You may be feeling somewhat overwhelmed when you’re taking care of the intended parents’ growing baby and your family, especially in the midst of craziness of the holiday season. Now more than ever, it’s important to care of yourself.
Here are four tips that can help you navigate the upcoming holidays as a surrogate so that you stay healthy, sane and actually enjoy yourself:
1. Take Care of Yourself
Pregnancy is physically, mentally and emotionally tough. Surrogacy adds extra pressure to what you’re experiencing. Combine that with the holidays, and you probably need a break. Here are few self-care tips that might seem obvious, but are no less important:
- Sleep! Need a nap? Take a nap. Whenever. Go to bed early if you need to. If you (and baby) say “sleep,” everyone else can say, “sweet dreams.”
- Stay hydrated. There will be (non-alcoholic) punch, cider, soda and all sorts of delicious holiday indulgences. However, keep drinking plenty of plain old water so that you’ll both stay healthy throughout the winter.
- There will be plenty of temptations, but it’s best to avoid some holiday foods. You probably know to stay away from soft cheese, alcohol and undercooked meats, but you should also skip the eggnog, cookie dough and caffeine. Make sure you eat lots of healthy fruits and veggies if you indulge in holiday treats.
- Ask for help, delegate tasks and take time for yourself. Whether that’s letting your partner or spouse take over your half of the holiday to-do list or having a friend or family member pitch in so that you can get some rest, let others know when you need a hand.
Be honest and firm about your needs this holiday season. Taking care of yourself (mentally, physically and emotionally) as well as the baby is priority number one. Once you and the baby are taken care of, you can take care of your family and holiday matters.
2. Holiday Stress Can Be Tough on the Baby (and You!)
All the planning, shopping, traveling and expectations of the holiday season can be fun, but it can also be stressful. That stress now affects both you and the baby. Staying relaxed is healthier for you and for the baby, but that can be trickier during the heightened emotions of the holidays.
- Ask for help when you need it, whether that’s with everyday tasks or holiday chores like decorating and shopping.
- Cut out excess stress wherever you feel it’s possible or needed, like skipping that party you don’t feel like going to, buying fewer presents, or making fewer travel plans.
- The holidays aren’t about commitments or gifts, so take a breath if you feel overwhelmed.
The holiday season can bring us so much joy and warmth, or it can make us feel overwhelmed and frustrated. A lot of that depends on how we choose to approach it. Don’t feel bad about cutting out things that cause you stress this season. This is an opportunity to reconnect with what’s important to you as you celebrate.
3. Focus on Your Family
You’re doing an amazing thing for someone else’s family — you’re growing a child for them! It can be easy to get caught up in the feelings of your intended parents while you’re on this journey together, but you deserve some time to focus on your own family during the holidays. Here are a few tips for making the most of this time with your family:
- If you need to communicate a little less with your intended parents during the busy days surrounding the holidays, just let them or your surrogacy specialist know.
- The holidays are a great time to spend some quality time with your kids, especially if they’ve been a bit unsure about the surrogacy process.
- Book a babysitter for an evening off with your partner or spouse and take a break from holiday (and surrogacy) craziness together.
You don’t have to go overboard with gifts or special plans… just spend some undistracted time together as a family. As a surrogate, you mean a lot to someone else’s family. But your family comes first.
4. Take it Easy this Year
Maybe your house is normally the one festooned with the most lights on the block each year. Maybe it’s an annual tradition to stay up all night carefully basting a turkey. Maybe you usually host a bunch of people for a party, or you travel to several different family celebrations.
This might be the year to take things easy. You’ve got a lot going on, and it’s ok to say “no” to obligations, even if those commitments are self-imposed.
Your pregnant body will probably thank you if you’re not traveling, staying up late, stressing or overexerting yourself. Changing things up and adopting a more laid-back holiday schedule this year will allow you to spend some relaxed time with your family and also maybe give you a couple new traditions.
Instead of more elaborate holiday traditions, consider these stress-saving holiday ideas:
- Have the family’s favorite simple meal (think spaghetti or tacos) instead of a fancy holiday meal.
- Have a staycation with hot cocoa and a holiday movie marathon instead of traveling across the country for holiday get-togethers.
- Book a post-surrogacy family trip as a gift instead of giving traditional presents and save yourself some shopping trips.
- If you normally cook or bake a lot, opt for store-bought this year.
- If you don’t feel like going to the usual holiday parties, don’t go! Put yourself first.
The holidays can bring a certain amount of pressure, but there’s nothing wrong with keeping things simple and low key. Spending your holidays pregnant can be frustrating, depending on how you’re feeling, but it can also be a chance to change things up and get back to the basics of the season. Remember the wonderful reason why you’re doing this, and how you’re about to give the best gift ever to your intended parents! If you’re struggling with the stress of the holiday season as a surrogate, you can always reach out to your surrogacy specialist for support at 1-800-875-BABY (875-2229).