I love Halloween! I love the excitement of it, the spookiness, The Great Pumpkin and Hocus Pocus, but let’s be honest, mainly it’s the candy that I love! I remember being a kid and anticipating the parties at school leading up to Halloween. I loved going shopping with my mom to pick out the perfect costume. Then it came time for Trick or Treating! Friends and families, running throughout the neighbourhood, laughter carrying throughout the night!
When I was young, this was such an innocent time. It was just costumes, scary movies and candy, some of the greatest things known to man. There wasn’t a care in the world. It was an evening out followed by sitting on the floor doing inventory of the night’s haul. As I grew older it shifted from collecting candy to handing it out. It changed from picking out my own costume to seeing what the kids in the neighbourhood would be wearing. It’s adorable kids knocking on your door, the excitement in their eyes, as they see you throw the treat bag in to their bucket.
And then, infertility hit.
It’s so strange how something you used to love so much can become a day that you almost dread. As Aaron and I continue to be unable to get pregnant, Halloween seems to get harder. I so long to share my love of all things Great Pumpkin, costumes and candy, but still we continue to struggle. It doesn’t help, being married to a sailor, that I’ve had to face the last two Halloweens solo, meaning I had no one to commiserate with. The things I used to love about Halloween, the cute kids in their costumes and seeing peoples’ carved pumpkins, are now the things that seem to claw at my heart the most. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, tomorrow someone will announce a pregnancy with either a pumpkin or a cute custom costume showing a little baby skeleton growing. And while my heart swells with happiness for them, it also breaks for myself and Aaron. We dream about our special announcement and with each holiday passing us by, as an infertile couple, it’s hard to enjoy things the same way we used to. There’s a certain anxiety that comes with infertility and logging on to social media on a day of significance because you just know you’re playing Russian roulette with your emotions as you scroll down your news feed.
I’ve spent a good part of the month of October trying to avoid thinking about it, but here we are, a day away from it, and unlike the Grinch and Christmas, I know I can’t keep Halloween from coming. While I am not ashamed of what we struggle with, in fact I generally embrace it and am quite vocal about raising awareness and ending stigma, there are days that I am ashamed of how I sometimes feel.
I’m ashamed of how I allow jealousy to get the best of me when I wish it were me trying a costume on a reluctant toddler.
How I sometimes find myself judging other people’s parenting choices and styles, thinking how I could do it better. I know it’s normal, I know it’s natural, but the guilt can eat at you, especially when you think long term, and how someday you’ll be on the receiving end of another person’s hurt and shame. I know eventually it will be our turn, our chance to once again feel just the joy of a special occasion, but, for now, it’s hard to see past the current moment.
Those feelings are harder on holidays, and while I try and cut myself some slack and find the “bright side” of it all, it truly is hard to not get swept up in the feeling of defeat as you spend another year, another holiday, being the proverbial bridesmaid and never the bride.
By Brittenay, https://journeytobabybell.wordpress.com/