Childless Not By Choice and/or Single: A Plan To Manage The Holidays
As the holidays approach waves of grief can come more frequently and more intensely. The nerves, anxiety, and depression get a bit harder to manage. The thoughts about what you don’t have linger a little longer, the trigger points get more frequent, the questions become more annoying. You are not too sensitive. It is ok to not feel appreciative, happy, and thankful every moment of the season. It is ok to hold boundaries, decline invites, gently (or not if appropriate) confront intrusive questions. If you are unsure how to manage the holidays you are not alone, even though it can feel like it. Especially, when single and/or childless not by choice. There is a reason there are movie plot lines about people bringing a fake plus one to a holiday gatherings. To avoid the annoyances. It also contributes to a sense that being single and childless over a certain age should be embarrassing and something to lie about to family. You are not pathetic, unwanted, undesirable, and something to be pitied because you are single and/or childless. You aren’t. It can feel lonely, difficult, and sad at times, and, it is not pathetic. It can also be lonely, difficult, and sad to be in a relationship with children. Neither is better or worse than the other. As the holidays near having a plan can be helpful to manage your feelings. Below are a few things to consider when making your plan for managing the holidays.
1. How will you respond to questions about your partnership and parenthood status? Consider having a response prepared and remember it is not your job to rescue someone that might feel awkward after your response.
2. Which events do you want to attend and which events do you want to skip? You don’t have to subject yourself to events that will make you feel worse about yourself. Have a response prepared if you feel like declining an event or if you change your mind about attending as the event date approaches. It is ok to change your mind.
3. Consider some self talk statements you can reach for when feeling insecure, sad, lonely, or angry. You don’t owe anyone any explanations. You don’t have to engage in conversations that feel intrusive, and you are a whole person just as you are. Try repeating these statements or others like it before taking that extra sip of alcohol to help you cope.
Let me know in the comments what you are doing to plan for your holiday season.