Coping with Infertility During the Holidays

We talk about babies and motherhood here a lot, but the holiday season can be difficult for couples dealing with infertility. Our friends at ART Fertility have written a great post we’d like to share about getting through the holidays with infertility:

Holidays can be stressful, but for the person experiencing infertility, holidays can be the most difficult time of the year. You certainly can’t make the pain of infertility disappear miraculously. But by planning in advance and acknowledging that the holidays may be uncomfortable, you can prepare yourself and improve your chances of having a pleasant holiday season.

Here are some suggestions from RESOLVE:

Attending holiday parties – Be selective about accepting invitations to celebrations, especially the ones at which you know there will be a lot of children or pregnant women. Don’t feel guilty about not participating in all the traditional family events. At this time, you need to concentrate on helping each other get through the holidays.

Visiting friends and family – Plan to spend time with other couples of friends who don’t have children if family festivities are too much to bear this year. If you find it painful to be around children, consider arriving just in time for the holiday dinner rather than the night before. Don’t rely completely on old family traditions to fulfill your present needs.

Celebrations – Spend time doing things you like best: preparing a delicious meal, taking long walks, jogging or curling up with a good book by the fire. Plan a special trip for just the two of you. You may have to put up with comments like, “How can you be so selfish?” or “The holiday won’t be the same without you,” but those remarks may be easier to handle than a table packed with children. Begin your own family traditions to celebrate, allowing you to rejoice in your love for each other, with or without children.

Sharing your feelings – Decide in advance how you will handle difficult and insensitive questions, rehearsing your answers in advance. Express your appreciation to those who have given you their love and support during the past year. Don’t be caught off guard by unexpected or embarrassing questions about your plans for having a family. Plan your responses, but don’t feel that you have to disclose all the details of your situation either.

Lending a helping hand – Try to help others in need. Visit an elderly or bed ridden relative, volunteer at a hospital or nursing home or participate in a holiday program to help the homeless. Cheering up other victims of the holiday blues has a rejuvenating effect. Don’t close yourself off to positive feelings and new experiences. You may find that you have a special ability to make others feel good, even though you’re not feeling upbeat yourself.

Stay tuned in to each other’s needs – Set aside time to share your feelings with each other. Allow yourself to feel sad, deprived or depressed. Infertility is a major crisis, and you are entitled to those feelings. Your spouse may be able to help you through the rough times. Give yourself, and each other, frequent pats on the back for making it through the holidays. Remember to capture the “spirit” in each holiday which makes in special. Participate in only the activities that bring meaning to you at this time. Don’t get caught up in a whirlwind of the holidays and forget about each other. You need each other’s comfort more than ever. You are not alone!