One evening a couple weeks ago, I was scrolling through past things I’ve written. Old poetry, unfinished stories, Christmas advent devotions, lots of words for lots of things. In my reading, I stumbled across this letter, dated November of 2017. This was the holiday season after a long dark summer full of depression and fake smiles. This was the holiday season when we were finally beginning to look into the cause of our infertility. I remember how I felt that season. Fed up. With the advice, with the wait, with having to be the one to forgive over and over again. So I wrote this letter that I forgot about until I found it a couple weeks ago. I didn’t send it to anyone or even post it on my blog. I just had these words I had to get out. And this seemed like the place to share them.
You know when you get the bright invitation covered in birds and flowers and your gut says “no thanks” but you RSVP “yes!”? For a long time, I got really good at ignoring my gut. Heck, I helped plan baby shower after baby shower while in the midst of the darkest time in my infertility! I don’t say that to earn pity or a badge of honor or anything. Really I needed a slap on the hand! Going to the baby showers and certain family events wasn’t helping me grieve, it was forcing me to swallow my pain and deal with it later. So “later” became at home, after the plastic tablecloths were thrown away and the leftover chicken salad croissants were passed around.
Get up, make breakfast, watch a TV show, make lunch, watch a movie, play video games, make dinner, clean up dinner, watch a movie, go to bed. For years, this was my daily cycle. Daily I spent as much time as possible losing myself in someone else’s story because I didn’t like my own. I cleaned the house only when we were expecting company. I didn’t exercise and ate a lot of ice cream and gained weight. I did enough work to hide my depression and make it look like I was okay… except I wasn’t fooling myself or my husband. Until the year that the kitten happened.
This year is my ninth Christmas season without a baby. Each year, I’ve let myself fantasize just a little bit about how next year I might be snuggled on the couch with a little one, watching their fascination with our big glowing tree. And here we are yet again. Christmas for two. It always stings a little bit. Some days more than a little bit.