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Surviving the Holidays While TTC {EXPERT TIPS}

The holidays can be a tough time for anyone on a wellness journey. You’re trying to make choices that serve you (both emotionally and nutritionally) but there are non-stop invites to social engagements, family obligations, and the busiest schedules of the year.

In this video, I’ll be sharing my tips to survive this season! 

Grab my free meditation here: aimeeraupp.com/youaresafe

Comment below with your thoughts!

Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that I am not a medical doctor. I have been a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine for over 17 years and I will be speaking from my clinical experience helping thousands of women conceive. The office of Aimee E. Raupp, M.S., L.Ac and Aimee Raupp Wellness & Fertility Centers and all personnel associated with the practice do not use social media to convey medical advice. This video will be posted to Aimee’s channels to educate and inspire others on the fertility journey.

PLEASE SEE BELOW FOR FULL TRANSCRIPT OR CLICK IMAGE FOR VIDEO

Hello, everyone. How are you today? Hello. Hello. Hello. Welcome. I am Aimee, of aimeeraupp.com. And as always, I get to come to you live, pretty much every single Thursday at this time and talk to you about topics that can help you live your best life, can help you feel at peace, be your healthiest, be your most vital, and help you along your path to pregnancy and to motherhood. And since we are in the time of holiday season, I tend to do this conversation every single year, and I think it always bears repeating, it never gets old, redundancy is key, but talking about how to survive. And not just survive, how to thrive during this holiday season when you’re still dealing with not having your baby yet, or maybe having had a really challenging year trying to get and stay pregnant.

Maybe there’s reminders that this time last year, you were pregnant or you were in the same boat and it’s just the reminders of another year has gone by, another time on this journey has gone by, and you have to see friends and family and go to gatherings, right? Last year, our gatherings were very limited due to the state of affairs, and so we maybe got a break from that. But this year, a lot of us are back at it and we’re going to social events and we’re hosting holiday parties, we’re seeing families, we’re seeing friends. How to manage? So how to manage, I think, from several levels; from diet and lifestyle choices, to emotional choices, to maintaining healthy boundaries, to questions. “So, when are you guys going to have a baby? Are you thinking about it? When’s it going to happen? Fill us in.”

So a trigger is really anything that makes you feel emotionally uncomfortable, and can also be very serious, it’s not to be overlooked, because it’s usually bringing up an old trauma of yours. And I don’t know, so I have some tips that I want to run through with you guys. So I think when it comes to diet stuff, when we’re socializing, and say you’re doing something like my Egg Quality Diet, and you’ve been nailing it and you feel great and you don’t want to deviate because you have an upcoming retrieval or you are trying naturally or you’re prepping for a transfer. So there’s a couple ways you can go about it. Often, if I am invited to a party and I am clear about what my needs are, I’ll offer to bring a dish.

Then I know at least there’s one thing there that’s safe for me to eat. And then I might graze through some of… There’s like a crudité, and just take some of the vegetables, even though they’re raw. This is a time to give ourself grace and space. Or pick things that you know are naturally, maybe gluten and dairy free, and you do the best you can in that paradigm. It really comes down to, if you eat something and feel good about it, it’s a lot better for you than if you eat something and feel bad about it. Or the flip side, if you eat something and feel bad about it, it’s a lot worse for you than if you eat something and feel good about it. So I do think you can prepare yourself mentally before going to an engagement, where maybe you bring the food, maybe you eat before you’re going. If you are choosing to have alcohol, maybe you bring your own bottle that you know is organic and you can drink from that and feel good about those choices.

So not using… I don’t think food or alcohol or anything else as a coping mechanism. This is not about stress management, this is about how to play it, what will feel best for you? So, say you get invited to an event, you really want to go, it’s social, maybe it’s at someone’s home. You can offer to bring a dish, like I said, or you can eat before you go and then you… You’re just curious about the foods that are there and you do the best you can do. So this is a time to give ourselves grace. And I think when it comes to alcohol, same thing, it’s a time to give ourselves grace. And almost maybe go through it with yourself before you go. What are the things that I can do that I will feel good about tomorrow? That feel supportive to me, that feel of service to me and this journey that I’m on?

And versus, oh, screw it. I’m still not pregnant. I’m just going to go and do whatever I want, which that could work too, and I think you also give yourself grace and you’re human, but are you going to beat yourself up about that the next day? And so, really bringing a conscious awareness to it, and I think it seems to be the theme of the week for me, is honesty. Be very honest with yourself about this situation, talk it through.

