Christmas is my favorite. While I am not the biggest fan of being cold, I love the sleepy atmosphere when all the trees and grass fall asleep under a blanket of snow. I love the bustle of people in the kitchen preparing food that could feed a small army. I love the excitement of finding the perfect gift for a difficult-to-buy-for family member. I love the giving nature people adopt and the smiles that are given so freely. The twinkling lights adorning homes and the smell of the fire and fir tree inside make me so content.
But there is a secret side to Christmas. There is a side I push down and try to ignore. Most don’t notice it. But my husband isn’t most. He catches me staring at the long line of children, waiting for their turn with Santa. He notices when I take the long route in the stores, avoiding the aisles of toys. He sees me hang two stockings up and clutch the tiny third close to my chest before laying it back in the box. He sees me take a moment to gather myself with a big deep breath before knocking on the door to visit family and friends with children.
This is my third Christmas since we first started trying for a baby. I’d like to say the first wasn’t as bad, since we had only been trying for about 3 months, but I am a pretty impatient person, so it still hurt. Last year was horrible. I had had three miscarriages by then and I was devastated. I should have been hugely pregnant. But I wasn’t. In fact, I had gotten my period right on Christmas day.
This year it’s even harder. Because even though last year was tough, I still believed I would be pregnant. I still had hope that by this year, I’d have a baby. But I don’t. And now I don’t know how much hope I have left. I’m trying to imagine every Christmas for the rest of my life being baby-free. It’s not a pretty picture. I know lots of people do it. I know a lot of people are happy with that picture. But to me, it’s just sad.
I wish I knew how to handle infertility during Christmas. But honestly, I don’t think there is anything I can do. I can pretend that all is well, and that I will do. I will pretend the glasses I am wearing are rose-colored, instead of the black, depressive lenses I normally see through. I will pretend it doesn’t bother me when people talk about the perfect gift they found their child. I will wait in line to see Santa with my dogs at the pet store, and pretend like it’s enough. I will divert the inevitable questions that always come up about the state of my uterus and the empty second bedroom. I will smile. And then, I will go home, draw a nice hot bath, get some hot cocoa from my husband, sit in the bubbles, cry and pray that next year things will be different.