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Readers Respond: How Do You Cope During Holidays and Family Gatherings?

Responses: 11


Updated June 16, 2014

Whatever the time of year may be, family holiday gatherings can be emotionally difficult when you're coping with infertility. The holidays tend to remind us that our family building has not gone the way we imagined. Seeing your siblings and cousins with their children can remind you of what you don't have. That's never easy. Plus, some family members may fire questions your way that you're not ready to answer. Like, "Why haven't you had kids?" or "Why don't you have another?"

How do you cope during family gatherings? How do you cope with the holidays? Share your coping tips and stories here!

Know that you have options!

Knowing that there are options if you can't get pregnant make it easier to mentally cope with these situations. Adoption is always an option. Those wanting to adopt and finding it to be too cost preventative may want to look into the foster care program in their community. Adoption from foster care is in most cases FREE.

Hugs to All

I love to play so I hang with kids by nature. They seem to make more sense then any of us do. But at family functions and church it was getting harder for people to take me being near kids and not part of the mommy click. I finally told a family member that I wasn't having children. That seemed to help diminish the looks, but I'm still not welcome into the inner circle of the mom group. I guess this time of year I buy people who will smile and string lights and hope for the future as we all do == but bits of me are always sad i'm outside of normal.
—Guest Dawn

I'm just getting over a cold

I hate holding other peoples kids and other people don't want to hear that. So I say I would love to hold your baby, but I have been sick all week. This way they don't want you to touch there children. Also to avoid the "Are you going to have a baby anytime soon?" I carry around a glass of wine. When ladies see you drinking they tend to ask less.
—Guest cassie

I don't go

At first I tried to keep attending these events, however it became brutal when year after year these events were used to make pregnancy announcements. With all the baby-chatter it was too much. Now I don't attend any of them and stay home.
—Guest rain_or_sunshine

Opt out when I can't handle it

Depending upon the situation, I have given myself permission to skip an event if I am not up to it. Most family events are okay, but sometimes friend events (with young children) are too much for me. My emotional health is paramount, and I hope that people understand. If they don't, they aren't necessarily people I need in my life.

Tell Them Before They Ask

I told all of my family and friends before I started trying to get pregnant, so they wouldn't be so curious. I also said I would tell them if I got pregnant. Then when I didn't get pregnant, and they brought up the subject, I reminded them that I would let them know if there was any news. This worked very well, people hardly ever asked, and when they did, the conversation was short. With other questions, such as "What if you don't get pregnant" etc, I used a standard "We'll just have to see what happens," which was the best phrase I could ever have come up with. It shuts down the conversation, but also lets people feel included.
—Guest Mary

Have Answers Ready!

I knew these types of questions would come, so I would have some sort of answer ready about how busy we were at work, how one or both of us just got promoted, or we were thinking about moving. Then change the subject! I also tried to take joy in any children that were present at gatherings. I may not have had my own, but I could be the favorite "Auntie" to my friends and relatives kids and enjoy them.
—Guest Violet

I answer vaguely

My husband and I have been TTC for over two years now, and I have to admit most of the questions have stopped. But, we still get the occasional "you haven't had kids yet?" accompanied by that look that says "tut, tut, sister, you ain't gettin' any younger!" To them, I say, "well, it's not for lack of trying! My poor husband...." That usually makes them uncomfortable enough to go bother someone else!

enjoy a glass of wine!

Whenever I go to friend or family functions where there are kids, I try to relax, have glass of wine or two, and stay out of the "kid-zone". Taking care of little kids at an event like that can be stressful, so I remind myself that it's nice to be able to relax and enjoy adult company. Some friends/relatives may think I'm being anti-kid, but that's my way of coping and it helps!
—Guest christine

Be Prepared

Know that you may get asked sensitive questions, have a set of stock answers, depending on who is asking. So you might give your sister the truth. You might have a snarky answer ready for someone else. When it came to having to hold babies, I tried to keep my hands busy knitting or carrying something and just blame that for the not holding...
—Guest Robin

I avoid family get together

This may not sound like the happiest of answers, but I try to avoid the family get togethers on the holidays. Or I try to spend as little time as possible there. Can't stand the unasked for advice!!!!! Instead, I try to have fun with my husband, or get together with friends (who don't have kids). It makes it easier for me!
—Guest Anne
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