I have certain family situations that, regardless of a trying to conceive journey, that can be very triggering for me. And so I actually have a script almost in my head that I go through, and I just talk myself through it. And I also visualize, okay, what’s going to work for me at this house? Because a lot of times it’s gatherings we’ve been to before, it’s around people we’ve seen, haven’t seen in a while, but a familiar setting in the sense, even if it’s a once a year setting. And so how can I best prepare myself? So I think from a food perspective, I think, I always bring snacks that are Aimee-approved and work for me. And if I’m driving there, I’m eating them in the car.

So I’m going, and I’m not starving. Because I notice, if I’m starving, that’s typically when the diet goes out the window. And I don’t even want to call it diet, when my eating plan goes out the window, and I’m just going to eat whatever’s there because I’m hungry. So I’m prepared. And then if I can, I’m bringing a dish that feels safe for me. If I’m super-close with whoever’s hosting it, I’ll just be like, “Oh, just make sure you have some Aimee-friendly dishes for me, or do you want me to bring some Aimee-friendly dessert or dishes?” So I make an effort to prepare, from a food perspective. Same thing from an alcohol perspective. If I’m choosing to drink, and enjoying my beverage, and not from a place of drinking to manage the stress of this situation, which I think is a very different approach.

I’m also bringing alcohol that feels safe to me, meaning it’s organic and it’s free of sulfites, because both those things really trigger my body, so for you to be conscious of that. I do have a list of Aimee-approved snacks. Yes, we do have a list and we can get it to you. I also think it might be on my website, but I can’t remember right now, but we do have a list of Aimee-approved snacks. And those things really help me, and I also then will have extra snacks in the car for on the way home, or if I’m traveling that are in my bag, just so maybe I could sneak off and eat that and then that way I don’t feel compelled again to eat. If it’s a sit down meal, I think that’s where you have the ability to offer to bring something.

And usually there’s a salad, that kind of thing, but you can also let… I think it’s as if you were dining at a restaurant. You let the host know, I have some food challenges or intolerances. And so are there going to be some Aimee-friendly, or whatever your name is friendly meals? If not, I can bring them. Do you mind? So that kind of approach, and really just take ownership of that, versus, “Oh, I’m on this diet because I’m trying to get pregnant and I’m still not pregnant, and I feel like, you know, ugh.” Own it. Own it. Or give yourself grace to do whatever the heck you want and eat the meal as is and move on from it. So those are the two big choices, I think, when it comes to food, of just what is your decision before you go?

And I think for the emotional side of things, it’s kind of what I said, can you rehearse a couple… Say someone asks you, “So, where’s the baby?” and they’re so inappropriate and it’s such a personal question. They have no right asking it. But there might be that Aunt Sally, that that’s what she does, or just gets right up in your business. And so don’t get caught off guard, prepare something. You could be really honest. “We’re going through some challenges right now. I’d rather not talk about it. I’ll keep you posted,” or, “Yeah, hopefully this time next year I’ll have some good news to share,” or, “It’s really personal to me and I don’t don’t feel like talking about it. Can you ask me a different question?” But rehearse it. See the person, rehearse it. Don’t get caught off guard.

And I do think it’s really healthy to be able to say, “Love you and I know you’re coming from a good place. It’s not something I feel comfortable talking about with you right now. When I am ready, I will let you know.” And if the person gets offended, that is their business. You have every right to be able to say, this isn’t a conversation for me. Or also, I think if it feels comfortable and if it’s the right environment, to be really honest. “I’m having a hard time right now and I’d rather not talk about it.”

There’s also beauty in that because a lot of times when you do share that genuinely and authentically, you will get something in return that typically is shocking to you. Meaning, if you shared, “Oh, we were pregnant but we had a miscarriage,” or, “Yeah, I just had my third round of IVF and it didn’t work. We’re pretty devastated, but we’re forging ahead, we’re making a new plan. Hopefully, I’ll have good news soon.” You’d be so amazed at the feedback you get. So I do think with authenticity brings authenticity and not judgment. And so typically people then all of a sudden share and they’re like, “Oh, my sister had this,” or “I went through this,” or “This is what so and…”

You might not want to be in the space though, to take in that advice or that energy. So again, it’s about you being honest with yourself before going to this event or gathering, and not being caught off guard. So I think same thing with the food, same thing with the alcohol, same thing with the fertility-related questions, being prepared. What are some automatic statements you have in your arsenal that you can then share? And I do think it’s something around the lines of, “I don’t really feel like talking that right now,” or “Can we change the subject? Another time. Not the time or space to have that conversation right now,” or, “Hopefully, we’ll have some good news to share soon. Yes, we really want a family too. And hopefully, we’ll have some good news to share soon.”

