I cannot believe how fast this Christmas season has gone by, the tree is up, treats are made, presents wrapped. And tomorrow is Christmas Eve. In our family this has always been the big day of celebration. We would gather at my grandparents house and exchange gifts, and eat way too much food.
Then everyone would either go to church or go home. The next day was for quiet, smaller family celebrations. Sometimes we’d travel to each others homes to see what everyone had gotten from Santa. But mostly it was a time of hanging out, playing with our new toys, and just enjoying quiet time.
I was blessed. I have so many amazing Christmas memories. I loved Christmas, then and now. But as I got older, and as I got married, and started trying to have a baby Christmas became less joy filled for me.
Seeing extended family was a bit of a chore because they would ask when we would be starting our family.
Friends would be surprising their own families with baby announcements.
Every person I saw seemed to be pregnant.
And every year I was further and further away from my dreams of motherhood. The Christmas of 2010 was particularly intense. We were in Arkansas and in the next month we’d officially start our infertility treatments.
I was reading a book called Hannah’s Hope, it’s still one of my favorites. And I’ll never forget the passage where she talks about her own struggle with Christmas. “If even a virgin could give birth to a baby, I must really be in bad shape.”
Now every year when I hear the Christmas story, I think of that quote and both chuckle and cry a little bit. Because 5 years later I’m still on this side of infertility. Honestly I love Hannah’s Hope a whole lot and highly recommend it to everyone I know. Not just people who are dealing with the pain of infertility, miscarriage, or adoption loss.
There are excellent sections in the book called Burden Bearers which gives advice to those people who AREN’T dealing with infertility. Reading these sections helped me as well, it helped me to keep things in perspective.
To understand that no, the woman at the store is not intentionally pregnant just to hurt my feelings.
No, the cashier is not being cruel when she asks about how many kids I have when I’m purchasing stuff for the other children in my life.
And at Christmas we have to remember that people are not trying to be hurtful, cruel, or even insensitive when they ask about our family plans. This is a time of year when many of us seem family members we never seen any other time of year.
This is a time when families come together, kids are running around, and your family is curious about the next arrival.
While I in no way excuse the inconsiderate things people say, I know that it’s important for us to show some grace this season and calmly explain to them why it’s important to be aware of infertility. This season lets show some love to each other. Smile and hug the friend who just lost a baby. Smile and hug the friend who just had a baby. Smile and hug the friend who has no desire to have children at all.
I think for Christmas that’s the best thing we could ever strive.