I remember parking in the garden section of Walmart, heart pounding at the thought of someone seeing me. I walked through the Christmas section and picked up a “Baby’s First Christmas” ornament- first blue, then pink, then blue again. Maybe I’d wrap one of those and watch Matt laugh and then cry upon realizing our news- he was going to be a DAD! A section of novelty gifts caught my eye and I wandered over gasping when I saw a fat white coffee mug that said “World’s Best Dad”. Giggling, I stashed it under my purse in my buggy and laughed again when the cashier winked knowingly at me. I also purchased two slim white frames to put our ultrasound in and give to each set of grandparents-to-be.
Although not “officially” pregnant yet, we’d already been trying for three months and most of my friends had taken around that long. It was only a matter of days until I took another test and surely it would be positive. Except it wasn’t. I think I held on to that mug for three more Christmases, (36 more months that ended in "no")smashing it in the driveway one particularly hard December day. My neighbor pretended not to see me crying as she helped me pick up pieces of cheap shattered clay.
The holidays are in full swing and if you are waiting for a baby(or your second, or fifth!) it can be an excruciating time. Although my family is certainly growing, it’s eight Christmases later and I never got my announcement. I DID, however, get a little experience at this whole gig so I thought I’d put together a list that might be helpful to you this year.
How to navigate an infertile Christmas:
1)Be honest- I know that ideally you would NEVER have to talk about “trying” around your grandfather and his famous Christmas ham (because that means PawPaw knows you’re having s-e-x) but this is not a time to fake it till you make it. If you are a while into the trenches of infertility, you may want to think about telling your family at least in part what you’re going through. Chances are, they have been through this before (or dearly love someone who has). If they haven’t, they are still your family and they love you. They are much more likely to respect whatever amount of privacy you want if they have an idea of what’s going on. And at least the slew of insensitive questions will stop (or slow). You’re never going to make it through forced small talk and seven rounds of Dirty Santa while Aunt Lucy bubbles through her eggnog “WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO GIVE ME A NIECE OR A NEPHEW??”
Which leads me to #2…
2)Have a script- Decide with your husband how much you want to share this year and come up with a few concise but relevant statements that will not only inform your eggnog laden crew but help them realize you need some time before you discuss it further.
“I want you to know, but I’d rather not talk about it right now.”
“We have actually been trying for a while now. Maybe after the holidays we can catch up.”
“Whenever we have news, I’ll be sure and share it with you!”
“I’m going to punch you if you ask me one more thing about babies!” (just kidding)
You could also call (read:TEXT) ahead of time and fill in your family/friends. That will help take the spotlight off of you and minimize awkward conversations.
3)Don’t go- Take the pressure off yourself to attend every party and event that comes your way this season. Sometimes it’s just too hard and THAT’S OK. Give yourself permission to decide what you can do this year and what is too much. You don’t owe anyone an explanation and a simple “I can’t make it this year” is perfectly acceptable. Besides, when you roll in with your TWINS next year, they'll never remember your absence.
4)Don’t lose heart!- When you’re surrounded with the world’s greatest pregnancy story (of a VIRGIN who WASN’T EVEN TRYING), a holiday centered on children, and hundreds of Christmas cards of all your people’s beautiful families, it can be tempting to be overwhelmed with sadness. Don’t give into that. You won’t always feel this way- I promise! And you aren't alone...if you want to talk, shoot me a message. I can promise you I understand.