This content was originally published by Creating a Family, the national infertility education and support nonprofit.
Let’s pause for just a moment to recognize that this season of joy is also a season of pain for some, including the 1 in 8 people who are suffering from infertility. The holidays when you’re longing for a baby can be so HARD!
This blog is for you if:
- Your honest answer to the question of what you want for Christmas is “a baby.”
- You quickly skip the pages with adorable Christmas outfits for babies and toddlers in the avalanche of catalogs that are piling up on your kitchen counters.
- You make up excuses to not be with your family for Hanukkah after the first night because all the cuteness of your nieces and nephews is just too hard to take.
- You have a secret stash of a Christmas baby outfit or a baby’s first ornament.
- You have a folder on your computer with ideas for cute family/baby photos for your first holiday card.
- You avoid the mall not because of the crowds but because the lines of parents and kids waiting to sit on Santa’s lap puts you in a funk.
the “why bother” Game
The infertile can become masters at the “Why Bother” game:
Why bother sending out Christmas or Holiday cards if you don’t have a picture of a baby to put on them.
Why bother hanging your lonely one or two stockings since your mantel was clearly meant to hold a few more.
Why bother to go to all the trouble of setting up a tree for just the two of you.
You know this season is about more than children. On some level, you know that the meaning and traditions that have a place in your life regardless of whether you have a child. You know that you are a complete and worthwhile person with or without a child…but that doesn’t mean that you don’t grieve and long for a baby especially during this holiday season.
mental math torture
Who amongst us hasn’t played the mental math game especially around the holidays…’I would be _ months pregnant if we had gotten pregnant this summer, or spring, or fall.’
The mental math game is especially torturous when you’ve had a miscarriage in the last year. Even if you’re bad at math, you are a whiz at counting to nine and knowing how many months pregnant you should be or how old your child would be.
what i can offer
I wish I could take away your pain and make this Christmas or Hanukkah season pass by quickly with as little pain as possible. Sadly, I can’t. What I can offer you is the assurance that you aren’t alone! Do yourself a favor and give yourself a gift of joining a support group to help you cope with this holiday. One of the best is the Creating a Family Facebook Support Group. It’s a closed Facebook group so that only those in the group can see the posts.
my one piece of advice
If I could offer you one piece of advice it would be to come up with a holiday survival plan. It should include the things you want to avoid (big family gatherings with Nosy Aunt Nelly and all the grandkids), but it should also include the parts of the holidays that are meaningful to you (dinner with your parents, Christmas Eve church service, a menorah on the table or Christmas tree in the living room).
Think out of the box:
If large family gatherings have you feeling sad and left out, offer to work overtime during that time, and then schedule an adult-only dinner out with your siblings or parents.
Don’t feel like decorating the whole house? Why not splurge on a really nice table decoration and call it quits.
You get to decide what you want to include in your plan and what you want to ditch for this year. But, don’t let being childless over the holidays rob you of what makes this time of year special for you.