Since our infertility diagnoses four years ago, my ideal New Year’s Eve would unfold as follows: Take out dinner eaten in my PJs, a bottle of wine and a movie. Oh yes— and I would likely be in bed by ten pm. I find New Year’s with infertility to be a very difficult holiday. It’s supposed to be filled with hope and excitement and celebration, however, the more hype there is around a mandatory celebration, the more I feel distanced from it, and frankly, resentful.
For me, the past four years have been tough. Infertility and loss is hard all year round, but New Year’s Eve has always highlighted how much it really sucked. These past few years, I didn’t want to celebrate, because I didn’t feel that there was anything to celebrate, and I resented having to suck it up and pretend.
It’s hard seeing everyone else celebrating, being so carefree and so happy when all I want to do is scream obscenities and/or cry. People who have not experienced infertility or loss have a hard time understanding this.
I have found New Year’s Eve to be a (very loud) reminder of our struggle.
The year we lost our twin babies in a stillbirth, I remember bursting into tears, in a bar, at the “Happy New Year!!” part of the evening, while hoards of drunk people were hugging strangers and clinking their champagne glasses. I was ugly crying, and a very intoxicated girl started shaking me, yelling in a slurred voice, “Why are you crying?! You should be happy!!” OH. MY. GOD. I just saw red. I can’t lie, I was very grateful for my girlfriend who just grabbed her, gently turned her around, and sent her on her way.
This New Year’s is feeling a bit different. I’ve done a lot of soul searching this year. After years of IVF and IUI cycles, we made the very tough decision to move away from our treatments and have started down the road of donor eggs. I’ve thought a lot about how the past four years have been heavy with sadness and disappointment.
There has been a lot of grieving.
I’ve noticed that I have spent a lot of time worrying about the future, trying to control it, and I have had a hard time being present. I have become very aware that I don’t want to look back and realize I missed out on these years because I was so hyper-focused on getting pregnant. I let infertility and loss consume me, and I’m tired of living my life in that kind of a silo.
I know this sounds cliché, but this is where gratefulness comes in. It’s hard, especially when dealing with something as heartbreaking as infertility, to shift your mindset to being thankful for what you have, versus being disappointed by what you don’t. Infertility is especially crappy because it’s just so damn frustrating— watching other people get pregnant so easily (and being happy for them… or pretending to be) while you struggle, is a real test of strength. I haven’t mastered this completely, maybe not even halfway.
BUT— I am lucky in so many other ways.
I am so in love with my husband. We have a great marriage. I have a wonderful supportive family, and great friends. I have a great career. We are healthy. I have a lot to celebrate. I’m going to try my very best to be happy NOW, and stop saying “I’ll be happy when…”
And this New Year’s, I think it’s working. I actually feel like I am excited again for what the year will bring, whatever that is. Happy New Year to you all, I hope 2019 brings you happiness and peace.
By Brooke Caruk, ithinkaboutyouallthetimeblog.wordpress.com