There is so much to love about fall. I love the cool, crisp nights, the cozy sweaters, the colourful leaves, and I love the smell of pumpkin spice. Growing up, part of my Fall love affair was always the holidays—Thanksgiving, Halloween and Christmas, all just a stone’s throw away. However, since infertility struck, I would rather hole up in my chunky, knit sweater with a pumpkin spice latté (decaf because infertility steals all joy!) and rejoin society after New Year’s.
The holidays seem to amplify the isolation and the pain of infertility.
I have no doubt that you have stories of being singled out (and left out) for your childlessness. Uncle Jack, who, every year asks when you plan on starting your family. Aunt Peg who reminds you that you aren’t getting any younger. Even well-intentioned remarks can really get me feeling down. Family-focused holidays are a reminder that my family is still incomplete. Each holiday is a reminder that this time last year, I fully expected there to be an extra baby in the high chair as we cut the turkey.
Since hibernating is not exactly an option, how do I get through the holidays? I host. It is the best decision I ever made.
Hosting is the best because:
1. My family is split between two provinces which means that some travel will be involved during the holidays. Having people stay with us fills up our big empty house and makes it feel a little more like a home. It means that those extra bedrooms that were supposed to be kids’ rooms actually get used.
2. The distraction provides a wonderful break from my usual worry over treatments (or lack of treatments). Instead of focusing on my infertility, I find myself focused on menu ideas, grocery lists, décor items, etc.
3. I can just walk away from invasive questions and uncomfortable conversations. “Sorry Uncle Jack, I can’t have this conversation right now, I need to check on the pies!”
4. I can also escape when I feel myself well up with emotion. I can take the car around the block and have a good cry. I can lie down on my bed and scream into a pillow. There is definitely something to be said about being in your own space when you are having a melt down!
5. It may sound a little old-fashioned but preparing a meal for my family satisfies the nurturer in me. I see myself emulating my mother as I work in the kitchen and I feel like “I have made it.” I have inherited her ability to bring people together through food and in a way that makes me feel one step closer to motherhood.
If you cannot host the holidays at your home, do think about staying in a hotel (you do not have to share a house with children if it risks heartache). Offer to bring something or help with meal prep so that you, too, have something to take up some of your focus. If you need to escape for a little while, offer to do a beer or wine run (wine is infertility’s BFF). Finally, consider enlisting a wingman—make up a code word or gesture so that your partner can save you from unwanted conversation. And always have an excuse for leaving early (it’s been fun, but unfortunately I have to work tomorrow).
However you celebrate the Fall season and the seasons’ holidays, please know that you are not alone.
When you feel your heart break a little bit, when you find yourself cursing under your breath, when you wish that you could just disappear… you are not alone. We are #1 in 6. We’re in it together. ♥
By Kelly, thencomesmaybe.wordpress.com