There is never a ‘good’ time to be having difficulty conceiving, but coping with infertility during the holiday period can feel especially hard. Listening to your coworkers talk about picking gifts for their little ones, or being reminded of the ‘perfect’ family Christmas on every commercial can really start to wear thin.
Finding ways to navigate the holiday season peacefully, and with as little pressure or sadness as possible, can help make the festivities feel more enjoyable for you and your partner.
Tips for Coping at Christmas
Of course, when you are desperate to have a baby, it can feel impossible to think of anything else. But unless you are going to start a fertility treatment cycle in December, you may want to put some plans in place to try to take your mind off anything fertility- pregnancy- or baby-related.
Even better, booking in activities, trips, social events or blocking out time for you and your partner could help you to keep any holiday season anxiety under control.
- Put yourself and your partner first
Christmas is typically a time when we try to please as many people as possible. If you are struggling with infertility, you may need to prioritize your own needs this winter. Whether this means asking someone else to host, deciding to have Christmas just the two of you, or ignoring the holiday season altogether, it is ok to do whatever feels right.
- Book a vacation
If you can’t face the usual Christmas traditions, why not book a vacation? Getting away to a different climate, sightseeing in a new city, or reading a book on the beach may help you to avoid feeling that your Christmas is somehow incomplete.
- Arrange to see friends or family
Although you may be feeling sad, stressed or anxious, booking time in to see people who are positive influences in your life can help to boost your spirits. Think about seeing people who lift you up, rather than anyone who might bring you down. Go for a walk, catch a new movie, share some Christmas treats, make decorations together, or start a new holiday tradition.
- Volunteer your time
Having a new focus may be a good outlet for your feelings. Offering your time to others can help to prevent rumination, and volunteering may also help to increase your self-esteem.
- Make time for self-care
Although some people try to stay as busy as possible, it is also important to make time for yourself. You are likely to be managing a lot of feelings and emotions, and it is healthy to acknowledge these. You may like to consider:
- Journaling how you feel, or listing three things you feel grateful for each day
- Meditation or mindfulness exercises
- Reading a new book
- Having a warm, relaxing bath
- Treating yourself to delicious food or a meal out
- Watching a movie with your partner
- Booking in a manicure or pedicure
- Enjoying an early night
- Remember, it’s ok to feel sad
The journey to creating a family can be extremely painful. You don’t have to pretend to be happy just because it’s Christmas. If you feel angry, jealous or empty, this is normal. Acknowledge the feelings, talk to your partner or friends about how you are feeling, or write it down. Some people also find it helpful to seek help from a counselor or therapist to talk through their emotions.
Facing infertility is hard at all times of the year, but it can feel agonizing during the holiday season. Everyone copes with difficulty conceiving in a different way, and it is ok to make plans this Christmas that will support your physical and emotional health. Although friends or relatives may be a bit disappointed if you deviate from any traditions, those who truly care will understand your reasons if you choose to do things differently.