The holidays are supposed to be a joyful time, maybe the most joyful time of the year. But for those struggling with infertility, time with family can bring some painful emotions to the surface.

Here are some ways these couples can make it through holiday gatherings.

1. Plan ahead. You know your aunt, your uncle or your grandparents are going to ask about your family plans to have children. Have an answer prepared. Don’t feel obligated to share personal details and feelings about their infertility experiences. That can be a private thing, and in many cases should be.

2. Be picky with holiday celebrations you attend, particularly where you expect to find children or pregnant women. If it will be too difficult to attend, you don’t need to go.

3. Anticipate when you might see children at family events. If it’s too painful to be around young nieces, nephews and cousins, set a schedule ahead of time about how long you’ll stay at a gathering. Don’t be scared to let your spouse know if things are too much in the moment.

4. Find couples who don’t have children. This is key. It doesn’t mean that you’re looking for shoulders to cry on; it simply means you need healthy social interaction that doesn’t remind you of your problems.

5. Decide whether or not to hold any babies before you arrive. For some, holding a baby can bring hope while for others it can bring the opposite feelings. Well-meaning relatives may want to share in the joy of a new family member as do you, so know what you’ll say if someone offers their child to hold.

6. Start new family traditions with your partner, or take a trip by yourselves. Holiday is about family, so it’s not crime to simply focus on your own family, namely you and your spouse. Take a trip to escape the stresses of the mind.

Infertility Etiquette” Tips If Your Family Member Is Dealing With Infertility

  • Don’t minimize the problem with jokes about parenting.
  • Don’t offer advice unless you also experienced infertility.
  • Be supportive, don’t push it under the rug.