Holidays are fun and joyous and exciting!
Loved ones gathered around – sharing stories and giving gifts and spending time together.
When one of those loved ones passes away, those holidays are now a sad reminder of all the good times.
Death is painful. And while that loss is very hard, there’s a difference between the loss of a loved one and the loss of a dream. When a loved one dies, there’s rituals – closure. You go through the grieving process and, while you remember them on the anniversaries of those losses, the pain gradually recedes.
With infertility, there’s no closure. Just when the wound of another negative pregnancy test has the time to heal, it’s reopened again the next month. It’s like this constant revolving door of pain.
To couples struggling with infertility, holidays are yet another reminder of our unrealized dreams and memories yet to be made.
Children barely getting any sleep on Christmas Eve in hopes of catching Santa leaving presents under the tree. Of seeing the Easter Bunny hiding eggs. Of choosing a costume that transforms them into their favorite superhero or character.
When you get married and make the decision to have kids, you think about how you’ll decorate their room and what you’ll say when they have the cutest puppy EVER follow them home and how old they’ll be when you let them start shaving.
But you never think about how many cycles will pass that you get a negative pregnancy test or how good you’ll get at knowing down to the moment when you ovulate or that trying to make that baby just might not be fun anymore.
Maybe you’re the person that bought an ornament just for your child’s first Christmas. Or you have a stocking that you have to keep in the boxes every year while you just hang two. Or you have the CUTEST Easter outfit for church. Or the perfect Father’s/Mother’s Day card stashed away in a secret spot.
But as the holidays come and go, you’re in a daze. You go through the motions and smile on the outside. But on the inside? On the inside, your heart is just trying to beat past all of the broken pieces.
I’ve been asked why we even celebrate with just the two of us and was told that we should just enjoy not having to fill stockings and wrap presents and shouldn’t even decorate a tree. Like there’s some unwritten rule that if you don’t have children, you’re not allowed to participate in the festivities. THAT hurt.
Mother’s and Father’s Day are especially hard. It’s the time when everyone is celebrating motherhood and fatherhood. While we celebrate our mothers and fathers, we are reminded that there is a void in our hearts that hasn’t been filled.
I can’t wait until the day that we will giggle like teenagers as we oh-so-stealthily put presents under the tree for our child. I can’t wait for the day that we will dress our child up and take them door to door trick-or-treating. I can’t wait for the day we find new creative places to hide the Easter eggs we’ve decorated.
And I especially can’t wait for every night that we will get to pray with our child and kiss them on the forehead as we tuck them in and wish them a peaceful slumber – and then stand in the doorway, arm in arm, and marvel at the miracle that we get to love for the rest of our lives.
Until that day – we will continue to smile. And celebrate each other. I may be in a holi-daze when those times come around, but I’m doing my best to make it through. And sometimes, it’s okay to not be okay.
So, when those holidays come around and you know someone who is struggling with infertility – just remind them that you love them. If you ask them how they’re feeling and they tell you that they don’t want to talk about it, don’t take it personally. We always remember those who make a genuine effort!
For more tips on how to cope with the holidays, visit: http://www.resolve.org/support-and-services/Managing-Infertility-Stress/coping-with-holidays.html