Coping at Christmas When You’re Struggling to Conceive

By Sophie Sulehria

‘Tis the season to be jolly, they say. But jolly is the last thing anyone wants to be at Christmas when you’re struggling to have a baby. I know, I’ve been there, and I can safely say that it’s one of the year’s most painful triggers for anyone wishing for their own family (alongside Mother’s Day, Eid, Thanksgiving, and any other significant holiday).

These times are so geared up to children, it’s as if the only way they can be special is if you have a child of your own.  To fill a stocking for, to kiss goodnight before Santa comes, to cuddle in front of the fire during The Snowman.  I remember so vividly the desperate longing to have a baby. My imagination would take me to places so heartbreaking that by the time Christmas finally came I was a mess.  I didn’t want to go to Christmas parties or events, I just wanted the whole thing to be over.

So what do you do if you don’t have the baby you desperately long for in time for Christmas? Because as we know, life doesn’t always work out the way we want it to, and so we need contingency plans. 

Ask yourself what you really want to be doing

I’ve spent many holidays doing what I feel I should do, rather than what I want to do. But the best thing, for everyone’s sake, is to truly do what makes you comfortable.

If staying home and having a warm bath makes you feel better than attending the family carol service, run that bath. If you want to dip into the family Christmas, go ahead. If you need to take some time out on the day, do that too. I know I’ve been there – one time it all got too much for me so I went to a spare bedroom, had a moment, a little cry, then joined the party an hour later.  Do whatever it is you need to do, without guilt. 

Incorporate some adult-only activities

Christmas can often feel child-focused, so don’t be afraid to scale it back and prioritise adult festivities. Think: getting up late, staying up late, sticking on your favourite film, making cocktails… whatever you want.

If it’s only you and your partner, try and get away for the holiday season if you can. Find a log cabin or cottage somewhere you’ve not been before and haul up with some nice food and box sets. Or wrap up warm, grab some boots and go for a winter walk.

If you’re on your own, find some friends and family who are without children too and create your own Christmas with them. Or you may just want some time alone to do all the things you want to do for yourself and just dip in and out of the other stuff.

Most importantly, find support

There’s only one thing worse than feeling sad about not having children at Christmas, and that’s feeling alone. Community is key to get you through these times, trust me. I have lived through times when no one knew what I was going through and I knew no one going through the same pain as me. Just to be able to reach out to someone who understood me, who knew what to say, and who could give me some love and support would have improved the situation immeasurably.  That’s why I am so happy that Peanut now exists.

Peanut is an app that connects women who are trying to conceive, pregnant, or already mothers. The app introduces you to other women who are at a similar stage as you so you can ask them questions, get advice and find the support you need.  It’s a whole world of love at the tap of a button, whenever you need it. Be that Christmas Day, Hanukkah, Mother’s Day or on a Sunday afternoon when you feel like you’re the only person in the world who is struggling.

So when you take yourself off for that desperately needed break on Christmas Day, and you need someone to talk to, just open Peanut and there will be women there for you. Those wonderful women, that wonderful community, will give you the reminder you need to know you’re not alone.


To talk to someone at Fertility Network UK, click here, or check out our regional online groups.

Watch the Coping at Christmas webinar – we chat to Sophie Sulehria from Peanut and National Lottery winner Rebecca Brown.