‘Tis the season for snow covered trees, twinkling lights, and gifts galore. It’s a time for traditions, love and giving, and surrounding yourself with those who mean the most to you. Children are undoubtedly the pillar of the holidays for most people. Pictures with santa and writing wish lists. Special Christmas pajamas, leaving milk and cookies by the fireplace. Watching the joy of believing and smiles around the tree. It’s everywhere, and especially hard to ignore when you’re witnessing it from the outside.
The year we got married I sent out Christmas cards with a collage of photos from our wedding. It was something I looked forward to shortly after our big day. I was excited and proud to share our happiness with everyone. The next year I sent another card out. This had a collage of photos from over the year, including special events, and our new furry puppy. By the time the 3rd Christmas came around I couldn’t do it again. It was going to be another card of just the two of us. It became depressing. The great things we did the twelve months leading to this holiday season didn’t compare to all those cards of newborn babies we received. I didn’t think our lives were enough and I felt embarrassed.
Nowadays I can’t open Facebook without seeing an announcement and baby bump. The surge around the holidays is inevitable. If I was blessed enough to make an announcement I would be right there with the rest of the internet. I mean how cute that *insert baby stocking, ornament, best present under the tree* Christmas came early post and photo are, who wouldn’t want to share that?! I often think of all the different ways I could share the news with our friends and family, and until this year I never thought it possible that I may not ever have that opportunity.
With each failed round of IVF, the scale tips and I feel myself slowly switching gears. My vision of life has always included children. That was the only picture in my head. After our first big fat negative, I was shocked. I was so confident it’d be easy. The second ‘no’ came with a transfer of 2 embryos and that was heartbreaking – thinking we had twice the odds – but I was kind of anticipating it. The last round with another 2 embryos was not surprising to me at all and I’ve started mentally moving to the other side. With feeling like the deck is stacked against me anyway, is this really what I want? Every negative, loss, and single line creates a shorter bridge to that life I never thought I’d have. Childless.
It’s been 4 years since my last Christmas card. There is still no baby under the tree for us. The only thing there for me is a giant box of medications for our next cycle that starts just days after Christmas. 2016 has not been my friend, I can only hope to bring a better and brighter year for us in 2017. It’s not easy to celebrate when you’re grieving or going through a dark time. The same way I wasn’t proud to share the life my “family of two” has, I’m not proud of infertility or its effect on me. It’s definitely easier to smile, say we’re doing well, and go about the festivities. I feel like a broken record, not sharing or saying anything people don’t already know; but sometimes I need to say it and repeat it to believe it myself. Everyday I try to be a little easier on myself and others, but continue to grow stronger on this journey in the mean time. I will absolutely push aside feeling sad for myself, and enjoy the holiday with our favorites, especially the perfect blessing that is our niece. When you love those you’re surrounded by and truly enjoy every moment spent with them, it’s very easy to appreciate what does matter most. That IS what this season is all about. Family. No matter what my family looks like, I will be proud of it. We are kind, we are patient, we are balanced.