The festive season and days such as Mother’s Day or family gatherings can be particularly difficult and painful for the involuntarily childless. Here are some coping strategies.

Take care of yourself first. On a day like Mother’s or Father’s Day or approaching the festive season, it is vital to think about your needs: exactly what you can face and cope with. If your feelings are just too raw then it is absolutely okay to withdraw from the world and have a duvet day or whatever you please. You do not have to put yourself in a too painful place in order to please other family members or friends. If you can, pamper yourself and your partner – do something that is about the two of you.

Try not to go it alone – let others know how heartbreaking this time of year is for you. Friends and family may surprise you with their shows of support.

An alternative, if possible, is to choose to celebrate Mother’s day with your mother or other family members. For some, being able to host a family gathering on days like this can be helpful; it won’t be right for everybody, but it may be for you.