Last year was our first year as a married couple and, naturally, we decided to send out personalized Christmas cards to all of our friends and family members. It was tough work, but I hand wrote almost 50 cards and managed to send them out before the holidays.
This year, I wanted to do the more "modern" tradition of sending out a photo card. It would have cost us more money, but I knew it was a lot less time consuming. But when the day rolled around when Joey and I were supposed to take our picture in front of the Christmas tree, I couldn't go through with it. I couldn't bear sending out 50 cards with our "family" photo on it with a tiny little version of ourselves missing from that image. I knew my smile for the photo would be forced and sad. I knew that I would probably sob while addressing the envelopes. I knew I couldn't ignore the giant elephant in the room. So I just didn't do it.
Then I thought, "Well maybe I will do a letter with photos of us from this year and send it via e-mail." But what would I write?
2009 was an awesome year. Joey got laid off from his job and was out of work for six months. His grandpa died suddenly. We were so broke from Joey being out of work for six months that we had to move in with family. Oh, and I have a uterus that doesn't work. Merry effing Christmas!
That's the kind of holiday greeting everyone wants to get in the mail.
So I've decided: There will be no cards sent from our house this year. The emptiness is too strong to ignore. It was impossible for me to recap the year without mentioning the elephant. It would be as though I was lying to myself and to everyone who knows what we are going through, and I don't want to do that. I have acknowledged it up to this point, and I have to continue. I've paraded the elephant around the circus ring from the very beginning, and there is no way I can hide behind it now.
I can't pretend this is just going to go away, and I have stopped being shy about it. When people ask me when I plan on having kids, I just answer, "I can't." There are times when I'm tempted to just put up a status on Facebook announcing I'm infertile so people will just leave me the hell alone. While I'm at it, I might put up a sign over my desk and with a bumper sticker on my car. Being open about it is what has gotten me through to this point, but sending a letter without acknowledging this year's failures makes me feel like a complete fraud.
On second thought, maybe I will send out Christmas cards this year. I'll sign them:
Your Favorite Infertile Couple!
And next to our signatures, I'll put a tiny sticker of an elephant--the pet I've embraced but now just wish I could set free.