For some of us, the thought of the holiday season and time spent with family brings anticipation and joy. And while families should be a safe space to land, they can sometimes be complicated, messy, broken, and even toxic. If you’re
in the middle of making a pregnancy decision, you may find you’re dreading the holidays and family interactions. We are here to encourage you as you prepare for family gatherings.
Your feelings are normal. Whether you just found out you’re pregnant, or you’re in the midst of deciding what to do, feelings can come in waves and hit when you least expect them. You may experience feelings of sadness, fear, or anger. You might feel stressed and overwhelmed. Or maybe you’re feeling confused, unsure and scared. All of these feelings are completely normal, especially when facing something unexpected, like an unplanned pregnancy. You don’t have to stuff them down or hide them away! Give yourself permission to feel all of the emotions and remember that it’s natural to feel them.
You don’t have to tell anyone.
Chances are that at some point, someone will notice you’re not acting like your “normal self”. They may make comments or ask questions. It’s okay to be honest that you’re dealing with something or that you’re not feeling well. It’s also okay to refrain from sharing the details of what’s going on in your life. Maybe nosey Aunt Judy isn’t the best person to confide in, but you can find someone who is trustworthy.
If you just recently found out that you’re pregnant, you might feel afraid of what others’ reaction will be on hearing your news. But having someone in your corner, who knows what’s going on in your life and who loves you no matter what, can make a huge difference! You no longer have to carry your secret on your own. If you’re further along in your pregnancy and starting to show, there may be questions about “what next?” or unsolicited advice. Give yourself permission to simply answer, “I don’t know yet.” Whether you have a parenting or adoption plan in place, or you still have no clue what you’re doing, you are allowed to keep that decision process to yourself. Those who love you will support you through the process without trying to pressure you into doing what they think is best.
You’re allowed to set limits.
If you’re still living at home with your parents, you might not feel like you have much say over your schedule. So, while it might be more difficult to set limits for yourself, think through ahead of time what you can do when you start to feel overwhelmed or smothered. It’s okay to take a break from family time to go for a walk, read a book, or take a nap! Everyone should be allowed some “alone time” or to “sit this one out”. And if someone asks, “What’s wrong?”, you can honestly state your need without explaining why. If you’re living on your own, you may choose to set some boundaries for how much “family time” you think you can manage. Remember that it’s okay if family members feel disappointed. You’re an adult! Give yourself permission to set limits on how much “togetherness” you can handle. It’s okay to give hugs and declare, “I love you all…and see you next year!”
You’re not alone.
Feelings of loneliness can hit whether you’re surrounded by strangers or your own family members. If you are facing added challenges because of the complicated state of your family relationships, know that you will find love, kindness, and understanding here. No matter where you are in your pregnancy journey or decision process, we are here to listen without judgement and love without agenda. You are free to share your thoughts and feelings about your pregnancy. You have time and space to think through this decision. And you are allowed to not have all the answers right now. Because you are loved. Simply for being you.