Winter means it is time to gather by the hearth with egg nog, fluffy blankets, and holiday tunes. Seeing as it is also the time for family gatherings where children run wild, this time of year is not typically full of cheer for those struggling with infertility. Below are a few strategies to get you through this holiday season.

When spending time around families and children are too much to bear, consider spending time with friends who do not have children. Attending holiday parties can be at your pace. Remember you do not have to accept every invitation. Be selective about which parties you attend, and be mindful about which events will have a lot of children or pregnant women. There is no reason to feel guilty about not attending all events. If you are going through a difficult time, take some time to concentrate on helping yourself and your partner.

Difficult and insensitive questions may be unavoidable. Decide how honest you want to be with your friends and relatives, and discuss why you decide not to be involved in certain celebrations and traditions this year. Rehearsing your answers ahead of time can help. Do not forget to express your appreciation to your friends and relatives who give their love and support. You can also turn to online forums and support groups, such as Resolve, Fertility Authority, and Baby Center. Just knowing that there are others out there who are having a difficult time during the holiday season can help you feel less guilty about missing out on emotionally triggering situations.

Be sure to spend time doing things that make you happy. Prepare a delicious meal, take a long stroll to admire the winter lights, or curl up by the fire with hot cocoa and a book. Planning a weekend holiday getaway with your partner can be just the distraction you need. Since the holidays are a time of giving, consider volunteering at an elderly home, homeless shelter, or soup kitchen. This will help bring about cheer for all who need a little more cheer this time of year.