No matter what holiday you are celebrating this time of year albeit Christmas, Festivus, Kwanza, Hanukkah, and any others I may have missed, this is the time of year where family gathers. Traditions are made and repeated. Tis' all about the kids this season. Kids, yes the one thing missing out of 1 in 8 couples lives. For couples struggling to start their families particularly this time of year is an open wound for the hurtful void of infertility.
While two lone stockings still hang over our fireplace with hopes of being filled with baby dust and a third stocking yet to fill. Yes, I will admit I am a bit Bah-Humbug. It's not me though. It is the waiting, hoping, and emotional turmoil of infertility while watching others celebrate this time on a level that we have not had the opportunity to experience. It isn't that everything sucks, but some things seem to come up during this time that stay in the murky dark regions of our fertility driven minds the rest of the year. The holidays are just plain hard for couples grappling with infertility and here is why:
Holiday Cards-The mailbox is my nemesis right now. We love hearing how our out of town friends are doing and we always think it is awesome to see their kids one year older. BUT each Christmas card that we open with the super cheesy picture of the happy family inside is kind of a smack in the face that we still don't have a family. This one is kind of a catch 22 because we don't want our friends to not send their cards, but we don't necessarily want to see them either. Honestly, we would probably be more hurt if we were purposely left off the cute, riddled with kids, Christmas card list. Man, infertile couples are complicated right? AH HA! We figured out a way to make this a bit more bearable though. It is a game called "Christmas Card Roulette".
Here is what you need:
1. Christmas Cards
2. An angry uterus/broken plumbing
3. Some form of adult beverage.
You stand apart from one another with the daily catch of Christmas cards flipped over so you can't see who they are from. Then, each of you takes turns opening a card. For every picture of a child on a card, you have to take a drink. That way, you get to enjoy the families that you see while making fun of your loving partner for how much they have to drink.
Good Willed, Ill worded Family Members- The holiday brings on many parties and family gatherings. Which is open season for comments, interrogations, digs alike. Aunt Betty, and your 50 other cousins are going to ask you why you don't have a bun in the oven yet. It will sting. You will muster up a smile and say the following:
"I am waiting to be rich and famous first." How about, "I have a fur-baby, doesn't that count?" Or try "I am going to work on growing a garden first, if everything survives we will try out the kid thing".
These questions from family and friends come from caring intentions. Just ill timed. Remember, those who interrogate you and your husband in a public setting on your lack of kids, do not truly understand your pain.
Watching your Parents be Second Santa- This one is one that has been pretty difficult for us. I think now that we are open about my busted plumbing to our gaggle of parents, it is also difficult and awkward for them too. Between the two of us, we have a ton of siblings. Some have kids. Although we are an aunt and uncle several times over, I have a recent new although very cute nephew addition that was a "surprise". My parents are so incredibly excited to see him, spoil him and pull out a switch blade against anyone who challenges them to take him away while they are holding him. I love seeing him and would do anything to have more time with all of our nieces and nephews. But we sit and watch the complete life we want, seeing other families do family things while my husband and I just be ... well, infertile Chris and Candace.
I want an Elf on the Shelf- It looks so freaking cool. Seriously, I have a whole montage of creative funny ideas for our one day Elf that we would do to get our "pretend kids" excited about Christmas. You see, all of these great ideas, vacations, epic baby showers, holidays and birthdays are just day dreams right now. Come to find out, a child is not something that is entitled to you as a human being... it is a blessing.
So folks, hang in there for the holidays. Ride it out. We will get our Elf on the Shelf someday.
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C&C from MTV's True Life