And so it just allows you to actually form that boundary. And then it’s the same thing as you did with the food, not feel guilty about it. So can you honestly state, not a good time to talk about it, don’t really feel like having this conversation. I just went through a loss, or an unsuccessful IVF, or we’ve been trying for a year and nothing’s happening. If you feel like you want to share all that, you can share all that, but having the healthy boundary for you and not feeling guilty about it, and working through that. I do think, before you go, if there is shame or grief or sadness that is in your heart, it’s having a one-on-one conversation with yourself, or a journaling moment, or a meditation, where you can come and meet yourself and hold yourself and witness all the feelings you are feeling so that you can feel a little more free when you walk into that situation.

And another thing I often do is I just try to notice, why do… Even if it’s excusing myself and going to the bathroom, in a situation like that, where there’s 30 people at an event and someone says something to me and I feel like I want to just, rah, I have the grace enough now to excuse myself, go to the bathroom. And I will, I’ll look at myself in the mirror and I’ll just say, “What triggered you? What was the trigger? What was it that’s making you feel this way? Talk to me about it.” And some of you might think I’m crazy, but it’s the best tool that works for me. Even if my husband and I get into something and it’s like, why am I so mad at him right now?

Oh, it’s this thing. And then how much control do I have over that? And how much of this is assumption-based? How much of this is a story I’m making up in my head? I really get honest with myself and call myself out. And oftentimes, it dissipates. It’s like, oh, because I’m feeling a great deal of sadness, because this time reminds me of this time last year when I was pregnant and then I miscarried. And so I’m feeling really sad. And I’m assuming that they’re trying to jab me, but they really don’t even know anything about my story because I’ve never shared it. So taking a breather and allowing yourself to also just get up and walk away from a conversation if you want. And maybe later on you send a message to that person at another day and just be like, “At the party, I felt this way when you asked me this and that’s why I had to walk away. No harm meant.”

Or in the moment, that’s why I do think the practiced things, I have to do it a lot, like I said, with certain family gatherings. And it’s not around a pregnancy journey conversation, it’s just what my family can… It can happen. And so I really do, I mentally go through it. I visualize a conversation, I see how it’s going to go down, and I have some go-to statements for myself. Could be, “Hey, I’m doing the best I can do,” or, “I’d rather not talk about that right now. I’ll let you know when it’s a good time for me to talk about it, but right now isn’t. So, how’s things in your life?What’s going on?” You just flip it. Or, if you feel like being really honest, “I’m feeling really sad because it’s a reminder this time last year I was pregnant and I miscarried. And I’m feeling sad so I’d rather not talk about the conversation.”

But you only know what’s right for you. But I do think when it comes to any of these situations, the preparation is the key. “Keeping close to home this year, my family can be a little too much and I’m not ready for that this year. I know not everyone can just avoid gatherings, so thankfully I can hide in my safe space.” Exactly. And that’s it too. Feel free to decline invitations. Sorry, not feeling up to it. If they really love you and support you, they will not hold it against you. Who do you want in your life? You want people in your life that you do feel safe with, that you do feel supported by, that you don’t feel judged by. So think about that too, the obligatory things.

Maybe you pretend you’re sick. We can all use that as an excuse. No one wants to be around sick people right now. But again, in the honest way, can you live with yourself? Are you going to judge yourself? Are you going to feel guilt around that? So same thing with the food, same thing with the alcohol, same thing with the boundary conversations, same things with declining. Be honest with yourself. And if you’re in a partnership, have a heart to heart with your partner before you go. I’m feeling this way. This is what’s coming up for me.

Come up with a signal. Can I signal you if I’m in an uncomfortable conversation and you come and save me? Or if you see me talking to so and so, please come and interrupt me because I do not want to get into that conversation with that person. So create a safety environment for you. And again, I think that goes for all the things. It’s the food, it’s the alcohol, it’s the lifestyle choices, it’s the people and going to the gatherings. And it’s preparation. So how can I best prepare myself for this holiday season and these gatherings that maybe you do really want to go, but you just don’t want to have certain conversations? I think one thing for certain is you focus on giving yourself grace, allowing yourself to be human, accepting that you are a perfectly imperfect being, honoring your grief or your anger, or both, and knowing what your limits are, or what your boundaries are. What feels good to me?

