Infertility Around the Holidays: How to Cope

Holidays Infertility Support GroupInfertility Around the Holidays: How to Cope

The Holidays are again upon us and for those dealing with infertility it can be a less than joyful time. While those around are celebrating with family and friends and one’s own family wants you to join in, the holidays can magnify even more the sadness felt at not having a child of one’s own. Gatherings are numerous and often focused on children. The end of the year can accentuate another year marked with no baby.

What are some ways to cope with this?

1. Give yourself permission to acknowledge that this is stressful and you are not being a Scrooge.

2. Identify your “A” team of family and/or friends who “get it” and can be supportive and spend more time with them. Identifying your “A” team is something many of my clients find helpful all year-long. There may be people in your lives who are good and well-meaning but say or do things that can be unintentionally painful. Maybe they are on the “B” or “C” Team because they care about you but don’t understand the things to say or do regarding infertility.

3. If invited to a Holiday gathering, you may not really know whether you can face going until that very day/evening. People cancel at the last-minute for lots of reasons and so can you. Or, if you decide to give it a try, and you are part of a couple, have a prearranged signal that you give to one another when one of you absolutely must leave. Stay close to each other while at the gathering to be mutually supportive.

4. Perhaps, instead of the usual round of holiday parties, you go off this year to some place by yourselves. Reassure your family that you’re not changing family tradition forever; you just need to take care of yourselves this year. Pamper yourselves. It could be something as big as a trip to Hawaii, or as simple as a weekend at a Bed and Breakfast.

5. Consider taking the month off trying to get pregnant. This can be difficult when you are feeling a time crunch but consider it a gift to yourselves to enjoy lovemaking and time together with no pressure.

6. Men and women often have different ways of coping. Remember that no one way is the “right” way and try to be accepting of difference. A good example, which I often see in my practice, is that men cope by wanting to hold on to whatever is “normal” in life. They want to go to all the parties and “enjoy” the holidays after months of disappointment. Women find holiday parties loaded with “danger” of talk of pregnancies and children and cope by trying to avoid them.  Respect each other’s way of coping and talk in an accepting way towards a compromise.

This post was contributed by Anne Korpi Dolan, LCSW, DCSW. Anne has more than 25 years working in this field, including leading groups for RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. She can be reached at 1-617-650-3732


Ten Ways to Support Someone Dealing with Infertility

Do you know someone who is going through infertility? Do you want to know how best to support them? We asked Anne Dolan, LCSW, who runs our Infertility Support Group at Blossom for her advice on how to support someone going through infertility and this is what she had to say.

infertility support

How to let those dealing with infertility know that they are NOT ALONE

  1. Tell them they are NOT ALONE and that you care about how they are doing. When it appears all their friends are easily getting pregnant, they often feel no longer part of the group.
  2. REACH OUT. If you think someone may be dealing with infertility reach out to them and ask if they would like to talk.
  3. LISTEN and avoid making suggestions or trying to “fix it”.
  4. Ask if they would like to do something together with you to help get a break from thinking about infertility all the time. Gentle PHYSICAL ACTIVITY with someone else, like walking or going to a museum, can help lessen obsessive thinking about infertility.
  5. At a get together with others, when the conversation is all about kids and childbirth stories, CHANGE THE TOPIC to something less painful for them.
  6. On days like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and child focused holidays LET THEM KNOW you are thinking about them and that you know those days must be difficult.
  7. BE UNDERSTANDING if they decide not to attend a baby shower. These are very hard to deal with when their arms are aching for a child of their own.
  8. ACCEPT WITHOUT JUDGING that they may not always feel strong enough to return a phone call or email.
  9. If they have a pregnancy loss or miscarriage, OFFER to bring food, or SEND sympathy cards with words that you are thinking of them at their time of loss.
  10. BE A FRIEND in good times and bad. Infertility is a major crisis.

Thank you to Anne Dolan, LCSW for contributing this blog post. She can be reached in Portland at 617-650-3732.

Infertility Support Group Portland Now Forming

infertility supportWomen’s Infertility Support Group Portland now forming. Limit 5 people.

This session meets every other Thursday from 7-8:30pm with one exception during the holidays.

November 6th, November 20th, December 4th, December 18th, January 8th, January 22nd.

Cost is $180 for 6 sessions.

In this small, confidential group, you will have the support of Anne Dolan, who has over 25 years experience in this field, including leading support groups for RESOLVE: The National Infertility Organization. Additional focus during this series will be How to Get Through the Holidays,” as well as ongoing support and discussion of other issues facing women dealing with infertility.


Call Anne Dolan, LCSW: 617-650-3732


This group is led by Anne Dolan, LCSW who has more than 25 years experience working in this field, including leading support groups for RESOLVE: The National Infertility Organization.

Support Group for Women Trying to Conceive

women's infertility support group Support Group for Women Trying to Conceive

If you have had a bad experience with peer led infertility support groups, this is a refreshing alternative. In this small, confidential group, you will have the support of Anne Dolan, who has over 25 years experience in this field, including leading support groups for RESOLVE: The National Infertility Organization.

The next group is a 6 week series on Thursdays from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM at Blossom Clinic beginning in May, 2014.

$180 for 6 weeks. Call Anne Dolan at 617-650-3732.