Surviving the Holidays with Infertility

I spent the day before Christmas Eve in stirrups, in a cold sterile room of doctors and nurses, doing my third round of In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) at my infertility clinic while praying for a Christmas miracle. It was then that I realized I had spent the entire holiday season consumed with doctors appointments, injections, blood draws, and ultrasounds instead of focusing on the reason for the season. I was so determined to expand our family at all costs that I lost sight of everything else.

Praying for our Christmas miracle

Dealing with infertility at any time of the year is painful; however, the holidays can make it almost unbearable. The media bombards you with images of smiling, cheerful families making memories together, reminding you of the life you want but don’t have {yet}. Additionally, there are many more opportunities for family, friends, and nosey strangers to ask you about your family planning.

After personally coping with infertility for four years, I realize that when you are struggling to grow your family, it’s difficult to stay joyful this time of year. That’s why I have compiled a list of ideas to help keep your sanity as you navigate through the holiday season while dealing with infertility:

Top Ten Tips to Surviving the Holidays with Infertility:

  1. Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, exercise, and get some rest. Try not to overdo it. Infertility can take a major toll on your emotional and physical health. It’s important that you put yourself first, especially during the holidays when you are feeling less than merry.
  2. Protect your heart. If you feel like going to the annual family gathering will bring you more heartache than joy, skip it this year. I’m sure everyone will understand that it can be hard to be around little ones or being asked about your own family planning by well-meaning yet uninformed family members. Additionally, I found that limiting my time on social media helped keep my jealousy at bay.
  3. Prepare for uncomfortable conversations. If you decide to go to that family gathering, you will inevitably be asked the dreaded question: “When are you having {more} children?” Talk to your spouse and come up with a few canned answers that you feel comfortable with. Your responses might vary depending on your audience and how much they know about your infertility struggles.
  4. Plan a guilt-free day. Treat yourself to a spa day, favorite exercise class, pedicure, or a fun date with your spouse. These are great ways to spoil yourself and keep your mind off of baby making.

    Spa Day
  5. Limit the stress. Infertility is already stressful enough {amiright?}. This is not the time to add to it. Do what you can to prepare, but grant yourself grace if you are feeling overwhelmed. It’s OK not to attend every holiday party or to even have the perfect Pinterest-worthy gift for everyone. It’s times like this when you need to adjust your priorities to self-preserve.
  6. Start a new tradition. Maybe this is the year that you and your spouse ditch your original plans and take that much-anticipated beach vacation. Or simply start a new tradition that you will continue when your family grows. Spend a special evening watching your favorite movies, catching a holiday performance at a local theater, or seeking out locations with amazing holiday lights.
  7. Give back. I know this one seems counter-intuitive because you feel like you have nothing left to give. But giving back to someone in need can really help heal your soul and make you grateful for what you do have. Spend time volunteering for an organization near and dear to your heart, bring dinner to someone struggling, or pay it forward whenever you have the chance.

    Volunteering Together
  8. Take a break from treatment. This one can be really difficult because you just want to be pregnant right.this.minute, but sometimes taking a break is good for your heart. Unfortunately, I did not take this advice. I ended up doing my IVF transfer the day before Christmas Eve. Talk about a poor decision. To make matters worse, we found out about our miscarriage shortly after the new year. In hindsight, I wish we would’ve delayed our treatment. Perhaps we would have had a different outcome.
  9. Lean into your faith. It’s hard to believe in your faith when nothing is going your way, but this is the time you will need it the most. The holidays are a good time to remind yourself to keep the faith and believe in something greater than yourself. All of this pain has a purpose.
  10. Find a support group. Infertility can be extremely isolating. It’s important to find people that understand what you are going through. They will be there to speak your language and be a shoulder to lean on when you are feeling defeated. There are many support groups in the metro Detroit area. I found my support groups through my infertility clinic and

What tips would you add?
How do you plan on getting through the holidays while dealing with infertility?


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