'Will I ever introduce my kids to Santa?' - Christmas is tough for those struggling to conceive

Christmas can be a constant reminder that you might never have kids of your own.
James Wilson
James Wilson

08.43 18 Dec 2023

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'Will I ever introduce my kids...

'Will I ever introduce my kids to Santa?' - Christmas is tough for those struggling to conceive

James Wilson
James Wilson

08.43 18 Dec 2023

Share this article

Couples who are struggling to conceive often find their feelings of loss and stress are exacerbated at Christmas time. 

For most people, the festive season is a time of goodwill, relaxation and family. 

But if your mind is on conceiving, seeing young families making happy memories together can be a difficult reminder that you might never experience that yourself. 


Infertility and stillbirth advocate Anne Marie Gillooley has two living children but remembers clearly how upsetting she once found the Christmas period. 

“You’re grieving the potential loss of ever being able to introduce your children to Santa,” she told Sarah Madden for Newstalk Breakfast

“You’re wondering will I ever have grandchildren? Will I ever get a child that I can dress up in a little Christmas dress? 

“If you’re at a Christmas party, you’re kind of looking at everybody all the time to prepare yourself, ‘Oh, is Sandra over there not drinking? Could that be an announcement that’s about to happen?’

“You’re constantly trained to predict so that you’re ready for that reaction. Obviously, you want the best for those around you that you love but you also feel jealous and resentful in some cases.” 

According to the HSE, one in six heterosexual couples experience fertility issues. 

In 2021, the age of the average first time mothers was 33-years-old and that figure could rise further in the years ahead. 

It means fertility issues are expected to become increasingly common. 

“Once you reach that age of the big 40, the statistics go off a cliff,” fertility counsellor Roisín Venables said. 

“If you are at the tail end of your 30s, definitely the pressure can mount very, very quickly.” 

'Quite lonely'

Londonder Nell Frizzell stopped using contraception earlier this year and started trying to conceive. 

Despite this, she is now on her 12th unwanted period. 

“The first time, I got pregnant within a month,” she said. 

“So, I just assumed that I was very fertile and now, maybe with age, maybe with this sort of early menopause that runs in my family, it might be too late. 

“Every time I get my period, it is that kind of grief. 

“It’s another possibility of a potential pregnancy gone and gone forever.” 

Ms Frizzell said the experience is “quite lonely” and feels women who experience fertility issues should get more support.  

“There will be thousands of people every month who are getting periods in your local area and a proportion of them will be unwanted periods,” she said. 

“I’ve been thinking how we need better rituals for those. 

“I say jokingly, when you get an unwanted period, I want a friend to knock on your door and you take a packet of 12 eggs and throw them at a tree and scream.” 

If you are experiencing fertility issues, the HSE recommends you contact your GP, who may then refer you on to one of six HSE Regional Fertility Hubs.

Main image: A woman and a pregnancy test. Picture by: Alamy Stock Photo. 

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