Thursday, December 8, 2011

Holiday Guide for the TTC Crowd

I don't need to tell you the holidays are hard.

Something about our childhood memories colliding with our adult hopes wraps us up in a strange nostalgia. We miss the past and we miss the future.

We miss those who aren't with us. We miss those who have never been with us ~ like the cherub-cheeked children we imagined in our life.

And it's not just the trying-to-conceive crowd. Plenty of people feel sick to their stomachs for the entire month and a half between Thanksgiving and New Year's. Plus, Christmas (as much as I love it) is about the birth of a child.

I suspect part of the problem is that while we are simultaneously missing the past and the future, we are not at all celebrating life as it is right now.

I refuse to let my child-free status tap the joy out of the most joyous time of the year. I'm not saying it's easy, but choosing to have a good time is the first step to having a good time.

So, here's my guide for how to survive.

1. Skip the holidays. Extreme this may be, it's a legitimate survival approach for those suffering raw emotional wounds, like a recent miscarriage. If 2011 delivered this kind of disappointment, I'm not going to tell you to deck the halls and have a good time. Hunker down in a dark room with movies and ice cream and magazines. Keep your phone nearby and your friends on speed dial. We send our love and prayers and hope to see you happier in the New Year.

2. Say no. December's dance card fills up quick. It's OK to sit out a few songs. Only go to the events you know you'll enjoy. I typically avoid large parties with lots of guests. I say no to the big parties, so I can say yes to the smaller gatherings with my closest friends.

3. Don't spend the holidays with anyone to whom you have to explain yourself. Families are complicated, and some families are more complicated than others. If yours has a habit of bringing up painful topics as dinner discussions, tell them in advance that all fertility talk is off limits. Or make alternate plans.

4. Know what you're going to say. Even when you are picky about which events to go to and who to spend your time with, someone is bound to ask you, "Do you have kids?" "Are you planning on having kids?" "Have you thought about seeing a doctor?" "How is it going?" "Are you still trying?' Etc. Etc. John used to joke, "We had kids, but the economy got bad so we sold them." Or, he would say, "No, we don't have kids. We play board games at night." At this point, I usually respond with an abbreviated version of the truth.

5. Consider putting "trying" on hold until the New Year. If the disappointment of not getting pregnant is going to ruin your Christmas, I suggest giving yourself a break from peeing on sticks.

6. Music. Maybe it's just me, but happy songs make me happy. Sad songs make me homicidal. Pump up the volume accordingly.

7. Create new traditions. Sleep in. Drink cocktails. Get away. Last year, John surprised me with a night at the Fairmont right before Christmas. He knew I had always wanted to stay there (and the rates are surprisingly low in December). It was a great treat and something we would be less likely to do if we had kids. 

8. Spread holiday cheer. Infertility is no picnic, but it could be worse. Giving back gives me clearer perspective. Shop for charity. Volunteer at a shelter. Collect canned food or blankets or coats or socks. Visit a convalescent hospital or the lonely neighbor on your street. You can't help but be happy when you make someone else happy.

If you have a holiday survival tip, I'd love to hear it.

xo! Christina


  1. I have so many responses to this! Love it ... For starters, I would ideally skip the holidays completely and spend the whole time on a tropical island. I'm not sure why no one ever takes me up on this offer. My M.O. with people who ask about kids is I say simply NO I don't have kids. If they insist on prying, I drop the whole messy story on them and then they feel like an asshole. We have definitely put trying on hold until the new year; couldn't handle it during the holidays. And music is SO important. Thanks for the list, doll!

  2. Ha- I love Johns response about the board games. SO snarky.
    I have a friend who is single and in her 40's and when someone asks her if she's married she tells them "my husband died at birth". She says it takes them a few seconds to sort out that statement and she can make her getaway.

  3. Does he really say you sold them when the economy got bad? Because that is AWESOME. That'll teach people not to go nosing around and asking potentially upsetting and certainly rude questions.

  4. Be willing to WALK AWAY from conversations you don't want to have. Don't even try to be polite about it, because they aren't. Or, if you have to, just say "oh, I see Marge" and walk off.

  5. I love your writing style. XOXOXOXO

  6. Just wanted to say Thank You for writing this blog. For selfish reasons, I feel better knowing I'm not the only one feeling raw.

  7. Cool and interesting stuff shared here with good information.
    Thanks for the list.


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