The Infertility Holiday Dash

Folks, I am not a runner, let me just put that out there right now. And yet, it’s that time of year where I need to throw on my pair of running shoes and lace them up tight, because we have a 64-day dash from Halloween to January 2nd.

. . .

Oh, hi. It’s been, um, over a week. NaBloPoMo & NaNoWriMo – I appeared to have dropped the ball on both. Words Empowered has been full steam ahead (winners of the giveaway are here). I’ve been working for my first two clients on my first three projects, with more in the pipeline. There is plaster that’s curing on the eave in my home office and this week and I’ll finally get to paint it a lovely shade of plummy purple.

Ever since Thanksgiving, I’ve been running full steam ahead and have been putting off posting here. Mostly because with everything going on, I’m dealing some crappy headspace about my infertility. It’s hard when the last thing I wrote was “I should be more grateful for what I have” when genuinely, I am struggling with what I lack when it comes to building our family.

Let’s get more into this, shall we?

. . .

Is it just me, or do the holidays get a little tougher the farther out you get from your diagnosis?

This will be our third set of winter holidays post-diagnosis. And for whatever, reason, it’s harder this year. The first year wasn’t so bad, at least from what I can remember. My sister had just announced to my parents at that point that she was pregnant, but I had already known in sworn secrecy for some time by that point, so I had a lot more time to work on coping.

Last year, I was just totally stuck in a holiday funk.

This year: it’s like running through a baby gauntlet.

There have been pregnancy announcements. And birth stories. And belly photos. And “Baby’s First [insert holiday milestone here]” like whoa this year. And as it dawned on me that this is not only our third set of holidays where a baby just isn’t in the cards, I’m also dealing with the realization that Larry will turn 30 on December 21st… and he’s still not a dad yet.

It’s been a lot to process and frankly, with dwindling daylight hours, it weighs on me and my heart.

. . .

Is it just me, or does it feel like the holidays started a whole month earlier than normal this year?

I say this because I noticed my holiday infertility blues started as early as Halloween this year. Lots of “Baby’s First Halloween Costume” pictures on Facebook this year. Adorable photos, yes (and fantastic ideas to rip off for my own children one day) and then realizing the most I have to contribute to the conversation is the fact that I checked in to a sushi place on FourSquare.

I mean, sure, I can comment and say, “Awww, how cute!” and then have no equally adorable children’s costume picture with which to counter.

The kid conversation just kind of grinds to a halt around me.

. . .

I got lucky this year at Halloween. Larry said we had about 20 trick-or-treaters. I had to work Halloween night (because my former boss was one of the most unreasonable women I’ve ever worked with) so I didn’t get to hand out candy. Last year we only had like, 3 kids come by. This year, we went all out: full-sized candy bars and everything. I bet Salem parents were texting each other as they left our house: “Come down this side street! Totes worth it.”

Even though I wasn’t handing out candy, I don’t know if I could have handled it well. I’m glad in some ways that I did have to work, to remove myself from the situation entirely.

Infertile Holiday Tip #1: It’s okay not to go to that holiday gathering. Or any of them. Off-season travel is wonderful this time of year, especially the Caribbean.

. . .

Once we clear the Halloween hurdle, it’s like a race to January 2nd for the infertile.It’s just a few short weeks until Thanksgiving and then before you know it, Christmas is here, followed by the New Year nipping at its heels. Seriously, it’s like, “how fast can these winter holidays fly by already?” we’re saying to ourselves as we dodge the friend who forgoes the glass of cranberry wine because she’s eating for two now, or as we plow through “Baby’s First Christmas” ornaments while trying to pick up a birthday card for your husband who’s birthday is forever overshadowed by the Little Baby Jesus.

Baby Jesus.

A whole holiday centered around birth.

For the Jews: the miracle of lights. A season just full of miracles and yet… for us infertiles, that one miracle that evades us so.

Infertile Holiday Tip #2: This Christmas, skip the Baby Jesus-centered creche and go for a Yule log. (Let’s stop dancing around all the references to Saturnalia anyway.) For Hanukkah, celebrate each night by doing something you wouldn’t otherwise be able to do with children: movie night, fancy dinner, sex on the living room couch during Thursday prime time, etc.

. . .

We have a long way yet to go until 2012.

How are you making it through the holidays as you cope with infertility?

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  1. says

    It does feel like time is moving at warp speed, and part of it is that places put up decorations and commercials started to be run for Christmas back when we were still in October. Thanksgiving got swallowed by Christmas this year.

    We’re volunteering this year on Christmas, as we do every year. Easy built in activity when you’re Jewish :-)

  2. says

    We are also multiple holiday seasons into this infertility journey. You’re right, it absolutely gets harder. I’ve allowed myself little reprieves. For example, I’ll send cards, but I won’t bother with a picture and cheery message. We’ll see our immediate families, but skip the extended gatherings with 5 million little ones running around.