Perhaps it’s just, I just don’t feel like talking about it right now, or, I’m totally going to have my grandma’s potato latkes, because they’re the best freaking thing on the planet. And I know they are not on the diet, but I freaking love them and I look forward to them every year and I’m not going to feel guilt about it, because I’m eating them out of a place of joy. And so remember, if you consume something and you feel good about it, it’s a lot better for you than if you consume something and feel bad about it. “I’m newly pregnant again after a miscarriage in August. My family knows about the miscarriage. My mother-in-law already started asking about another baby. I’m scared to share, but want to love on this baby.” So that’s how you could say it, though. I always do think, and having been through a miscarriage, I know how painful it is.

I always do think if it feels safe to share early on, it’s the more prayers and love for that baby. That’s how I look at it. And if they are people that you shared about your miscarriage with, then obviously they’re close-knit, and so why not share about this pregnancy? It’s something exciting. I remember I was newly pregnant with James and it was Christmastime, and I’m totally going to get emotional. And it was, we were early on and maybe we were eight weeks or so, so I hadn’t had the Panorama back yet, but I knew in my heart everything was healthy and fine. And so to share that holiday season, we were still sad about my dad passing and all that. It was just such a light in the air.

I remember my aunt just like crying, she was so happy, my sister-in-law. And so that’s a beautiful thing to share, if it feels right, though. If you feel highly protective and your heart would be too scared, then you just say, “I hope to share good news soon.” That’s it. Leave it up to guesswork. They will all know what it means. My family is the kind that they knew I was pregnant the second they saw me, because I just looked different. And it was something I couldn’t hide, because I was just gushy about it. So it really just depends on, again, your honesty with yourself and what feels good to you, what feels safe, what feels like something you won’t regret or beat yourself up about in 24 to 48 hours later.

“Oh, I already started crying. Thanks so much.” Yeah. It’s a beautiful thing to share and also, hopefully, you never have another miscarriage. If you did, you’d call those people in for support anyway. So I do think it’s safe to share with whoever you would want support from, if it didn’t work out. And that’s how I’ve always looked at it. And so, just coming back home though, to the honest conversation with yourself, and remembering too, that you can give yourself grace this holiday season and not be perfect on the diet or the supplements or the lifestyle plan and you can still get pregnant. As I always say, perfection does not equal pregnancy. It never has and it never will.

It’s grace and ease and surrender and joy that I think our are the elements to the flow that allows a child to come through. And I think that really from my work for so long, in my own personal work, it just comes down to being really honest with yourself. And then, in the right space, being really honest with the people that I are around you, if that feels safe, and not being scared. I could be projecting. I’ve always been a person that expressing boundaries has been uncomfortable for me. It’s hard. It’s hard for me to not please people, that’s always been my thing.

I want everyone to like me. I want everyone… That’s just always been my thing. So establishing a boundary and asking for my needs to be met is not the easiest thing for me, but I’ve gotten better at it over time. And so that’s the space I’m coming from. So to be able to say that and not feel guilty about it, it was always work for me. And now it’s just like, this is like, I am serving me. I am here for me. I am in service of me, and my love for myself. And that’s how I want you to approach it. So whether it’s food and you’re out at a gathering and you’re at a restaurant and you pull the waiter aside and you say, “Listen, I’m not eating gluten, I’m not eating dairy, I’m not eating soy. So none of that can be in my food.”

You can say that at the table, in front of the rest of the guests. You can pretend to go to the bathroom, stop the waiter, and be very clear about your needs. But I am in service of me and my mission and how I can best support myself. And sometimes that might be eating grandma’s homemade pecan pie that’s probably loaded with karo syrup and gluten, but it’s so damn good and it makes your heart sing. And sometimes it might be, this is what I’m doing for me, I’m starting my first IVF cycle and I’m nervous. So again, if it’s in a safe place, you could bring that up.

I guarantee you, if one in eight women are impacted by fertility challenges, there’s going to be someone else at the party that’s gone through IVF and they might be able to offer you words of wisdom, which is a beautiful thing. And all of a sudden sharing lifts the shame and sharing brings in support. Or if someone asks you, “Hey, where’s the baby?” you just say, “Oh, I hope to have good news soon,” or, “I don’t really feel like talking about it right now. It’s a stressful time for us. Let’s talk about something else,” or you just say, “Change the subject,” with a smile on your face. Let’s just change the subject. Another time. Not for now. No, thanks. Next line. Or you give a wink to your partner if they’re over there in the corner, like come and save me from this conversation because I’m not happy in it.

