Holidays and Infertility
by Rachel Inbar - Fertility Stories Staff

"Another holiday season and I'm still not pregnant. Everyone will be getting together and talking about their babies, about their children, about their pregnancies… and where will I be? How will I feel? I wish I could just stay home…"

The holiday season is especially tough. It's all about family & togetherness. It's about happiness and gift giving. If you're going through infertility, these get-togethers can bring out a variety of emotions. It's difficult to see your cousin complaining about her 3-year-old son getting into everything and the terrible stretch marks she's got from her current pregnancy, while you're thinking about the multiple needle marks in your behind and considering investing in a company that manufactures HPTs to at least try to recover part of your expenses…

Usually the people you meet at all the holiday events are one of the following types:

The nudge: "So, aren't you and Freddy thinking about expanding your family?" or "I guess you won't wait much longer to have a baby?" or "Your mom will make the perfect grandmother…"

Your gut feeling: "Shut up, you moron!"

A polite response: "When we have news to share, we'll let you know."

A surprising slap-in-the-face response: "Actually, we're going through infertility. From what our doctor says, it might take years for us to have a baby."


The insensitive: "You know, my sister Gina waited 4 years to have her first baby. At least she didn't have a fertility problem!" or "My neighbor, you won't believe this, she's going for that I-V-F thing. Maybe you need to do IVF to have a baby!" or "What's happening with you?
I thought you'd have at least 3 kids by now!" or "Look how cute Sylvia & Dan's baby is! Doesn't it make you want to have one too?"

Your gut feeling: "I hope you die slowly and painfully." Or "Get a life and stay out of mine."

A polite response: "When we have news to share, we'll let you know."

A surprising slap-in-the-face response: "How frequently do you and your husband have sex?" or "Have you ever heard of the word tact???"


The “trying to be sensitive”: “You know, sometimes I think you’re really smart not to have children. They’re so much work… I don’t know if I would have had any if I knew what I was getting into.”

Your gut feeling: If you feel that way you ought to do your kids a favor and put them up for adoption.

A polite response: Sometimes it isn’t a choice.

A slap in the face response: "Your kids aren’t that thrilled with you either."


The silent maternal: She's either pregnant or has kids. She doesn't say much, but just looking at her makes you feel jealous.

Your gut feeling: Avoid her at all costs.

The polite thing to do: Talk to her about whatever interests you. If you don't want to talk about kids, then when she talks about her 3rd grader's science project, you can just nod. She'll probably understand it doesn't interest you.


The considerate type: They have pleasant conversation with you about a variety of things and you can actually talk to them without thinking they have a hidden agenda.

Your gut feeling: Hey, a human!

The holidays, whether you celebrate Christmas, Chanukah or Kwanzaa, can bring you together with people you'd rather not be around for relatively long periods of time. Here are some things that can help you get through these situations:

  • A supportive spouse who really understands - after annoying or hurtful situations talk freely about what things bothered you and who, in particular, made you feel violent.
  • Earplugs. (What did you say?)
  • A really good book (or anything else you can read or pretend to read).
  • A photo album where you show off the results of a hobby (e.g., needlepoint)
  • Crossword puzzles (anyone know a 9 letter word for "bowl"?*answer below) Get everyone to help you.
  • Home rehearsals. Take turns being that nagging cousin or that insensitive uncle and see if you can keep a straight face.
  • Rotten tomatoes. (OK, that might be a bit much.)

When you're going through infertility, it seems like no one really understands. Guess what? Unfortunately, you're right. The people who really do understand are few and far between. Most of those who can empathize have gone through infertility themselves, although even some of those who conceived through IUI (intrauterine insemination), IVF (in vitro fertilization) or other assisted reproduction techniques have already somehow managed to forget what it was like (or maybe they were just insensitive people to begin with).

The same idiots who tell you to "take a vacation", "relax" or "maybe you should adopt" (like you couldn't think of that on your own) probably won't disappear just because of the holidays, but hey, if it's snowing outside, maybe you can at least take them out for a good snowball fight…

Happy holidays!

* casserole (a 9 letter word for "bowl")