5 Reasons It Sucks to Be Infertile During The Holidays

The holiday season is upon us, and not everyone is in the holiday spirit. Indeed, all the family gatherings, the Christmas tunes and the pervasive focus on kids can be excruciating for those who are going through infertility. It is as though you cannot go anywhere without a constant reminder that you are neither pregnant nor a parent.

I understand this well. December of 2013 marked three years of trying to conceive for my husband and me, two years of infertility treatments, and three failed transfer -- two of which were back-to-back miscarriages. At that point, I was losing hope, and what most people consider to be the happiest time of year ended up making my infertility so much more difficult.

So if you are struggling with infertility and are stressed around the holiday season, know that you are not alone. Many people who aren’t able to conceive are not feeling the cheer either. Hopefully, knowing in advance what sucky things to expect during this time of year, will help you emotionally prepare. So without further ado, here are five of the worst things about being infertile during the holiday season.

1. Pregnancy announcements. Since this is a time of year when families get together, many people choose to make pregnancy announcements. What's worse than knowing you are depressed and struggling to have a baby? Having to hear your not-at-all-self-aware cousin Clarice gloating about how easy it was for her to get pregnant and how lucky you are that it’s taken you a while so you have more time to get your things in order.

If this is too much to bare, feel free to excuse yourself. It's unfortunate for everyone that you may have to step out, but infertility is difficult. Plus, it's much better than throwing the cranberry sauce in Clarice's face. Remember, taking care of yourself and protecting your heart is the highest priority during this difficult time.

2. People saying more thoughtless things. There are also likely plenty of relatives around who may know you are trying to conceive, and it's guaranteed at least one of them is going to say something like, “just relax, and it will happen.”

If you’re tired of such comments, a response with a touch of sarcasm may be the way to go. Or, you know, you can nod, brush it off, and rant about it later to your partner.

3. Trying to stick to your fertility diet. My fertility diet is anti-inflammatory. It's no gluten, no dairy, no sugar, no alcohol, no caffeine... NO FUN. So at holiday functions, you may find yourself, like me, trying to hold back your tears nibbling on a carrot stick with no dressing. Meanwhile Clarice is dancing around, stuffing her face with gingerbread cookies bumping into people with her pregnant belly.

In these situations it may be helpful to your happiness to bring a dish or dessert that meets your diet requirements to share with everyone that you love. So you can too can eat yummy food and be merry.

4. Trying not to drink. "No alcohol" is part of my fertility diet too, but it deserves it's own paragraph. Boy, would a drink hit the spot! Maybe you could have just one least Clarice can't have one! But, the joy will not last too long because soon, you will feel guilty and wonder if your drinking habits are contributing to your infertility, and then to top it off, you'll notice Clarice with a glass of bubbly in her hand! Her doctor is super cool and said she could have just a little bit of alcohol to relax. It's a no-win situation.

So instead, you can pour yourself some delicious lemon water and try your best to focus on how gorgeous you will look and how healthy you will feel in the morning since you didn't drink. And pray that Clarice's belly doesn't knock your glass over. But hey, remember also that no one is judging you if you take the night off and have a glass ....or ... er, a bottle of wine.

5. Holidays are about the kids. There is no doubt that for most people, Christmas is more lovely with kids running around. When you are a family of two-hoping-to-be-three, having that tree set up just isn't the same without an over-the-moon excited kid, running out at top speed to open presents on Christmas morning. So for me, the void of a child was very poignant during the holidays. It just made a rough time even rougher.

I wish this article had an ending that was helpful. I wish I had better advice to give to make you feel better. But everyone processes this pain differently and there are no one size fits all answers. It's just a time to trudge through. I know most people know that we learn from our struggles - there are certainly many positive lessons to be learned through a battle with infertility. But I know how it feels to feel like none of that matters now. So for now, try to be gentle to yourself. Take care and keep working and hoping for the family of your dreams. Odds are, you will get your miracle one way or another, and the holidays will be sweet as ever again.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.


Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.


Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.


Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!


Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.


Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.


'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."


Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.


Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.


Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!


Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.


Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.


Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.


Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


When it comes to getting a good night's sleep, there are many factors that, as a mama, are hard to control. Who's going to wet the bed at 3 am, how many times a small person is going to need a sip of water, or the volume of your partner's snoring are total wildcards.

One thing you can control? Tricking out your bed to make it as downright cozy as possible. (And in these times, is there anywhere you want to be than your bed like 75% of the time?)

I've always been a down comforter sort of girl, but after a week of testing the ridiculously plush and aptly named Snug Comforter from Sunday Citizen, a brand that's run by "curators of soft, seekers of chill" who "believe in comfort over everything," it's safe to say I've been converted.

Keep reading Show less

Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.

Keep reading Show less
Learn + Play