Holiday parties and family gatherings can be a wonderful part of the holiday season but can be very stressful for those trying to build a family of their own. Be true to yourself and do what is right for you. Go to the parties armed with a witty response for those who can’t help but ask or avoid the parties altogether (the flu is common at this time of year!). A last-minute getaway for the holidays to avoid the entire scene is always an option too. If you feel that you are spending a significant amount of time sad, please call your doctor or seek out a local counselor.
Some tips to help survive the holidays
- Ignore Santa (and all the screaming children around him) at the mall.
- Throw out the Pottery Barn Holiday Kids catalog.
- Be selective about the party invitations you accept. If you anticipate non-supportive friends or family at a particular gathering, it may be wise to skip it. This is a temporary solution; hopefully, next year will find you in a different place, expecting or caring for a newborn.
- Enlist your partner’s help with an exit strategy should you find yourself in a conversation or situation that is uncomfortable.
- Eat. Drink. Be Merry. Be kind to yourself.
- Be prepared for pregnancy announcements. The holidays bring family and friends together for reunions. Share in their excitement as best you can.
- Seek out time with supportive friends and family. Remember you are not alone – there are millions of couples going through the struggle to build their family.
- Remember, you don’t owe anyone an explanation about your family building plans. It may help to have a few phrases ready for those inquiring minds, such as “you’ll be the first to know” or “we’re having a ton of fun working on it!” While these questions can be hurtful, assume that others have the best intentions.
- Throw out all those cute baby holiday cards from your friends – in fact, you don’t even have to open them!
- Practice gratitude, being thankful for what you have at present and what you can control.
Dr. Beth Malizia is a Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility Specialist at Alabama Fertility in Birmingham.