pregnant woman whose baby is due right around December 25th. Not only is she dealing with preparations for her about-to-be-born baby and her own transition into motherhood – on top of a potential myriad of Christmas-related activities, especially if she has other kids – but she also quite possibly has our modern medical model to contend with, which may involve obstetricians who want to spend Christmas with their families,….. and may subtly (or not-so-subtly) pull strings to make it happen. You may think that I’m exaggerating but, unfortunately, it isn’t uncommon practice.
Christmas vis-à-vis the modern medical model vis-à-vis mums & bubs
I don’t mean to say that ALL medical professionals are like this, by any means!! I hope that you’re blessed with one who’s wholly devoted to her patients’ well-being! ….However, you at least need to be aware that it sometimes is the case. The number of inductions and caesareans does increase right before major holidays.
The thing about unborn babies and their mamas’ bodies is that work on their own time. They can hardly be induced to get moving even when we think that they “ought” to be ready to go! (For example, when they’re overdue.) They’re also.. secular, shall we say? -and egocentric: they don’t give a whit about Christmas, Hanukkah or any other holiday, and they certainly don’t care about important events on anyone else’s calendar.
What are your priorities?
Before your baby’s born, you need to decide what’s important to you. If you’re ok with allowing the hospital to dictate how and when you’ll give birth, that’s totally fine, it’s your choice. If this doesn’t feel good to you, though, if you want to let your body and your baby do their God-given thing, you need to prepare yourself for a possible battle, especially if you’re due around Christmas. It sounds scary, and it can be, I’m sorry to say. The good news is that you aren’t alone! There are people out there who want to help you have the labour and birth that you want. (Doulas are really good at this, in fact! 😉 ) Build yourself a good birth team and you’ll have a much better chance of having a positive birth experience.
Christmas for new parents
On the flip side, new parents with a little baby may yearn to have that picture-perfect Christmas with their cherubic bubba,.. but may instead be faced with a reality that looks very different than they had expected. Their lives quite possibly involve a harried existence with an unsettled/unsettlable baby, a very wonky sleep and feeding schedule, everyone riding an emotional roller coaster with little – if any – time left over to think about the niceties of the holiday season.
– Not to mention the finances of it all, having a baby PLUS Christmas expenses…… This adds a whole new layer of stress to the aforementioned mélange of life.
The ugly truth behind the stress
If you know me, you know that I’m not normally a swearing woman, so it may have surprised you when I said that Christmas can be “as stressful as hell”….. I chose those words very intentionally, though, because it really is those hells, those demons that make our lives crappy and our Christmases miserable – but that’s fodder for a whole other post.
So, what’s the solution?
If you’re a new parent, or an expectant parent, if you’ve had a baby due recently and it hasn’t come yet, it’s very normal for you to feel that life is really stressful. You aren’t alone in feeling stressed, this season. I hope that you can let go, take each day as it comes: take a deep breath…. take a nice walk…. pat an animal, hold a baby, watch some sappy Christmas movies (y’know, all those good oxytocin-producing activities!)…. and try not to impose too many SHOULDs on yourself. Take care of yourself, love others; that’s what’s really important.
♥ Merry Christmas, dear invaluable human that you are!! ♥ May you have the strength to recognise and eschew your demons, and feel the peaceful joy of the Christmas season within you. (And if you need me to hold your hand or your baby for a little while, give me a holler, I’ll be happy to help! 😉 ) Best wishes for a happy, blessed, fulfilling new year. See you on the flip side! xoxo
(*Disclaimer: In this blog post I refer solely to Christmas, however I’m not intentionally excluding other faith holidays in the sentiment; I’m sure that the same notion applies to them, too! It’s just easier to mention one holiday than to list a bunch – and risk overlooking some, and Christmas is nearest and dearest to my own heart, I’m most familiar with it, so I’m speaking from that perspective. Thanks for your understanding! x)