How to prepare for the new year when you're struggling to conceive or adopt
The new year is a time of a renewal and rejuvenation. This is an especially important time of year for those going through infertility, adopting or parenting after infertility. Instead of the usual New Year’s resolutions, I recommend using the mark of passing time to prepare your mind, body and soul for the new year. Focus on closing the door on the previous year and embracing the new one emotionally, mentally and physically.
Whether you are still waiting to start your family or you have finally achieved your goal, the past year was no doubt incredibly emotional! It is important to find a resolution to those emotions, both good and bad. Appreciate the time passed and what it taught you, but aim to start off the new year on an uplifting and even-keeled foot.
To do this, why not literally turn the page into the new year? Create a scrapbook of your journey of the past year, even if it hasn’t ended the way you want yet. Reviewing the past year and going through every event and emotion as you make a scrapbook can help you move on if you are wrestling with building your family. Creating the scrapbook will help you move onto new treatment options, to move from medical treatment to adoption or to move onto the next step in the adoption process. If you finally have your child after infertility or adoption or you are finally expecting your child, create a scrapbook of what brought you to your child and your child’s life so far.
To mentally say good-bye to the old year and hello to the new year, it is important to get organized. This can apply to every aspect of your life, because things tend to get messy when you are distracted by trying to build your family. Here is what you need to do:
- Clean out your house of all clutter and things that remind you of your low points during your journey. Having too much clutter negatively affects your mood and can cause a sense of depression. Getting rid of anything that reminds you of the saddest days of the past year will be a breath of fresh air.
- Plan out your doctor’s appointments and what you will need to do to prepare for them. This could be medical histories and paperwork, injections or a diet or fitness change if you are battling something like polycystic ovary syndrome. Being organized and prepared will make you feel better going into your appointments and can give you a higher chance of success.
- Outline what paperwork you need to complete to move forward in the adoption process and organize everything you will need to complete them.
- If you were successful in building your family after infertility or adoption, it is time to organize and document the growth of your beautiful family. Create a plan for noting your kids’ milestones, including the little, cute ones, such as funny things they say. These are too easy to forget over the years, but will make you smile when you can look back at them.
There are many things you can do to refocus your physical self in the new year. There is no doubt the last year was chaotic! You probably did not have the energy to focus on your health, from eating right to working out, but now it is time to start fresh!
Make a plan for what fitness and dietary goals you need to hit to be more successful in getting pregnant, preparing to be a parent or keeping up with a toddler. When organizing your physical goals, baby steps are best. If you set large goals for yourself, you will be less likely to stick to your physical plan. If you break up your goals into small, achievable chunks, you can make progress all year long.
Nicole Witt is the owner of The Adoption Consultancy, an unbiased resource serving pre-adoptive families by providing them with the education, information and guidance they need to safely adopt a newborn, usually within three to 12 months. She is also the creator of Beyond Infertility, a community support site and online magazine geared towards families who have gone through infertility.