It’s that time of the year again, the holiday season. If you’re struggling with infertility or are currently receiving fertility treatments, we know that it’s common to feel stress over the season because of its focus on family. Some thoughtful planning can help to reduce sadness and increase your chances of having an enjoyable Christmas time.

1- Be kind to yourself: Allow yourself to feel however you feel, don’t beat yourself up over feeling sad/jealous/upset, it’s ok and perfectly normal to feel these things. Just acknowledge it and do things that make you feel nice and that make you smile.

2- Just Say No:  Ask yourself if there are any specific events you are dreading or people who mean well, but insist on offering advice you’d rather not take at this time.  you might want to consider tactfully declining the invitation. Remember, it is ok to be a little selfish, if there’s a particular situation you know will be stressful, give yourself permission to say no.

3- Prepare an Answer: If you’re at a family get-together, you know it’s only a matter of time before someone asks you and your partner when you’ll be having children. And if you’ve been undergoing fertility treatment after trying to get pregnant for over a year, that question may not be something you want to hear.  You don’t need to give details. Consider a short, funny response like “when the time is right, my eggs are pretty picky”. But if it’s someone you feel comfortable with, you can tell them a little about what’s going on.

4-Hang out with your childless friends: If you’re lucky enough to have some childless friends or even better still, know other couples who are struggling with infertility, making time to hang out with these people can be a real relief from whatever negative triggers you might be exposed to with your usual surrounding Nothing can help bring home the feeling that infertility is normal than sharing the experience with your peers. Spending time with someone else who is struggling to conceive can be one of the best ways to enjoy the holidays.

5- Ask for Support: If you’re having a bad day, call up a friend or family member, while you may feel uncomfortable bringing up your infertility struggle, your family also can be a strong source of support for you. If you’ve been keeping your fertility treatments or infertility diagnosis to yourself, you may want to consider confiding in a close family member. This can also help you avoid uncomfortable questions by others at a get-together, since your confidant may be able to run interference for you.

6- Look for the Positives: If you’re debating whether to attend a multi-pronged event, you don’t have to treat it like a package deal. If there’s a part of a family event such as a children’s holiday recital, you don’t have to forego the whole event. Instead, make arrangements to meet up with the group later. Learn how to turn stressful situations into positives, that may mean leaving a party early, or embracing a situation by getting involved with the kids.

7- Host the Family Yourself: Hosting the holiday family gathering can be stressful. However, it also puts control into your hands. Now, it’s your house, your schedule, and your rules. Hosting the party will also keep you busy, which may help you avoid sticky situations. If you find yourself in an uncomfortable conversation, you can always change the subject by saying, “Hey, can you help me with…?”

8- Think about Giving Yourself a Fertility Break: While you may be scheduled to undergo fertility treatments over the holidays, you may want to consider placing them on hold until the stress of the season has worn off. It’s not going to make a difference if you hold off one or two months and start back up after the New Year. However, you have to discuss this issue with a Fertility expert.

9- Lend a hand to charity: Volunteering at charities this Christmas is a great way to lend a helping hand and spend time with other people.