Childless for the Holidays: Tips for Coping While Trying to Conceive

By Holly Yager, M.Ed., RCC, CCC, Well Woman Counselling, Vancouver BC

tips for coping with the holidays when trying to conceive

Sentimental movies. Sappy TV commercials. Holiday greetings cards with family updates and photos. Work parties where the conversations revolve around the latest toy to buy for kids. Family dinners where everyone is gushing about your cousins or sisters baby news. These are usually happy occasions, but can be highly triggering when youre dealing with infertility.

The holidays can be difficult for anyone trying to conceive and experiencing infertility. Here are some tips to survive the holidays when youre trying to conceive:

Set Your Boundaries

It is perfectly acceptable to turn down invitations to events that you know will be triggering. Give yourself permission to look after your needs. If you worry about others reactions, remember that if they were going through infertility, they would likely do the same. This year try focusing your time and energy on the people and experiences that make you feel good.

Look For Alternatives

Many couples trying to conceive find that children and family events bring up intense emotions. If you find child-centric events difficult, this may be a good year to try other types of activities. If you have friends or family who do not have children, plan to spend some time with them. Or go away for the holidays and spend time away from all the holiday activity. If you dont have the time or funds for a vacation right now, try having a staycation and telling everyone youre out of town. If you cant skip out on events that make you uncomfortable, do your best to manage the situation by putting in the minimum amount of time arrive late, leave early, say you have another engagement to get to.

Advance Preparation

Avoid sitting next to those who like to ask all of those when are you having kids? questions. Find out in advance who will be there. If any allies are present who know about your experience, make plans to sit next to them. It can also help to anticipate the conversations and questions and have some scripts prepared in advance (i.e., some good come-backs or ways to deflect the questions).


Spend time doing things that lift you up. This is the time of year where it is essential to recharge the batteries and regenerate for the New Year. Try booking a massage or pedicure or spending time in nature. Read that book youve been coveting. Tackle your bucket list of things youve always wanted to try. And make sure you are paying attention to getting enough sleep to keep your energy up.

Get Support

Spend time with those who are supportive, or at least not draining. Focus on connecting with your partner or with someone else close to you, even if you havent told them of your difficulties. If you arent able to share your situation with others, you can access online support networks such as Resolve.org or IAAC.ca. The support of a professional therapist who is experienced with infertility can also be helpful when coping with the holidays.

Meet yourself where youre at and trust that you know what you need to get through it. With a little preparation and a lot of self-compassion, you can get through the holidays.