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Christmas without a baby? Get ready for prying questions from an inquisitive family

12.12.2023 · 3 min reading
Christmas without a baby? Get ready for prying questions from an inquisitive family thumbnail

Christmas is just around the corner. Children are sending letters to Santa and looking forward to presents under the Christmas tree. For grown ups, Christmas is a time when family gets together. The family engages in casual conversation at the dinner table, but this 'small talk' may be a bit unpleasant for some of those present, especially single individuals and couples without children. If being childless is voluntary and you are happy, you can handle nagging questions with humor, but if you are trying to conceive and are unsuccessful, these questions can be unpleasant. Even a seemingly harmless sentence can turn Christmas into hell for the person concerned.

Women can be emotionally fragile, and when combined with the Christmas holidays and another month with a negative pregnancy test, the holidays of peace and tranquility can turn out to be the exact opposite. This is especially true when children are running around at the family gathering, your cousin is in her seventh month of pregnancy, and then you get asked: ‘What about you?’

Conceiving a child may seem like the easiest thing in the world, but it is becoming increasingly difficult, as we hear from people around us. ‘Up to 20% of couples are currently experiencing trouble conceiving. In half of these cases, it is the man who is struggling with infertility. The increasing age of first-time mothers, neglected preventive care, and mental health all play a major role in this,‘ explains MIlada Brandeiská, Head Physician and Medical Director of assisted reproduction clinic Europe IVF. But it is a very complicated matter. Even couples in which both the man and woman are healthy and seemingly fertile experience issues. But there are so many things that can go wrong; stress is one of the most important factors, increasing with every unsuccessful attempt.

What women need most in these situations is their partner’s support. If the relationship is working as it should, the partner is empathetic and he knows how to support his other half in these difficult moments, it is easier to handle complications. But then you have family gatherings, inquisitive stares and questions. Can you still enjoy the Christmas holidays and not merely get through them?

You can’t avoid unpleasant questions, but…

For a couple trying unsuccessfully for a baby for a long time, this is a very sensitive topic, and constant questions, even when asked by family members in good faith, can gradually become too much to handle and increasingly difficult to answer.

How should you answer? Honestly? At a family Christmas dinner, honesty can lead to harsh words that may not be the most appropriate. But you should answer in a way that makes it clear you are still unsuccessful and that these constant questions are uncomfortable. Whatever your answer is, you will always receive another response to it, so we’ve prepared a selection of potential answers and responses.

Honesty or a white lie?

That is our own private matter… This definitely won’t work. Your closest family members are naturally interested and concerned about you, they just don’t realize how painful their questions can be. In addition, this dismissive reaction may raise a lot of unnecessary and false speculation.

We’re not really sure that we want a child… This is another answer that will result in a wave of responses, persuasion and cajoling, so we wouldn’t recommend it.

No, I’m not pregnant… Simplicity is best. A brief answer in a few words followed by an attempt to change the topic with ‘I wonder what Santa will bring Grandma?’ may clearly let other members of the family know that this topic is not to be opened again.

We would like a baby, but we’re leaving it to nature… We recommend this answer if you’re under 30 years of age, otherwise you will have to prepare for arguments that your biological clock is ticking, etc.

We’re waiting for the stork to come… You can never go wrong with a bit of humor, just keep in mind that there will most likely be a smart-ass at the table who will want to educate you on how conception works.

Or you have two other options:

If you feel like it, tell the truth. We want a baby, but we’ve been unsuccessful so far. We’re doing everything we can to give you the wonderful news. The only response to this is to wish you luck.

And if you don’t feel like explaining anything this year, have a peaceful Christmas with just the two of you!

How about celebrating Christmas Eve completely differently this year? In an exotic destination, a snowy mountain hut, or just the two of you in the comfort of your home; your family will surely accept your apology. Stretch out on the couch and watch fairy tales, munch on Christmas cookies and enjoy the Christmas atmosphere in your partner’s embrace. Perhaps this is what you need, and maybe next year you will be able to say: ‘Yes, Grandma, I’m pregnant.’

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