The experience of infertility is one of isolation. The feeling of aloneness is made worse by the fact that the subject is taboo. It's not the kind of thing people discuss over cocktails. Society has branded the subject as something almost sordid: sexual, but not in titillating way.
Also, people expect to have babies. They are always caught off-guard by a diagnosis of infertility. The one in every six couples worldwide who have difficulty conceiving feel as if they have a disability that is painful on two levels: physical and emotional.
For those who have fertility issues, the holidays represent the worst of times. X-Mas, Passover, Mother's Day and Father's Day, all of these are times that most people associate with family and children. Many of the customs surrounding the holidays are geared to children. Well-meaning relatives and friends are taking measure of each others' success. Sometimes you wish you could just put your pillow over your head and wait out the holiday season. But that's not realistic. Here, instead, you can find ways to plan and cope with the upcoming festivities.
Feel you can't cope with the big family bash? Visit your parents a week or so before the big event so they know you still care. This gets you off the hook from the party so that you can spend the day in a quiet fashion, at home.
If you get several invitations, this may be a blessing in disguise. You are free to pick and choose which ones you will accept. Choose the parties where there are less likely to be many children and pregnant women.
The late Christmas Eve church service is a better choice than attending the more family-oriented service held on Christmas Day.
Make plans with other infertile couples who are suffering, too. You can have Christmas with couples like yourselves instead of suffering through large gatherings with children.
Think about the comments that have hurt you in the past and think about how you will answer them if they come up again. Having a planned response is a big help. You don't need to provide a lot of details. It's enough to say, "No, we don't have children."
Indulge yourself with activities you most enjoy. You can bring joy to the holidays with a bit of effort. Treat yourself to spa treatments or a massage, see a show, or buy that new gadget you've been wanting.
Make time to tell your partner about your feelings. Allow yourself the right to feel loss and sadness. Infertility is a major crisis in your life; sharing your feelings with your partner may help both of you get through this terrible time.
Call or write to friends and family members who have offered their support during this tough time. Call or write to friends who are going through the same situation. Acknowledgment and support are in the spirit of the holiday season.