But it really comes down to you being honest with yourself. Okay, I’m nervous. I have this IVF cycle coming up and I’m nervous. So I’m stressed and I’m bringing all that to everything I’m doing right now. Can I put that aside for the night and just go and enjoy myself? Maybe I need to pass on this event because it’s too nerve-wracking for me. So it’s just coming back home and being really honest with yourself. And I do also have for you guys what I think is one of my… I love… Let me just see, sorry. “My stepsister brought up adoption and I used my prepared statement, but I wish I would’ve expanded on the inappropriateness of it more.”

You know, Tanya, too, I think you always have time to go back and be like, and by the way. I would recommend doing that via voice. I always personally do not type anything out or text anything that is emotionally charged because people can take it really the wrong way. So I always try to do voice memo and be like, “I have one more thing I need to say. I know you came at it from love and I know you love me and you want me to have this child so bad, or grow my family, but it’s not your business how I go about it. And when I’m ready to share what I’m ready to do, that’s when you and I can have the conversation. But until then let’s not talk about it.”

Something like that. “Thank you for encouraging us to be honest with ourselves and to do what we need to do to serve our fertility. Regarding diet, because of their effect on estrogen, should I lessen my consumption of cruciferous when my estrogen levels are rising during my follicular phase?” No, not at all. But yeah, I don’t know about the validity of that, meaning cruciferous vegetables are very beneficial to estrogen levels, not negatively impact estrogen. “Surrender is so difficult. Thanks for the advice. I absolutely will.”

You’re welcome. So I have something for you guys. I have my You Are Safe meditation. And so if you go to aimeeraupp.com/youaresafe, Y-O-U-A-R-E safe. Instagram, you can DM us for the link. Facebook, we’ll post the link now. But this is a nice meditation, again, to do in preparation for all the next couple weeks. Lots of conversations, lots of questions being asked, lots of things, lots of things. And so preparedness. What can I do to best prepare myself so I can feel good about the choices I make, about the things I say, about the interactions I have, and I can feel like I am being of service to me and my goals?

So coming back home to that, what can I do, how can I prepare, to continue to be of service to me and my goals? “I swore I’d never be the person who avoids my friends and family, because it hurts too much to see them all with their kids but now I am.” I know. I’m sorry, girl. It’s hard, it’s hard. It’s painful. And I think keep digging on that, digging deeper on that. But it’s just where you’re at right now, it doesn’t mean it’s a forever thing. And perhaps one day you’ll be able to tell that person, “There was a time where it was really painful for me to be around all of you, because I was… I want my family so badly.” And they’ll usually say, “I knew, I knew, and I sent you love,” Or whatever. But you keep loving on you.

It’s okay. That’s the piece about grace, giving ourselves the grace and the space to be where we’re at, to be really honest with ourselves about it. And then remember how much preparedness helps us. So check out that meditation. I think it’s a beautiful meditation. It’s one of the favorite ones that I’ve ever made. And I want to give it to you guys for free. And it’s aimeeraupp.com/youaresafe. Listen to it every day. Just kind of get into that mode of just reminding your body and your heart, you’re safe, you’re safe. And remember too, it’s one thing I remind myself of all the time, and I’m really trying to instill it in my son, as well, is everyone is doing the best they can from their level of consciousness.

And some people have different levels of consciousness than we do, and it doesn’t always mean that they’re being malicious. We might take it that way, but that’s our shit, if we take it that way, unless it’s very obvious that it’s malicious. But meaning, take a deep breath, and that’s when I do those check myselves and I go to the bathroom and I say, “Why did I just get triggered by that? What triggered me there? What was that?” And it’s like, “Oh, okay, because I’m assuming that she thinks that this is this and blah, blah, blah. Okay, so I’m making some assumptions here, right? So I’m creating a story here. Right. Right. Because I’m feeling badly about X, Y, and Z.”

And so just showing up for yourself in that way where you can really honor yourself too, and have compassion for where others are trying to… They’re trying to understand, they’re trying to support you and not everyone has the right words. But I find that when I can get to a place of compassion for others and their comments too, but it usually softens everything. All right. So with that, I’m going to go. I have to prepare for a live teaching I’m doing in a little bit with my e-course students. So I will see you all next week, okay? Have a wonderful, wonderful week and check out the meditation. Love each and every one of you. Have a beautiful day.

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