It's heartbreaking having to deal with infertility when everything within you cries out for a child of your own. It's especially difficult during the holiday season, when images of families, and children enchanted by gifts, are everywhere.
Family gatherings present painful scenarios. You may try to make the most of being a terrific aunt but your heart still aches.
Brothers and sisters with babies may ask you for the umpteenth time when you'll start your own family. You may struggle with the need to be polite and the desire to burst into tears or tell them to mind their own business.
Be honest with yourself about what you're feeling, and to recognize the stressfulness of this holiday season.
Stress is draining and rest is essential. Get out into the fresh air and the winter sunlight, this can help to alleviate feelings of depression.
The age-old constants of exercise and healthy eating may seem trite because you've heard them forever. But there's a reason you keep hearing them. They do make a difference.
If there are things you love to do, do as many of them as you can. Maybe you'd like to go somewhere. Maybe you have hobbies and interests that will help you navigate the holiday waters. Lean hard on these things that nurture you from within, they'll stand you in good stead.
If you're so inclined, you might consider helping out at a homeless shelter or a soup kitchen. Maybe volunteer for a can drive for the needy or making Christmas baskets.
Perhaps you know families with children who are going through a difficult time, and want to take them some toys or treats. And if there are children who you feel close to, perhaps some of that maternal instinct that's going unsatisfied might move you to be especially involved with them this holiday season.
When my kids were small, a neighbor who had no children used to take my three-year-old son out for french fries. This freed me up to devote my energies to my twin babies, and it gave both him and my neighbor time together that all these years later, remains a very special memory for both of them.
There's no easy solution to dealing with infertility during the holiday season.