The following guest post is part of a series called When Christmas is Hard, which explores unique challenges and heartaches of the holiday season.
Being the girl without children is hard all year, but Christmas brings with it a certain heartache that cuts just a little deeper.
For the ones who love everything Christmas –– the tree, decorations, snow and reindeer –– it can leave us aching so deeply to share this joy with children, or feeling our Christmas experience won’t measure up to that of our friends and family.
With an empty womb and empty arms, it can be easy to also feel like our Christmas and holiday season will be just as empty.
I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be.
While we can’t avoid difficult situations, we can enter those situations with a plan in place. We all know the inevitable questions and comments: “when are you guys going to finally have a baby?”, “time is running out!”, “what are you waiting for?”We all know the inevitable questions and comments: “when are you guys going to finally have a baby?”, “time is running out!”, “what are you waiting for?” Click To Tweet
These questions are often hard to hear and difficult to answer, so we make a plan. Come up with answers ahead of time, and if need be, transitional statements or questions to follow.
Expect hard conversations
Expecting those conversations can help us keep a positive attitude and demeanor when finding ourselves stuck in the middle of them. If all else fails and you find yourself overwhelmed, always have an escape plan.
We won’t eliminate those difficult feelings, but we can decide not to focus on them. Sometimes we have to act the way we want to feel. If you want to feel joyful and bright during the holiday season, start by acting joyful and bright!
Studies have shown that doing something as simple as smiling can help trick your brain into believing it is happy. Make a list of good things about your holiday season without children, or a list of things you are grateful for.
The foundation of joy is gratitude, and at the very least we can all be thankful for the Nativity and that shining star. Changing our focus to what we have, instead of focusing on what we don’t, can change our attitude about the whole season ahead.Changing our focus to what we have, instead of focusing on what we don’t, can change our attitude about the whole season ahead. Click To Tweet
We can’t spoil our own children, but we can spoil others. Part of our heartache is missing out on the joy of children during the holidays. Maybe you want to build gingerbread houses or go ice skating, drive around looking at Christmas lights or go visit Santa.
Pour into others
Although it won’t be with your own children, pouring into the lives of nieces or nephews, or our neighbors or friends’ children is still impactful and worthy of our time.
Offer to take care of their kids while they grocery or Christmas shop, or give them an afternoon off, and embrace that time to enjoy the Christmas season through the eyes of a child.
We won’t be able to hide, but we can carve out some time. There are no set rules on how to survive the holidays. Even if we are in the process of embracing a life without children, it doesn’t guarantee those feelings of grief or loss will go away completely.
During the holidays it’s important to schedule time for yourself. Time to grieve, to sit in the quiet and pray, or eat an entire tub of Ben and Jerry’s on the couch watching the Hallmark Channel. Grieving is not linear and whatever you need to do to help process through those feelings, plan it in.During the holidays it's important to schedule time for yourself. Time to grieve, to sit in the quiet and pray, or eat an entire tub of Ben and Jerry’s on the couch watching the Hallmark Channel. Click To Tweet
Holiday parties and family dinners can indeed be difficult. The questions, the babies, the reminder of what you don’t have or what could have been. We struggle sorting out our feelings of jealousy and disappointment, alongside the feelings of joy and peace.
Although secular Christmas is focused on the kids and the toys and the Pinterest family photos, the true heart of Christmas is the birth of our Savior and we don’t need to be mothers to enjoy the hope and love of that glorious truth.
Tiffany J Marie writes about being childless/childfree and encourages women to embrace their lives even if those lives don’t carry the title of “mom”. You can find her words at www.tiffanyjmarie.com or on Instagram at @tiffanyjmarie_