How to Survive Without A Baby for the Holidays

How to Survive a New Relationship During the Holidays. How to Survive with No Relationship During the Holidays. How to Survive His Mother-in-Law this Christmas. How to Bring Your Boyfriend Home this Christmas. Everybody seems to have all the answers in terms of relationships during the holiday season. But what about women like me? Women who are in a satisfying marriage, just waiting for little heads to put mini Santa hats on. No one has an article for that, at least not that I’ve found.

Yet the holidays can be one of the most painful times for the woman struggling with infertility. There are Christmas cards and letters from friends and family, featuring their beautiful children. There are images everywhere of rosy cheeked young Mary, holding her sweet smelling newborn baby. There are the daydreams we have of baking cookies, setting up the tree and gathering around the Advent candles with our own wide eyed children. Most likely, we entertained those same dreams last year and yet here we are again. Another Christmas with empty arms. It hurts. A lot. And it’s hard to know how to handle that pain when everyone around us is joyfully celebrating the season. Do you force a smile and chug along like nothing is wrong? Do you hole up until New Years with your pajamas and Netflix? I can’t really tell you those are wrong because some days, that’s exactly what I’ve done. But most days, here are a few things I’ve found that help.

  1. Let it out. Take the time to cry. There will be that one Christmas letter or that one Facebook photo or that one comment that will make your chest tight and your throat hurt. Find a quiet place and let it out because crying is okay. Many times, it’s necessary. And most likely, you’ll feel better after you do.
  2. Revel in your marriage. Believe it or not, you and your husband are a family! Just the two of you! It has taken me too long to realize this and it was definitely attitude altering. I have a print on my wall that says simply “You and me and the cat” to remind me of this every day. Don’t wait for kids to make Christmas cookies. Don’t wait for kids to sing the carols in the Advent devotional. Don’t wait for kids to start your own traditions and enjoy the season together.
  3. Spoil your pet. It seems silly, but my cat is my baby right now. So naturally, he has a stocking and I filled it with presents. Not anything crazy but a little something that will make him happy, which will bring me joy. When your heart has that urge to nurture and love, feel free to spend those urges on your pet!
  4. Hope. This is a hard one because hope can be agonizing. Especially when another month goes by and still no little plus sign. After a while, it’s easy to pack all those thoughts and hopes and dreams away and just not feel those feelings. To let them blossom in your heart is difficult, but it’s necessary.

Don’t mistake me. I’m not saying these four things are going to make everything sunshine and roses. In my seven years of waiting and hoping and dreaming, it’s only gotten harder to do these things. There are still going to be those days and those struggles and those disappointments. But these four things have helped me to focus on what I have this time of year instead of walking around in bitterness and disappointment because of what I don’t have. I hope they help you! And if you need someone to have coffee with so you can talk openly about these things you can’t write in a Christmas letter, my door is always open.

Casey Watkins has been married for eight years to her IT handyman. Together, they live in an old house on the east side of Indianapolis with their cat, Charlie. In their seven years of infertility, they’ve renovated their house, visited Iceland and baked a lot of cake. You can read more about Casey over on her blog, Chasing Cozy.

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