Join us to talk about coping at Christmas


If you’d like to join us for the Fertility Network UK online chat via Skype on Wednesday 13th December at 7pm, we will be discussing Christmas. It’s always a hard time for anyone who is experiencing fertility problems, and we’ll be talking about some strategies which can help with a Q and A session at the end.

You can find the details of how to join on the Fertility Network UK website.

Coping with Christmas

It’s often the worst possible time of the year for anyone trying to conceive – you just can’t seem to escape perfect smiling families wherever you turn whether it’s adverts on television or displays in shop windows. It can feel a very hard and lonely time to be childless when the very point of Christmas is to celebrate a birth.

There is no shortage of advice about how to get through this time of year. I usually write a blog post about it, but this year I thought maybe I’d give you a collection of other people’s thoughts on the subject to browse.

Here on netdoctor are the views of Harley Street fertility specialist Dr Geeta Venkat, here are some thoughts from Lesley Pyne who specialises in supporting women who are childless, some musings in the Daily Mail from Amanda Platell, thoughts from the Childless by Marriage blog, and a great factsheet on the subject from the US fertility support charity Resolve.

I hope that some of these are helpful – there are certainly lots of ideas and the key theme seems to be to put yourself first, not to attend events you know are going to be difficult just because you feel you should and to try to create a different Christmas for yourself doing the things that you like.

Join our online group for help coping with Christmas

800px-arbol_navidad_02If you are finding it hard to deal with things at this time of year, why not join our Christmas Skype chat on Wednesday 14th December?

I am going to be doing a brief chat about the things I think can help, and then we’ll have time for everyone to join in with questions and a discussion  We’ll be starting at about 6.15 pm and the chat will be for half an hour or so.

Everyone is welcome to join the chat which is organised by the patient support charity Fertility Network UK. All you need to do is send an email to Hannah – – and she will join you to the group. I look forward to chatting to some of you next week!


How to handle Christmas when you’re trying to conceive

juletraeetIt’s that time of year again and it can seem as if you can’t escape images of cheery happy families whatever you do and wherever you go.  Christmas is always a difficult time for anyone trying to conceive when it can feel as if everything conspires to remind you of what you don’t have – and of course, the festival itself is all about celebrating a very special birth.

I know lots of people offer lots of different advice about how best to get through the next few weeks, but I think the bottom line is that you need to try to find a way to make the Christmas break an enjoyable or rewarding time for yourself. It isn’t easy if you end up with dozens of invitations to family parties or child-focused events, but don’t forget that this is your holiday too and your top priority should be looking after yourself.

Christmas is meant to be a time of giving, and sometimes we assume that means that we need to put what others want and need ahead of what we might want and need ourselves – but actually sometimes that’s not the best thing to do. If you know you are going to spend a miserable afternoon at your friend’s Christmas party surrounded by the friends she’s made at her daughter’s nursery school who all want to discuss how to get children to eat broccoli and which is the best local primary – and who will all ask whether you have children yourself – it’s really quite acceptable to make an excuse not to go and just arrange to see your friend at another time over the Christmas period.

This is true of any events over the holiday period. Try not to feel guilty about making an excuse if you need to. Sometimes other people may not seem to understand, but there’s nothing wrong with being honest and saying that actually you would just find it too painful if you feel able to do that. Otherwise, you can always make an excuse – at this time of year, there are often so many things on that it’s very common to be double-booked. Don’t feel you have to do things that you know will make you feel upset and unhappy just because it’s Christmas.

If Christmas makes you feel lonely, never forget that there are 3.5 million people across the UK having difficulty getting pregnant – and it may be that your neighbour or colleague is experiencing exactly the same feelings.

Think carefully about the things you would like to do – an adults drinks party, a trip to the theatre or cinema and maybe you’d like to celebrate in your own way and do something completely different whether that’s a Christmas trip somewhere completely different (IVF-diminished funds permitting), a long seaside walk, tapas for two at home for Christmas lunch or a Christmas Day film marathon. You could consider doing something completely different, perhaps volunteering with an organisation like Crisis which provides Christmas for homeless people or Community Christmas which provides celebrations for isolated elderly people – in London, another option is Whitechapel Mission but there are similar schemes across the UK.  It really is up to you what you want to do, and you don’t need approval from anyone else. Do something that will make you feel good and that you will enjoy – and most importantly, try to have fun.





Coping with Christmas

images-1If you’re finding the build-up to Christmas hard going, you may find it helpful to go along to the next meeting of Fertility Circle in London next week where the evening will be devoted to the subject with tips and advice from a qualified fertility counsellor.

Fertility Circle is open to anyone who is having fertility problems and is hosted by the London Fertility Centre in Harley Street.  For more details, click here 

December means Christmas

images-1It’s that time of year again… For me, every Christmas without children was a reminder that another twelve months had passed and we were no closer to having our own family to share it with.  All the tinsel, mince pies, trees and cheery carols sent me stomping off muttering “bah, humbug” under my breath,  but it doesn’t have to be that way. It is possible to still enjoy the festive season – you just have to make sure that you do it in your own way.

The first rule is that you really don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do, whether it’s family parties, Christmas lunch with your siblings and their children or the annual trip to the pantomime. If there are things that you know you are going to find difficult, you can say no. There’s no point at all in feeling utterly miserable because you feel obliged to attend other people’s celebrations. It’s also OK to leave early if you are finding the whole thing upsetting. Never feel guilty about any of this as real friends and close relatives will be understanding – and if they aren’t, that’s not your problem.

If you’re inundated with invitations to events that involve children, why not hold your own adults-only party, or get together with some other people who don’t have children whether by choice or by circumstance.

Remember you don’t have to brave the High Street if Christmas shopping is just an endless reminder of what you don’t have. Online present shopping has never been easier.

You could consider an alternative Christmas.  Would it be fun to get away altogether for the Christmas week? Holidays at Christmas are not always as expensive as you might imagine. Would being useful at Christmas help? Charities which work with the homeless are often looking for volunteers over the Christmas period and this can be a way of turning your situation into something positive. What about a long walk or cycle ride on Christmas Day? Or perhaps a lovely peaceful day with just the two of you at home? Don’t forget that this is your holiday too, and you can make the most of some time off together at home regardless of the season.

But most important of all, be kind to yourself. It’s key to everything. Whatever you feel like doing is what you should do, and that way you will find that you can head into the new year feeling positive and refreshed.  Don’t forget, this is your Christmas too…