The Top Challenges of TTC During the Holidays—and How to Deal

You might be tempted to put the breaks on baby-making, what with all the holiday hubbub. Here's how to deal when TTC seems next to impossible.
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profile picture of Elena Donovan Mauer and Lauren A. Greene
Updated October 16, 2017
couple kissing at the airport during the holidays
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Between decorating the tree, baking cookies with the family and pulling out your go-to ugly Christmas sweater for everyone’s favorite party theme, it’s no wonder the season calls for merriment. But when you’re trying to conceive during the holidays, seeing Christmas stockings strung up for your newest nieces and nephews can sting, and even well-meaning relatives can stress you out with prying personal questions. What helps? Having a game plan to deal with tricky TTC scenarios. Here, some potential holiday pitfalls and how to handle them.

1. You’re in Your Old Bedroom

Let’s see, what’s the opposite of romantic? Staying at your parents’ or in-laws’ house. First off, there are the über-thin walls. Then, there are the photos of you or your partner during a particularly awkward preteen phase. Add to that a few juvenile decorations and the fact that you’re squished together in one of your (teeny) childhood beds with your sibling’s room right next door, and you’ve got the recipe for a major mood kill.

How to Deal: If TTC sex is starting to feel routine, this holiday conundrum might just be the perfect excuse to spice things up. Slip away one afternoon for some much-needed alone time—check in to a local motel for a few hours or make like teenagers and steam up those car windows (just be sure you’re parked somewhere extra-private!).

2. You’ve Got Those TSA Agents to Contend With

It’s aggravating enough being the one randomly selected for a bag search, but just imagine your sexy lingerie, fertility monitor and home pregnancy test spread across the TSA counter for all to see. In the movies, that’s right about the time your high school rival would walk by with her gorgeous triplets all wearing perfect little Christmas outfits.

How to Deal: This one’s a no-brainer. Don’t bring anything you’d be embarrassed about in your carry-on. Pack it discreetly in your suitcase and check your luggage through. Or better yet, ship a TTC package ahead of time to your destination—it will travel incognito and be waiting safely for you when you arrive. (And if anyone asks, just tell them there are presents in the box.)

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3. Everyone Else is Wasted

’Tis the season for holiday parties, and while it’s totally fine to have a glass of wine with dinner while you’re TTC, you probably don’t want to drink too much. (If you didn’t know already, excessive alcohol consumption has been linked to fertility problems; plus, there’s lag time between conception and getting a plus sign on a pregnancy test, so you could already be pregnant.) And when you’re not drinking, everyone who is is so much more annoying. Right?

How to Deal: Some say babies and toddlers are like little drunk adults, so think of this as great practice for parenthood! See how patient you and your partner can be as you help your uncle clean up the cookies he knocked on the floor or listen to your cousin babble on about her snow globe collection. When you’ve hit your limit, escape to a quiet corner of the house and take a break from the insanity (that’s one thing you won’t be able to do with baby, so appreciate it now).

4. You’re in Store for Nosy Questions

Depending on how much you’ve revealed about your TTC status, you’ll probably have some relatives asking questions like “When are you going to have a baby?” or “Come on—why not have one little drink?” While others are bound to give you unwanted advice like “Just relax and it will happen!” Those are awkward enough for anyone TTC to have to answer, and even worse if you’re struggling with fertility issues.

How to Deal: The best way to handle insensitive questions is to be prepared with witty comebacks. Get ready by reading some of our favorite responses to some of the worst comments here.

5. All You Can Eat = Not So Sexy

Let’s face it: Watching your partner go whole hog on a Christmas ham or a giant serving plate full of latkes isn’t likely to get your hormones raging. Neither is having that overstuffed feeling after too many holiday cookies.

How to Deal: True, the food is often the most memorable part of the holidays, but maybe this year make a pact with your partner to both go easy on the buffet. If you absolutely must have more of mom’s pecan pie, remember that there’s bound to be leftovers, so try to at least space out your food-fest over a few days.

6. Cute Babies Are Everywhere

Your nieces, nephews and friends’ kids decked out in their adorable holiday outfits will be totally cute, and while you’re crazy about them, you might find yourself sad you don’t have your own baby to celebrate with this year. And, understandably, that can be tough to take.

How to Deal: Decide beforehand what works for you. If holding a baby or playing with toddlers will bring comfort, go right ahead, but if that will make it harder, try to distance yourself and focus on interesting conversations with the adults in the room. And if at any point you experience baby overload, don’t be afraid to excuse yourself and leave early.

Updated October 2017

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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