Coping with Infertility During the Holidays

Holiday cheer can be hard to find when struggling with infertility – read on for strategies to make it through the season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – or not!

Holidays are a stressful time for most adults, but when dealing with infertility, it can be a particularly difficult time. There is a lot of pressure to be happy and to have fun.

On top of that, the holidays are so child-filled. Every holiday catalog, commercial or flyer has images of rosy-cheeked children delighted with open presents and gifts.

Shopping malls are filling with lines of children waiting to sit on Santa’s knees. There is the expectation that one should be buying gifts for children: perhaps nieces and nephews, children of close friends or God-children.  Seeing a Nativity scene with the baby in the manger or hanging only two stockings when you want to be hanging more can be painful. There are so many reminders of the child you do not have.

It is important to understand the effect the holidays can have, and to make some decisions on how to cope with the holiday blues.

Here are some suggestions to help get you through to January:

  • Do not put too many expectations on yourself. Allow yourself to feel sad without guilt about the sadness.
  • Find some childfree forms of celebration. Go on a ski trip, or an adults-only cruise, or stay at a bed and breakfast, or an adults-only resort or whatever else appeals to you as a couple. If you can’t get away, consider getting tickets to a concert or a special dinner with your spouse. There may be some remarks from family members; however you need to decide if tolerating some displeasure from family is less painful than being surrounded by celebrating children.
  • Carefully choose which holiday events you attend. It’s not necessary to attend every family-focused event that you are invited to.
  • Limit where you go to shop. A little out of the way boutique may be fun. A mall full of young children and Santas may be painful. Online shopping may be the answer.
  • If you must stay with relative, only stay as long as you feel comfortable. Find things to do as a couple while visiting, so you can get out of the big family gathering from time to time.
  • Schedule activities with other friends who do not have children.
  • Bring holiday cheer to someone who needs it. Can you spend time with someone who is ill, or elderly, or homeless, or away from family?
  • Develop your own holiday traditions that are not just what you did as a child, or what you would want to do with a child of your own, but rather a holiday celebration just for YOU.