Christmas, Keep it in perspective!
Christmas is a particularly tough time of year for women suffering hyperemesis gravidarum, especially if they already have little children. Guilt can be increased almost exponentially as visions of happy memories being created for Christmas craft activities with kiddies and songs around the Christmas tree are replaced with the grim reality of vomit bowls, consent nausea, pissy pants and general misery.
’ve written previous years about “surviving” the festive period while chucking your guts up and trying to stay out of hospital and the tips and tricks in those posts still apply. But this year I want to focus on another way to survive this high pressured epitome of motherly perfection… keeping the damn thing in perspective!
This is one year, just one year of you and your children’s lives. If Christmas is not absolutely perfect then so what? They won’t remember come January. If you don’t bother to cook a nice meal then nothing really bad is going to happen. If your kids presents are loosely wrapped in old ASDA bags I doubt very much that they’ll notice. If you can only get them one or two small items online because money is so tight while you’re off sick then, actually, that’s okay… it’s still one or two more than a lot of other kids and they’ll probably grow up to be more rounded and compassionate individuals for the experience of working as a family team while mummy is sick.
Teaching children to be grateful for what we have instead of pinning after what we want is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. All they really want this Christmas is mummy to sit on the sofa for a while and play with their new toys. Keeping out of hospital is far more important than pushing yourself to wait on your family hand and foot and making yourself iller as a result. And what about what you want for Christmas? How about asking your partner and children to give you the gift of Christmas this year… ask them to do the house work and cooking over the festive period. Even small children can pull their weight by pushing the hoover around or tidying toys away.
Yes Christmas is “about the kids” but that shouldn't come at the cost of your health or sanity… which they need far more than an elf on a different shelf every day. Christmas is also about family and children are never too young to understand that they are part of a family who cares for each other and not a family in which the parents are slaves to their offspring. Bear in mind too that the baby you are carrying is part of the family too and that baby needs you to rest and look after yourself as much as you can so that it can have many more Christmas’s.
So here are some ideas for toning down Christmas and keeping it all in perspective:
- Shop online and keep gifts basic and few. The more toys you buy the more clearing up there is to do!!
- Explain to extended family that this year you are giving them the gift of a grandchild/niece/nephew to huge financial and physical expenditure on your part and that is plenty for one year!
- Don’t worry about cooking an all-out Turkey dinner. Buy ready-made stuff or cook a casserole in advance so you don’t have to do anything on Christmas day. Decide that you’ll do a fancy meal with all the trimmings next year.
- Stock up on DVDs or make a list of family films you want to watch and decide to have a “film based Christmas” this year.
- Stock up on “help yourself snacks” that the kids can plough into to reduce the “mum I’m hungry, what is there to eat” bombardment.
- Make your own Christmas gift list for the family to use over Christmas – Loading and unloading the dishwasher, hoovering, tidying their bedroom, emptying the bin. And ask partner and kids to ensure all these things are done without you for the duration of Christmas this year (To be fair, if you’re sick they ought to be doing this anyway for the duration but I’m trying to be realistic).
Remember that it’s only Christmas, it’s not as big a deal as everyone makes out it to be, it happens every year and if this year is really pants then it will make you appreciate next year all the more!
Oh and PS. Don’t forget to ask Santa for my books!