It wasn’t even Halloween yet and department stores had Christmas decorations out. Halloween is difficult all by itself, all the moms deciding what their child will be, decorating and taking them trick or treating or to the various fall functions. I can, like most people facing infertility, avoid Halloween pretty much. Turn the porch light off; avoid the candy aisles and also the costume aisle. Stay home and listen to my husband watching horror films. Easy enough I think.
The pumpkins and fall decorations are coming down, Thanksgiving is tomorrow. Thanksgiving, a family time to eat, talk about Christmas and watch our parents and family wrap each other up in love and that common thread that family represents. Seeing that my niece or nephew has my brothers’ eyes or his hair. I can even see a bit of me in my nieces. I choke back the tears that there is no little me and my husband running around. Touching my back pocket making sure my compact is in there so when I go to the bathroom to let the tears fall, I can cover it all up.
I wonder if there will be another Thanksgiving to share with my parents whose health is failing and their age is catching up with them. I always pray for one more Thanksgiving so maybe next year, my hopes and dreams are realized and there is that true reflection of my husband and me to share with them and my family. Maybe next year my child experiences my mother’s turkey dressing, not to mention my mother in laws desserts and hear my brothers play music and watch my nieces and nephews play and joining in. One more year, I say that every year, God please let this coming year be the year that the pain ends, the constant want and hunger is satisfied. Each year my arms are empty and while family and friends have quit asking and have just accepted that we will probably never have a child, that desire and craving has not waned at all.
After all the turkey and dressing and family time is over, my husband and I will go back to our home, boxes of Christmas decorations waiting to be displayed. Everywhere we turn, there are children. Christmas time is all about children, family get togethers, and toys galore. But at our house, in our little corner of the world…Christmas is painful and as much as we try to be happy and join in all the functions – it hurts. I still hang the stockings, just two and one for our cat and one for the dog. No going out and getting special kid friendly things to put in them. Just cat nip and rawhide bones.
We play all the Christmas music, wondering if we will ever share Silent Night or Jingle Bells with our child. We get a new ornament each year and we still want to buy that ‘baby’s first Christmas’. We go shopping for family and friends, avoiding the center of the mall where Santa and countless children and their mommies wait to give their list to Santa. All of this reminds me of the fact that I may never have my own family to share this season with.
We go to Church to see the Christmas play and always wanting to be the one in the audience with the camcorder so proud of our child being one of the great wise men or a beautiful angel. I can remember the plays at my parents’ church, the baby in the congregation always being baby Jesus – I couldn’t wait until my child was the one that would be baby Jesus.
We suffer silently, rarely sharing our hurt with anyone during the holiday season. We watch as our brothers children grow up, and have children of their own while we still sit alone, empty and still after 15 years holding on to hope that next Christmas it will be our Christmas. But Christmas after Christmas our dreams die a little more.
It is so hard to explain to people that can get pregnant without even trying. We get all those helpful solutions to our ‘problem’. Why don’t you try not to worry about it, it will come. My cousins’ mothers’ sisters daughter took some natural herb and got pregnant right away. Maybe God just doesn’t want you to have a child; maybe you are supposed to be something other than a mother. This world is a bad place, it is probably best. I can think of so many answers for each of those and so many more comments. If they just knew all the tests, all the medications, injections, embarrassing calls to the doc, all the negative pregnancy tests.
As painful as the season is, as much as it hurts – we smile, we enjoy our families and friends. We can’t let the opportunity slip by of spending time with family. We aren’t promised another day, even my personal pain won’t keep me from spending time with them. We take breaks to take a deep breath, to slip to the bathroom to let the held back emotion come out just before it overcomes us in public. No one knows, no one really knows what we are going through each Christmas and I guess that means we are doing something right.
We put up the decorations, it is hard but we do it. He loves the season and hopes that all the twinkle and sparkle might put a little sparkle or twinkle in my heart and eyes. He does this, not the decorations. I can get through all of this because of him and his love for me – mother or not.