Surviving Christmas – A Guide for the Pregnant and Postpartum

Christmas is, for some, a joyous time of year. For others it’s a frantic race to keep up with the demands of friends and family. And for some it’s a time of stress and tension. Whatever Christmas usually means for you, being pregnant or having a newborn changes things.

So with Christmas fast coming up, here are some tips on how to cope with the silly season. If you plan it right, this could just be the best Christmas season ever.

Pregnancy Christmas

Whether you are struggling through the tiredness and nausea of the first trimester, or you’re struggling to move with the weight of a baby on your bladder in the third trimester, Christmas will probably require some rethinking.

  1. Take care of you. Right now, you’re doing the single most important thing you can do – growing a human. So don’t be afraid to say no to invitations if you don’t feel up to it, or to cancel plans if you need to. And don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for getting the rest you need.
  2. Make it easy on yourself. Whether that means buying gift vouchers online rather than braving the crowds, or picking up a deli salad for that BBQ, do it.
  3. Watch the heat. Even if it’s not sunny, Christmas in Australia can get very steamy. So make sure you drink plenty of water.
  4. Consider your invitations. If there’s going to be lots of standing around, maybe an event where you can sit will be more enjoyable for you. Better yet, BBQ at a house with a pool – perfect!
  5. Eat what you want. Being pregnant is probably the only time you don’t have to worry about busting a button, so indulge. Leaving out the alcohol and excluded foods of course.



The months after you give birth are not only precious, but they’re probably the most important time to take care of yourself, not to mention your precious new baby.

  1. First and foremost – remember what’s important. The health and happiness of you and your baby. Nothing else will matter in the long run, so any decisions you make should have that priority front and centre.
  2. Baby brain is real. So be like Santa and make lists. This will not only give you a feeling of satisfaction when you cross things off, you will have the peace of mind of knowing you haven’t forgotten anything.
  3. The internet and gift vouchers are your friends. You may well be the person known in your family for thoughtful and special gifts, but if you can get away with phoning it in any year, it’s this one. And there are not recorded cases of death as a result of receiving a gift voucher for Christmas.
  4. Adjust your expectations. Whether you have been the family go-to for organising Christmas lunch, group presents, or family BBQs, this is your opportunity to hand all that over to someone else. For this year at least.
  5. Adjust the expectations of others. Christmas lunch is always at your place? Maybe someone else can take it on this year. Be clear with your message, and do it early.
  6. Be selective. If an event doesn’t fit with your schedule, or is too far away, or you just plain don’t want to go, say so.
  7. Set boundaries. Newborns are delicate creatures, and we are living in a time where there are lots of unpleasant viruses afoot. So decide if you are happy for people to hold your baby, or you want them to wear a mask, or wash their hands, and stick to it. Don’t be afraid to advocate for the health of your baby
  8. Make it easy on yourself. If you still want to have Christmas (or whatever celebration your family has) at your place, ask for help. Get people to bring a plate. Order deli salads. Buy bakery desserts.
  9. Put away the guilt. If all of the above is giving you guilt-hives, stop. The most important thing is enjoying your first Christmas with baby, even if they are too young to remember.
  10. Relax and enjoy it. Because next year you will be chasing around a toddler (or crawler) so there will be no relaxation for you!


Ask Your Partner

If you have demanding family and friends, now is the time to lean on your partner for support. It’s really important that you be on the same page in relation to what invitations you accept, what you’re prepared to do, and how others are able to interact with your baby. So have a discussion well in advance. And if you need to, ask your partner to be the one to break potentially bad news. If you can take pregnancy and childbirth, they can take a couple of uncomfortable conversations!


A Little Help (not from Santa)

No matter how much you try and divest yourself of responsibilities, there will always be a lot going on at this time of year. So if you want to completely bow out of Christmas this year, don’t feel bad about it. Embrace the slow postpartum period, nurture yourself and your baby (whether baby is in utero or in a crib) and embrace this magical time. Christmas will come again next year. And you’ll have a baby just old enough to enjoy it by then.

If you feel the Christmas season might be too much for you and would like the support of a doula in helping you get through this tough time, I would love to chat. Give me a call on 0422 258 771, or contact me here.

Let me take this opportunity to wish all the mums, present and future, out there a wonderful holiday season. May 2023 bring all of us happiness, health and joy.

Best wishes,