The holidays are supposed to be "the most wonderful time of the year" as that cheesy song goes, but if you're dealing with infertility, it can feel like someone is stabbing you in the heart, randomly and repeatedly.
After all, happy families and the wonder of children are huge parts of the holiday season. I mean, Christians are celebrating a teenager giving birth to a baby fathered by someone who was not her husband ... exactly the kind of situation that makes an infertile feel like everyone gets a baby but them! The whole thing can make you want to stay in your PJs with a bottle of wine and a bendy straw until January 3.
But there are ways to cope that don't involve becoming a hermit or drinking heavily, and can make you feel as much a part of the beauty of the season as anyone else.
Be careful who you share details with: Everybody has that one relative who means well (or sometimes doesn't) but always manages to say the wrong thing. It's very tempting to unload all over Aunt Jane about how you just got the news that your third IVF cycle failed and you have to decide whether to risk $15,000 on another one and you would thank her very much to knock it off with the "when are you going to have a baby? Tick-tock!" comments. But instead of getting you the reaction you hope for (perhaps a little empathy?), it may be just as likely to make you the target of tons of family gossip.
Make a deposit in your karma bank: Sure, you don't have your own kids to shop for, but there are plenty of families out there who aren't sure how they are going to make Christmas happen for their kids, thanks to this terrible economy. Play Santa by adopting a family through a social services agency, or donate new, unwrapped toys to Toys for Tots.
Enjoy your partner: You know all those things your friends with kids tell you they envy your ability to do? Do them. Take a walk through the neighborhood enjoying the Christmas displays ... at midnight Christmas Eve. Wear a smashing hot dress to the holiday party. Share a bottle of very nice champagne. Go away for the weekend on a whim. Have the craziest New Year's Eve ever. Believe it or not, the day will come when you can't do any of these things.
Keep your sense of humor: There are ways to find humor in the situation, even if it's dark, twisted humor. Perhaps an over-under bet on the number of pregnancy announcements you'll deal with at a given party? Or a secret game with your partner. Rack up points based on how many times you hear certain phrases, like "Just relax and it will happen" or "I know someone who was all set to adopt and she got pregnant!" or whatever annoying comments your own friends and family are prone to spout.
What are your coping tips for the holiday season?
Image via dpstyles(Dennis Crowley)/Flickr