1. Present a united front
First and foremost, discuss with your spouse the sort of response to give in the face of insensitive enquiries, and mutually agree on diversion tactics. You don’t want to be seen arguing with him or her in front of your relatives – the situation doesn’t have to be any more uncomfortable than it already is.
2. Prepare yourself mentally
Before showing up at any gathering, be sure to arm yourself with an arsenal of clever lines that will help you to sidestep the volleys of criticism. If yet another aunt snidely remarks, “still no baby yet ah?”, don’t raise your hackles; instead, if you’re a woman, try cheekily prodding Hubby’s round tummy and joking that he’s already carrying the kid. Or frown and say, “oh, I don’t know, what if my children turn out like yours?”
Remember to deliver your comebacks with a healthy dose of good humour, though – Chinese New Year is a time to reconnect with your relatives (no matter how unpleasant they can be), not burn bridges.
3. Take their tips
Believe it or not, some unsolicited advice can actually come in handy. That snarky aunt might actually have some really useful diet and lifestyle tips that will help in your efforts to conceive! If you put up with the nagging, you might just discover some nuggets of wisdom among the old wives’ tales.
4. Stay in the pink of health
Chinese New Year is a time for feasting and making merry. But while it’s perfectly okay to indulge in some of your favourite snacks, don’t gorge on one too many love letters or pineapple tarts. After all, a healthy body is key if you’re actively trying to conceive – whether you’re a man or a woman.
Stick to healthy, balanced meals, while allowing yourself one or two pieces of your favourite snack as a treat. And don’t forget to clock some exercise – besides keeping you trim and fit, the endorphins you get from a workout will chase away any holiday blues you might be experiencing.
Refrain from exercising excessively, though – studies show that for women, over-exercising may slow down the growth of the egg or affect the implantation of the embryo. For men, too much exercise like long-distance cycling can harm sperm quality, due to the extreme heat that is produced around the testes. Remember, everything in moderation!
5. Focus on the positives
And no, we don’t simply mean wishing very hard for a positive result on your next pregnancy test! Instead, be grateful for the little things, such as the fact that your extended family is alive and well, and that beneath all that incessant nagging lies a genuine concern for you and your well-being (hard to believe as it may be!).
6. Spend time with the people who really matter
If the snide remarks still get you down despite your best efforts, avoid the more critical party guests as politely as you can. Instead, surround yourself with the people who support and understand you best, and engage in meaningful conversations and activities with them. Good vibes only! Thank goodness there is a limit to the number of visitors per household a day, don't have to feel bad about not inviting insensitive relatives.
7. Be patient
Patience is your biggest ally when it comes to surviving the festive season. Be patient when it comes to unkind comments – realise that while such remarks may be insensitive, they probably aren’t ill-intentioned.
More importantly, be patient with yourself. Conceiving a child takes time and it can be hard work. Its success depends on so many different variables, and it can take months or even years. So if you have been trying for over a year without success, don’t delay, both of you should go for a fertility check so that your doctor can recommend the next course of action.
8. Get away from it all
Finally, if all else fails, you can always forgo the festivities for once and embark on a last-minute staycation with your spouse. A short getaway can really rejuvenate your senses and help you and your other half really reconnect – in more ways than one (wink, wink)!
If you are trying to conceive, join I Love Children’s Fertility Support Group Singapore on Facebook for peer support.