Tuesday, November 22, 2011

thanks, serenity, and . . . wine

Thanksgiving truly is my favorite day of the year, and not just for the good food. It is a reminder for me to sit back and reflect on what I have to be thankful for. To be honest, I don't do that enough on a regular basis - be thankful. I'm getting better at it, but it's a process when you suffer from infertility.

For many Americans, Thursday kicks off the best time of year. Everyone is happy. Families are gathering. Kids are gearing up for visits from Santa Claus. For infertiles, it's a giant reminder of how our bodies have failed us. When will I have a child sitting at the kiddie table? When will I get to make my baby's first stocking? When will I be the one standing in line at Toys R' Us at midnight for whatever the latest toy fad is?

Worse than the silent reminders are the vocal ones: the family members and friends who try to drill into your brain that this is a happy time of year. "Why aren't you happy, too? You have plenty to be thankful for!" Maybe we do, but let them try giving thanks after losing a child. Or after having an IVF cycle fail. Or after just passing another milestone childless - 2, 5, 8 years of trying. It's nearly impossible.

This is my fourth holiday season dealing with these emotions. It gets a tiny bit better every year, but I would in no way call it "easy." It just is. You learn ways to cope. Maybe your way is to avoid. Or to drink. Or take anxiety medication. Or go on vacation. (I've used three of these coping mechanisms. I'll let you guess which three). The point is, you learn how to make it through. Then, you take what worked and carry it over to the next year.

Frankly, it's bullshit. You used to love the holidays, and now you don't. You have to DVR everything because you need to fast forward through the stupid "baby's first Christmas" commercials. You do all of your shopping online so you don't have to deal with the holiday sections in your favorite stores. And Thanksgiving? Well, you can't even lie and say you're thankful for your health. You sure as hell aren't thankful for your reproductive health.

So on Thursday, in addition to giving thanks, I'll also be thinking of you: stuck in some awkward family gathering, with babies screaming all around you and no way to escape. You aren't alone. I'm there with you in spirit. Can you picture me? I'm holding your hand, reminding you to breathe, and passing you a glass of wine every time someone says, "Don't worry - you'll be next!"

Yeah, asshole. I've been next for THREE AND A HALF YEARS.

Happy Thanksgiving. I love you all.

19 comments:

Jesica said...

Beautifully said.

Willow said...

Fantastic post. Here's wishing you a relatively painless holiday season--with hopefully some actual happy in there. I know how very hard it is.

amiracle4us said...

Right back at ya hun!!! I hope this is our LAST season with these thoughts and emotions. I hope next year we watch every commercial so we can make a list of every 'babies 1st year' EVERYTHING for our babies first year! xoxo

Danielle said...

You always know just the right thing to say. Especially the "yeah asshole" part. :) I'm thankful that I found your blog, and have gotten to know what a wonderful person you are by reading your words. Thanks, Katie.

Dawn said...

Well said, Katie! Thinking of you and praying that this is your last holiday season feeling this pain.

Amy said...

Katie, this is beautiful!

Her Royal Fabulousness said...

This post should be bronzed! I couldn't have said it better myself. F**k You holiday season! :)

Secret Sloper said...

Ah wine. Getting people through tough holidays since 4000 BCE (or something).

You can be thankful and angry at the same time. It's weird when you realize that. These aren't simple emotions because this isn't a simple problem.

I want you to be next. I'll wish that this Thanksgiving, for all my girls who are still trying and hoping.

Kelli said...

what a lovely, well said post. I hope we can all "truly" enjoy the holidays ourselves very soon!

Hopeful Mother said...

I couldn't have said it better myself. People don't understand unless they've been through it too. This is our first holiday after losing our first hope of a family, and 6 other family members. I will be thinking of you and everyone else struggling with infertility.
Fuck you holidays.
PS-and if I hear one more time "You're still young".....

Anonymous said...

You totally nailed it. I also feel like I should be more thankful, yet somehow every Thanksgiving it's as if the movie is stuck on repeat in the same scene where everyone says "oh you're turn is coming - you'll get pregnant soon" Right. I usually take solace in the fact that at least I can enjoy a glass (bottle?) of wine while the pregnant cousins look on enviously. Ha!

Jenn and Casey said...

Oh my god. I died laughing at the last line. Hugs and wishes for a painless Thanksgiving.

Rebecca said...

Wonderfully put.

M said...

Very well said, you are completely right. I hope next year it will be your turn!

dspence said...

Well said and happy thanksgiving!

Anonymous said...

Perfect. I lurk a lot and read your blog and you actually made me tear up. We are at the 2 year milestone and our next cycle we will be testing on Christmas day to see if it worked...setting myself up there! Holidays are so hard..it's nice to know someone understands

Chad said...

perfect. as always

emily said...

Thank you.

Mrs. Corrock said...

I couldn't even come up with one thing I was thankful for on Thanksgiving. Well maybe for my new job... but otherwise, I'm in the same boat.