Monday, November 1, 2010

Holidays Are Not Easy, Even When You Have Candy

This morning, I kissed my husband goodbye and sent him on his way to work with a giant bowl of candy. I think he's going to be very popular today. But last night, we were not the popular ones. We didn't have any trick-or-treaters. Sifting through the mound of candy, picking out my favorites, it didn't take long to realize why not a single monster, princess or superhero stopped by.

When we moved to this charming town we had dreams of what life would be like. In part, we imagined little trick-or-treaters knocking on our door or us going around in our safe neighborhood with our kid(s) in tow. By the time summer turned into autumn and the leaves reached peak foliage, we'd already been through months of trying and three failed IUIs. I certainly was in no mood for Halloween and be reminded of what was already feeling out of reach. So, we kept our lights off and hid in another part of the house where we wouldn't be seen. They still came, still rang the doorbell...

Months turned into years and it wasn't until this year (now 5 years since we'd moved out of the city) that I finally felt like I could be part of the community. I made a trip to Target, got a few decorations to put on our door, a super-sized bag of candy and at last a bowl befitting of the celebration. I pictured opening the door. Handing out candy and my son getting to see all these kids dressed up, making him excited to become one of them next year. But instead, it was me and the candy (let's say the candy won and I'm not feeling so good today).

Even though I am finally on the other side, I was reminded of the scars of infertility. Some are buried deep within, some are visible ones from surgeries, but this one -- not having kids knock on our door on Halloween -- was a haunting reminder of how detached I had become from everything and everyone.

Along with the cold weather, the beautiful leaves and the seasonal festivities come the obvious presence of neighborhood kids and family gatherings. Halloween, Thanksgiving and the holidays make up probably one of the toughest few months for the infertile community. There really isn't a magic way to avoid being perpetually reminded of your crushed dreams.

I'm sure there will be lots of advice passed around on how to best handle these awkward and often times hurtful situations. I'm not sure I have the best advice considering. But what I can give you is a promise that I and the rest of the community will be at your finger tips (blog or twitter) for comfort.


A City Girl in the Burbs said...

Your posting was a reminder of how tough it was for me to live through my husband's family's large holiday gatherings. Talks about so-and-so's son expecting, so-and-so's daughter expecting their third (would you believe- their third???),..., and list went on. A little knot would form in my stomach and slowly rise to my throat to muffle any crying sounds that my body would soon attempt to make. Then the eyes would shift to us in the earlier years- and then from us once we explained the treatments we were going through.
On the way home, my husband would soothe me through the ride, saying that he's sure we're going to have babies, it's just a matter of time. Yeah, right, I would mumble to myself, it's a matter of time, a matter of my lazy few eggs, a matter of my closed tubes, a matter of my body accepting fertilized eggs, a matter of my FSH level,...
And then a fateful afternoon in between Christmas and the New Year's, while standing in the TKTS line in the middle of Times Square, we found out that our beta was positive. I cannot even remember what show we saw- something about donuts I think- but what I remember was my internal voice praying that this would be it. That this would be the moment that we had been waiting for many years.
As we are approaching our first holiday season with our boys, you reminded me once again how incredibly lucky we are to be blessed with the gift of babies. And a gift of a few people in our lives who made and continue to make a difference.
Maybe, like my husband said, it was a matter of time. Maybe it was our strong belief that we were going to be parents. Maybe it was having faith in our doctors. Then, maybe not.
Just like you wrote, I don't know how to best handle these awkward moments and go through these painful times. What helped me most was to have one friend who had been through it all to listen to me. Without any judgements. Without any "best practice" recommendations unless I asked.
And, of course, on a lighter note, a nice case of wine did not hurt, either...

The Infertility Doula said...

City Girl, thank you for your eloquent and thoughtful comment. You are indeed lucky to be blessed with two adorable boys -- and they are just as lucky to have you as their mom. You are kind and loving. They were deeply wanted babies and I'm sure they feel that everyday.

Karenda said...

Thanks for the post. Holidays are very hard, but knowing that others go through the same things we do really help me feel better. Next year your boys will be out there knocking on doors and enjoying "family time" and you won't have to worry about no one knocking on your door!

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