It’s a week til Christmas and the Holiday Hullabaloo is in full swing! Isn’t hullabaloo such a great word? Technically it means “a clamorous disturbance.” So yeah, the holidays are a temperamental blend of being enjoyable yet chaotic. Add a high-risk pregnancy to the mix, and keeping your sanity can quickly become a real struggle. Here are some tips on how to
gracefully handle survive the season.
Lower Those Expectations
Even in my pre-pregnancy life, I was never one for big, fancy Christmas parties. The schmoozing, forced mingling, and awkward moments of silence with party goers you don’t know always gave me an uneasy feeling. I will say this, though, I have perfected the fake laugh for when a saucy uncle or drunk coworker makes a lame or inappropriate joke.
So when you’re preparing yourself to either host or attend a holiday party, don’t freak yourself out by anticipating the worst. Remember that if people know you’re pregnant or have health issues, the only thing that’s expected of you is to answer cliche questions (“So are you excited?”), ignore weird comments (“Enjoy this party, ’cause fun is over after the baby comes!”), and dodge the belly-rubbers. Don’t hold yourself to unrealistic standards and don’t let anyone give you a hard time about it. They should just be happy you’re wearing pants.
Let It Go (don’t take it personally)
When people make offensive remarks, treat you differently, or otherwise cause you to feel uncomfortable, try not to let it get under your skin. The sucky part is, most of the time it’s those closest to us that can say the (unintentionally) worst things. While your partner, in-laws, and best friend may mean well, a simple “You don’t seem like yourself; you were acting weird at the party,” can cut deep. Your hormones are at an all-time high, so even the most innocent observation made by a loved one can make you feel like you’re a high-risk pregnancy alien.
So while dignity and grace may seem like qualities of the past, a little poise can go a long way. Sure it’s hard to muster a diplomatic smile when your pelvis feels like it’s slowly being crushed into oblivion, but flipping out on your aunt for saying it looks like you’re smuggling a watermelon isn’t exactly keeping in the holiday spirit. Trust me, as awkward and weird as you feel about all the changes happening to your body and psyche, those around you are grappling with how to connect with this different and new you, too. Cut everyone the same slack that you would like them to give to you.
Accept Help & Take Shortcuts
Yes, you are superwoman. No, you don’t need to prove it. Put down the casserole dish, slowly back away, and nobody gets hurt. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: bravery and pride are not the same thing. You may be like me and you don’t want to admit to yourself that you are no longer able to do the things you once did. Or you may be like thousands of other mothers who have fallen victim to the expectation that pregnant women should be able to “do it all” and better look good while doing it, too.
With so much on your plate already, joyfully accept any and all help offered to you during the holiday season. And don’t feel bad if this year your pumpkin pie is of the Sara Lee variety. Be vocally appreciative when someone provides assistance and remember that help comes in many forms. It can be tangible, like a home-cooked meal, or it can be something meaningful like running an errand for you or just giving you a shoulder to cry on when you realize that cute dress doesn’t fit you anymore.
Comfort is Key
Speaking of clothes that don’t fit anymore, for the love of all that is good and holy, don’t squish yourself into an uncomfortable festive frock for appearances’ sake. I made the mistake of cramming myself into a pair of stockings for a holiday occasion. Granted, they were really really cute stockings, but after fifteen minutes of yoga-like positions trying to get them on, the end result was that my pudgy preggo legs looked like they were stuffed into very sad sausage casings. I also forgot that, as a living human, I would eventually need to eat. I’m truly surprised my stockings didn’t spontaneously burst.
Needless to say, after I peeled off my stockings, I promised my poor body I would never subject it to such cruel abuse and torture ever again. Now, a sparkly headband is the extent to which I choose to express my holiday cheer. Dresses or over-sized tops and sweaters paired with stretchy leggings will be your best friend during this season. You’re already in enough discomfort with your pregnancy and health issues, so don’t make it harder on yourself by sporting high heels and painfully tight attire.
Emotions… OH GAWD THEY’RE EVERYWHERE!
If you haven’t already, you will at some point inexplicably cry over something that isn’t actually that sad. The holidays will put your emotions to the test. Now I’ve never been particularly maternal or girly, so the sensation I felt when watching a Kohl’s holiday commercial where a young couple secretly decorates an elderly widow’s apartment seemed foreign and strange. “Are my eyes leaking? What’s happening?!” I thought to myself. But I soon found out that this was totally normal and even non-pregnant humans tear up when evil marketing execs concoct intentionally sad commercials designed to render you emotionally vulnerable and more inclined to buy their products. My emotions were all over the place in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
So try not to be embarrassed if you find yourself getting weepy at the dinner table when relatives are reminiscing about a loved one. Or you could even get emotional over something really trivial and that’s normal, too. I had a minor breakdown when I not only couldn’t get my turtleneck on, but then I got stuck and couldn’t get it off either. My husband’s laughter only made my rage induced blubbering swell even more. Try not to get hung up on the negative side of the emotional roller coaster. Remember that the holidays are a time of love, celebration, and really awesome food. Enjoy the moment (and take plenty of leftovers).