Holidays are challenging when you’re facing infertility. One of the big reasons is the reminder time keeps charging ahead. Birthdays and anniversaries are bittersweet for the same reason. Another year passes, and you’re reminded of all the plans you made and dreams you had about what your life would look like now. Things like how many kids you’d have, what kind of traditions you’d pass on, etc.
Reality looks different, and that’s ok, but sometimes it’s not easy.
Before I experienced infertility, I would’ve guessed Christmas, Mother’s Day, or even Easter might be the most challenging holiday to navigate while waiting to become a parent. Much to my surprise, Halloween is usually the most difficult for me.
Each year I wonder:
- Will next year be the year we’ll be taking a little one trick or treating?
- When will I get to pick out or make an adorable little Halloween costume?
- Am I the only person in my office who isn’t leaving early today to take their kids trick or treating?
- Will I be able to keep it together answering the door to pass out candy?
I’m grateful for how the Lord used infertility to strengthen our marriage and soften our hearts to others who are hurting. But that doesn’t erase the longing to be a parent. Days like Halloween dredge up that sadness.
Below are some things I recommend to help you power through the day if you’re in the throes of infertility this Halloween.
Indulge in some of your favorite candy.
It’s not the healthiest coping mechanism, but there is no shortage of chocolate or sweets to be found on Halloween. Buy a bag of your favorite candy and help yourself to a few pieces. Enjoy the fact you don’t have to hide in the closet to eat it so your kids don’t see you. My Mom friends tell me hiding in the closet/pantry/etc while eating treats is a thing. 😉
I know this isn’t always an option when you’re on a modified diet to improve your health (and chances to concieve), so as an alternative you could visit a gluten-free or vegan-friendly bakery to pick up a treat.
Pray for those who have gone before us.
All Souls Day is just around the corner. Get an early start remembering friends and family who are no longer with us, and pray for their souls. Offer your pain up for the souls in purgatory.
(Sidebar: Here’s an interesting article on Halloween and Christianity.)
Go trick or treating.
Hear me out. I’m not suggesting you put on a costume and beg for candy as an adult, but sometimes it can be fun to go trick or treating with friends/family and their little ones. It can even be an act of service if a family has lots of tiny kids and needs an extra hand walking around the neighborhood.
Not everyone will be up to this, and some may be annoyed I’m suggesting it, but for others it may be the right fit to get you out of a Halloween funk. I know it brightens my mood to watch a child’s eyes light up when they receive candy, and to hear cute voices tell everyone about their costumes.
Turn off your lights.
There are no rules you have to pass out candy and participate in Halloween. If it really bothers you, pretend it’s a normal day and go about business as usual. Turn off your lights, so no one rings your doorbell looking for candy. Work late or go out to dinner or host an adults-only party.
One year my husband and I turned off the lights, cozied up on the couch with some beverages, and watched a spy-themed comedy.
Turn off your phone.
Before we were laughing hysterically at the movie and feeling the warm fuzzies from the wine, I was crying and we were both hurting. Photos of adorable kids and families dressed in cute costumes dominated our social media feeds.
There’s nothing wrong with posting pictures of your kids in costumes. Most of the time I love seeing them. I hope to share photos of my own children dressed up one day! Shutting our lights and phones off and watching a funny movie is just what we needed that night to protect our hearts, and that’s ok too.
Don’t put pressure on yourself.
At different stages in our infertility journey, I needed to do different things to make it through/enjoy the holidays. The important thing is to give yourself room to feel however you feel, and not to beat yourself up if you’re not into it. Let go of any expectations.
This year I’m excited to welcome trick or treaters in our new neighborhood, especially because we’ll be close enough to have my youngest sister stop by.
What are some ways you cope with infertility during the holidays? Share your tips in the comments!