I know my blogging regularity has slipped as of late and I promise there are a couple of good reasons for it. I also feel bad that I’ve not had time to really just sit and write for you guys lately either. So today I wanted to talk about a topic that I know is all too real for many this holiday season – as it was for me for many years…. the heartache that comes with holiday festivities.
Let’s be honest and just admit that Christmas has an intense focus on family. For me, Christmas has been filled with traditions. Growing up it meant time spent at home sipping hot chocolate and watching White Christmas. It was baking cookies and candy for family and friends. It was the magic of Santa and sneaky elves who ate cheetos. It was trying to find that perfect gift. It was celebrating with immediate and extended families and running around with cousins.
But time passes and things change. You get married and you make the decision that now is when you want to start growing your family. And you try, month after month, you try but nothing happens. And then the holidays creep up and suddenly they feel very different.
Those traditions feel emptier… like something’s missing. You start to dread all those family gatherings… seeing everyone else’s growing families and the little ones running around. Not just that but you cringe at the thought of being asked that question again “When are you two finally going to start having kids?” You find it harder and harder to feel cheerful about the season – to get the decorations out, to bake the sweets, to wrap the presents. And there’s a certain sorrow that rests over you that no one else really sees. And truthfully, it makes sense that this would be an incredibly difficult time for the couple trying to conceive… Everything about this holiday revolves around family… the traditions, the gatherings, even the very holiday itself – the birth of a child – involves family.
I feel immensely blessed that this holiday season I have a child to celebrate Christmas with, but last year I was really and truly working on accepting the very real possibility that motherhood might never come to me. I had no desire to put up decorations. I didn’t listen to Christmas music (other than at stores) and I didn’t watch my traditional Christmas movies. I focused on showing love to others, but I didn’t enjoy the holiday as I once had. I will never forget what that season of waiting and wanting and hoping and feeling hopeless felt like. Yes – it was a period of immense hurt and pain, but it was also a period of tremendous growth and learning for me. And I’m all to aware that anytime we feel a pull or desire to grow our family – we’ll be right back on that uncertain heartbreaking road again. Ultimately, I never want anyone else to feel alone in that experience… because for a long time I did feel very alone.
BUT YOU ARE NOT ALONE! There are so many couples waiting and hoping and hurting this holiday season. There may even be people you know who would give anything to have a little one in their arms. There may be couples who have children but went through years of infertility or those who lost babies along the way. There are more people than you know hurting this Christmas season. And as hard as it is to open up… it is so much easier to walk the hard road when we share it with a friend. It’s so much easier to continue on when we find others who understand.
And please know that it’s okay if you’re not okay this holiday season. You don’t have to be Buddy the Christmas Elf. You’re allowed to be sad and you’re allowed to mourn what you’ve lost or what isn’t. Just remember to be kind to yourself and to give yourself the space and time to heal.