    Good luck with you’re writing and bring on 2012! :)

  3. says

    Christmas has always been my favorite holiday but when it cycles around after 4 years without our baby, its just not the same. It becomes more obvious to us (and everyone around us) exactly what were missing. I’ve lost count how many people have said how the holidays “are for the kids”… really? Where does that leave the rest of us?

    Hubby turned 30 this year 2 months after our miscarriage and its been really hard on him. Everyone asked if I was throwing a big party but he had already said he didn’t want one, didn’t feel much like celebrating. Just be there for him as much as you can, it may be rough for him.

    Much love as we trek through the next few weeks!

  4. says

    Hey Keiko. I’ve been missing your posts in my reader – but I figured you weren’t posting because you were busy with your new business endeavors and that made me happy.

    I’m sorry the holidays are getting you down. It definitely is a minefield for those suffering with IF and/or loss. I hope that the next month is as painless as possible for you and everyone else hurting for whatever reason.

    Keeping you and your loved ones in my heart and in my thoughts.

  5. says

    I always liked Mel’s guide for this one. Though after a few years, coping mechanisms start to fail, and avoidance is a better way to go. Sending you love and light, when it can feel very dark during these days.

  6. says

    I’m with you, Keiko, I feel like I’m in baby hell this year. For me, it’s our miscarriage that’s tipping the scales this year, but it’s everything else, ALL of it, that really just makes it hard to breathe sometimes. I feel like I need an anti-anxiety pill or something. I’m having trouble sleeping, and I’m bitter, I’ll admit it. I keep trying to tell myself that next year will be better. It has to be. So it will be. Right? Right. Sending you hugs, peace and strength.

  7. CK says

    I love the honesty of this post. So refreshing. I am definitely bah humbug this year after 2 holiday seasons into fertility issues. I cried while putting up our Christmas tree wondering if I’d be carefully arranging these ornaments exactly this way, every year, for the rest of my life. We’ve already started receiving “those holiday cards” from friends with kid-centric collages of how awesome their families are and notes about all they’ve accomplished and done together this year. It’s hard not to feel bitter. I’m not sending holiday cards this year because I don’t think I can authentically say anything joyful. Not sure my friends and family would appreciate collage cards with pictures of Ovidrel needles, bottles of pills, balled up tissues and fertility treatment bills. On the upside I totally agree with you about Hanukkah vs Christmas, we could all use some miracles. The song “Miracle” by Matisyahu is really the only song I really like listening to this season.

  8. says

    The holidays from the end of October to the beginning of January have been tough on me and DH for the last couple of years. By now, most coping mechanisms don’t really work. I would love to just cancel Christmas and go away somewhere (Kauai, HI) with DH. But family dynamics don’t allow for that kind of luxury.

    This year is especially hard since our failed adoption at the end of September. Lots of new babies at church just remind me what I still don’t have, and what I could have had if the adoption had been successful.

    I can identify with you about being grateful for what you have, and at the same time feeling a sense of lacking. And during the holidays, those feelings are magnifed x1000.

    I genuinely miss the time DH and I were living in England and couldn’t afford to fly home for Christmas. For three wonderful years it was just the two of us celebrating.

  9. says

    Agreed. It’s a tough time of year. This is the third year that we find ourselves saying, “Maybe by next Christmas, we’ll have a baby.” It gets tougher to believe as time goes by. Love your tips and hope you find some peace and happiness this season!

  10. says

    This will be my first holiday season knowing that I’m infertile. Prior to this, I merely (merely? ha!) suffered from circumstantial infertility because I didn’t have a partner. Getting through Christmas will definitely be sad because I don’t have a child and I don’t know if I ever will, but what helps me is knowing that I’m not completely alone anymore. I have my husband now. The thought of waking up to him on Christmas morning and ringing in the New Year with him is what keeps me going.

  11. Marie says

    Oh the holidays. I do appreciate my church this time of year because of the Blue Christmas service my church (and a few others near us as well) host, all about grieving and the less cheery side of the holidays. We light candles and sob together about how hard the holidays are, which is a relief. Then there’s usually cookies and such afterward (carbs make me feel better, go figure). We’re dealing with secondary infertility, so it’s doubly ugly because there’s the grief (miscarriage 3 yesterday) but also I feel like I need to put on a good face for my daughter and explain to her that she isn’t going to be a big sister yet.

  12. YeeYee says

    This year seems to be Bah humbug for us too. Kind of feels like we are just going through the motions & not really feeling it. This year is even worse because my bro in law had a baby & my sister just had twins (& named one exactly what I was going to name mine – weirdest part is we never talked about names). Sadly wished this month would fly by because of these reasons & we start out first cycle of IVF in Jan. sometimes we need to keep our feelings in perspective & keep our heads up during these situations but allow those emotional breakdowns when we need them – we deserve them!