“I must stop Christmas from coming…… but how?” The older I get, the more I find myself able to relate to the Grinch. Honestly, the poor guy just seems misunderstood. I mean, I can’t fault someone for just wanting a little peace and quiet during an otherwise INSANE time of year.
I miss the naivety of when I was kid, when the holidays were simple. You glued some macaroni on paper and instantly had the perfect gift for anyone in your circle. Then, on Christmas Eve your only job was to sleep (my now favourite thing) while “Santa” delivered your presents. Christmas Day was filled with toys and food and wonderment. Now, as an adult, from December 1st straight through to New Year’s Eve I feel nothing but stress, worry, and unfortunately sadness.
Christmas has been hard for me for a while, since the first one after I lost my mom.
I didn’t think I could feel any more sad than I did that year, but then, this year we had two miscarriages after both our IVF cycles and I feel lower than low. When we did our first transfer in June and then subsequently got our positive, Aaron and I were both so hopeful and excited. My mind wandered to the holidays and the thoughts of being incredibly pregnant and feeling so filled with love and joy. The thought of it FINALLY being our last childless Christmas gave me more joy than I could describe. Then we miscarried.
We grieved and then picked up the pieces to do our next transfer with our only frozen embryo, our Hail Mary. Again, we were pregnant, though a bit more jaded and apprehensive, but still, thoughts came to the holidays and the idea that it would be the perfect time to announce to family and friends. I mean that’s the dream, right? To be the one with a beautiful Christmas- themed announcement. We’ve certainly earned it in the last four-and-a half years.
I finally felt like some Christmas spirit was making its way back in to our hearts. Sadly, once again it wasn’t our time. We had our third miscarriage, but this time, there was nothing to look forward to, no next steps to take right away, nothing to keep us hopeful, just emptiness and the holidays looming over our heads.
We’ve tried faking it in the hopes that eventually we’d actually start to feel festive, you know what I’m saying, that “fake it till ya make it” mentality.
Yet here we are, less than a week until Christmas and I can feel that deep-seeded feeling of dread taking over. It’s hard, because I remember loving this time of year. I used to count down the days to Christmas with such excitement, now it’s counting down until it’s finally over. People, when they hear we aren’t excited about the holidays, and not knowing why, will say “oh just wait until you have kids, Christmas will take on a whole new meaning, watching them and their pure innocence and excitement” …. Little do they know, the reason our ache is so deep and raw is because we may never get to experience that.
And through all of this we keep reminding ourselves that it’s OKAY to feel this way, to be sad and down, to feel like we would rather just skip the holidays and wake up in January. It’s important to remember that infertility and loss are just that—a loss. It’s something you have to grieve and no matter what anyone tells you, there’s no timeline for it. There’s also no shame in admitting that the holidays are a hard time when you’ve been through so much.
We’re not pretending for anyone this year, and that in and of itself feels good—to allow ourselves to actually feel our feelings.
So, as Christmas nears, my wish for all of you travelling this rocky road is that you’ll be kind to yourself this holiday season. Smile your fake smiles if you need to but take time for yourself and grieve. Then, remind yourself that you have survived another year of what should have broken you, and you’re still standing! A new year filled with new chances and new hope is upon us and though I’m not really the praying type, I do pray that 2019 treats us all a little kinder and that it brings every one of us struggling, our so-longed-for miracle.