Is a baby at the top of your Christmas list this year? The holidays can be an especially hard time when you’re struggling with infertility, trust me I know. When everyone around you is helping their kids bake cookies for Santa and setting up their Elf on the Shelf, it’s a hard time to be childless. It helps if you are prepared ahead of time.
Have a plan for the dreaded question
“When are you going to have kids?” It’s a question that’s bound to come up when you are spending time with extended family or at company Christmas parties. Be prepared with an answer. Depending on how comfortable you are sharing information with the group you will be with, you have a few options. Talk to your partner and decide what you are both comfortable with.
- Be generic and keep it short:“We’re working on it” or “Whenever it happens” are answers that I have used that seem to work. Short answers like this are usually pretty good for ending the conversation quickly and allowing for a change of subject.
- Share your story:If it is someone who you feel comfortable with, don’t be afraid to share where you are at in your journey. You don’t have to give them every detail but it’s ok to let them know you are struggling.
- Answer before they ask: In the world of social media that we live in, you may find it easier to make a post addressing the topic ahead of time. When I got more comfortable sharing what my husband and I were going through, I posted on my Facebook page about why the kids question shouldn’t be asked lightly. It was well received and allowed us to avoid having to answer an uncomfortable question at a social gathering.
Reach out to your support system during this tough time. You are not the only one feeling empty during the holiday season, and talking to someone who can relate is incredibly helpful.
- Spouse: Hopefully you are like me and have a spouse who is your #1 source ofsupport. The two of you are on this infertility journey together so lean on each other in times of need. You also will probably want to discuss holiday plans and how to handle all of the holiday gatherings.
- Friends and Family: If you have friends and family who know what you are going through and have been a source of support for you, consider planning some of your holiday activities to include them. Spending time with people who can relate will help ease the heartache.
- Blogs and Social Media Groups:It’s not always easy finding people you know who can relate to what you are going through, but online there are groups and blogs everywhere that you can turn to. Reach out if you are struggling and you will be sure to get waves of support and advice from people on the same journey.
Take a break from “trying”
Trying to get pregnant when it isn’t coming easy, especially if you are doing fertility treatments, is a lot of work. Taking the holidays off from treatments and tracking and timing intercourse can be a refreshing break. Instead focus on trying to enjoy the holidays as much as possible. Taking a month or two off will be minor in the grand scheme of things and the brief refresher could be exactly what you need.
However you decide to spend the holidays and handle all that comes with them, try to stay positive. Look for the light in each situation.
- New Babies: If there are new babies in the group it can be especially hard. Try to set your heartbreak aside for a minute to enjoy the new addition. Take it as an opportunity to get a little extra practice. When your time comes, these same people will be celebrating with you.
- Holiday Traditions:A lot of holiday traditions center around children and I know how empty the holidays can feel when you are childless. Try to create your own traditions. Find a way to celebrate with your spouse that brings just as much magic to this time of year. When you finally have a child, you can include them in your new traditions.
Stress will only make it more difficult to get pregnant; so don’t allow all the extra activities to get you worked up. As difficult as this time can be, try to set aside some time to just relax.
- Take a Bath: Sometimes a hot bubble bath with a glass of wine is the best medicine. Light some candles, turn on some music, and get out your favorite bubble bath or bath salt. Allow yourself to just clear your mind for a while.
- Say No: Don’t feel bad skipping a party or two to take the night for yourself instead. If you know the situation is going to be overwhelming and more than you think you can deal with, then pass on it. If you can’t skip it completely, then consider limiting the amount of time that you stay.
- Have a Date Night: Take some quality time alone with your spouse. Go out to eat at your favorite restaurant or see a movie. If you prefer not to go out, then plan a nice night in for the two of you. Whatever your preference is, make sure the focus is to relax together.
- Treat yourself: Treat yourself to a little gift for the holidays. Whether it is a day at the spa, a piece of jewelry, or good book, get yourself something nice.