Facing Christmas without a Baby?

While the holiday season can be filled with joy, for many it is a hard reminder of their infertility and childlessness, and is instead a time of deep sadness. It is a constant reminder of going through another Christmas without the baby they so desperately want to have.

If you have never faced infertility and have never desperately yearned for your own offspring to celebrate the season of giving with, then this can be a very hard concept to understand. But for one in six couples in South Africa that struggle with infertility, it is a very harsh reality.

At this time of year, at every turn, there are constant reminders of ‘children and family’ that are guaranteed to push our buttons. From television and radio commercials to Santa booths everywhere, these scenarios can be emotionally excruciating for the childless couple. Christmas itself is the ultimate miracle baby story and the celebration of a birth. And so, facing another Christmas without your baby can be a bleak prospect when you’re trying to conceive or facing infertility.


Family oriented holiday celebrations (regardless of religion) can bring difficult feelings to the surface that we know are some of the hardest human emotions to deal with. While everyone else seems to be getting into the holiday spirit, many of our patients report feeling lonely, depressed, heart broken, pressurised, worthless and angry.

These are all signs and symptoms of grief. Our society is advanced enough to acknowledge and grieve the loss of loved ones with us. Yet many people are unable to empathise with the childless couple and recognise their right to grieve. Because of that, you may not realise that what you are feeling is actually grief. And you have a right to grieve the absence of your children.
What can you do?
This holiday season, show yourself and your partner the compassion you deserve. Acknowledge your feelings, understand they are based on very real circumstances, and make allowances for them. Give yourself space when you need it, but also remember that your loved ones do want to be there for you.

At times even our greatest loved ones will say the most inappropriate things e.g. just relax and it will happen, have you thought of adoption, your life is so easy, etc. Have your answers ready, and don’t be afraid to tell people that this is a very hard and emotional conversation for you. No one can read your mind and this could be the ideal opportunity to educate them on some real facts versus myths. Remember, they are probably speaking from a place of deep love, but are not educated enough on the subject to know how to act/respond appropriately.

Arrange dates and celebrations with other childless friends if this would be easier for you to handle. Often our patients find some of the greatest support in meeting other couples who have also struggled with infertility. They may have had their children after repeated rounds of IVF, egg/sperm donation or through adoption. But the one thing for sure is they will understand exactly how you feel. Couples who go through any degree of infertility are without a shadow of a doubt the most loving, understanding and tolerant couples ever.

Don’t deny yourself or your partner the right to let your hair down and have fun with family and friends. Those special moments could be exactly what you need to get you through this difficult time.

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