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Coping with the struggles of infertility is a challenge every day of the week, but holiday family gatherings have a way of drawing unwanted attention and emphasis to your emotional turmoil. The holidays are meant to be a time of celebration and appreciation, so if your experiences with infertility have you feeling less than cheery, these tips will help you survive the next holiday gathering and make the best of your situation.

Prepare For the Questions You Dread

When infertility is slowing down your efforts to have a family, nothing stings quite like the well-intentioned questions of aunts, cousins, and grandmothers who don’t realize what you’re going through. You will feel more comfortable going into a family gathering if you have your answers prepared ahead of time. That way, when Aunt Betsy nudges you and says, “So, when will it be your turn to have a bun in the oven?” you’ll be ready with an acceptable response that helps you move on to a different topic.

If Babies Are There, Follow Your Heart

If you’re trying to get pregnant but can’t, seeing other family members with their young children might feel like a stab in the heart. If that’s the case, don’t feel pressure to hold any babies. You can pass off an infant to another pair of empty arms, make yourself busy, or, if you want to, be honest about how sad it makes you feel. On the other hand, holding that baby might fill you with a sense of warmth and happiness, so you can enjoy that “baby love” all night long. Just follow your gut and do what feels right for you.

Choose Your Conversational Limits

Have you already told your closest family members about your struggle with infertility? If you want to, but haven’t yet, consider doing so before the holidays arrive. You can get everything off your chest and be honest about your difficulties, that way your family will be more in-tune with your needs at large gatherings. You also don’t need to be afraid to stop uncomfortable conversations, like unwarranted advice or complaints from pregnant women about their awful morning sickness. Simply say, “This isn’t a great topic for me right now” or find a reason to leave the room. If you need to take a couple minutes in the bathroom to pull yourself together, that’s okay too! You’re going through something very difficult, and you deserve to cope in your own way.

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