Friday, December 24, 2010

Empty arms at Christmas

I've been meaning to write this but with coming down with the stomach flu earlier this week and having my daughter diagnosed with pneumonia today, here it is just a few hours away from Christmas Eve.  I'm not sure how many, if any, will have the time or inclination to read this, but you know what, God is sovereign in all (even my daughter's pneumonia at Christmas) and so, this will be read when it needs to be.

All that disclaimer and it's not even a post about home education!

Free Christmas Pictures :: Image 5As most know, Christmas can be a bittersweet time if not downright sad time for some people.  Especially those dealing with loss.  Most losses are more obvious; a job, a home, a spouse through divorce.  Of course, there are also those dealing with a loss because of death.  In fact, a former co-worker died in a car wreak last week.  I hurt for her family and friends as they face the next few days.

Another loss is to miscarriage.  To lose (although, thankfully, not forever) a child during a time that's child oriented and celebrating a birth can be amazingly painful.  I'm sure most (especially women) could empathized with individuals going through that.

But there are others who could understand that loss as well that often get overlooked or discounted.  The infertile.  Most don't think about how Christmas could be painful to someone going through infertility.  That's the loss that I've experienced.

Now for another disclaimer before I continue.  Not all infertile women feel exactly as I did.  All people grieve differently, you know.  Some may feel one way at 1 PM and a totally different way at 1:15 PM.

Some may wonder why I'm bringing infertility up in a discussion about loss and grief.  That's what I'm here to tell you. 

Miscarriage is the lose of a baby.  Infertility is the loss of the hope of a baby.  Loss is loss and grief is grief, but the loss of a hope is too intangible for some to consider or recall especially when busy with celebrating the holiday.
I  know the pain of watching others plan and scheme for the pleasure of the children Christmas morning.  But no "Baby's First Christmas" outfit here.  No pictures of a child screaming in fear while sitting in Santa's lap (if you do the Santa thing that is!) 

Yes, there are nieces and nephews and baby cousins with whom to celebrate.  After all, Christmas is about giving.  It's about others.  And yes, that can still be part of an infertile woman's activities.  But people are not interchangeable.  After you've handed over the last gift, you're arms are left empty.  Cherishing you niece doesn't make up for not being able to cherish your own daughter.

So, if you have a family member or friend who is dealing with infertility and you notice one moment they are playing Chutes and Ladders with the kids and the next moment hiding in the bedroom crying, now you know why. 

OK, I'm going to take one more step of realness here.  While I can say the above feelings are not unique to me, I cannot say the same of the upcoming thoughts.  I would never dare think that others' grieve could lead them to the some sacrilegious thoughts at Christmas as my grief did.

In case you've forgotten, Christmas is about the birth of a child.  Oh, I know it's not just any child but THE Child, but a child none the less, a baby's birth.  I remember sitting in church feeling bitter that Mary got to have a baby and I didn't.  Don't get me wrong, I definitely didn't want to give birth to the Savior of the world, but a run-of-the-mill baby would have been wonderful.  And on top of it, this baby we were celebrating was born to an unwed mother!  Now wasn't that a nice howdy-do. 

I write the last paragraph with a little humor only because the boldness of my depraved mind shames me still to this day.  My feelings and thoughts were understandable, but thankfully also forgiveable.

All this to say, be mindful of the infertile as you continue to rejoice the next few days.  Their grief is just as real, even if the cause is not as evident. 

(Don't even get me started on Mother's Day...)


Shelly said...

Your post is so real and honest. And it describes exactly how I've felt over the years. Even as my husband and I have adopted two children, the emptiness remains a part of me. Thank you for reminding people to be sensitive this time of year.

mrspriceisright said...

Yes Shelly, I totally get where your're coming from even now. God's given us a beautiful daughter through adotion and there are still times I grieve over never feeling a child grow within me or being able to give my husbad a piece of himself.

Thank you so much for commenting!

Rachel WifeThenMama said...

I wrote about the same thing, only a year later!

Thanks so much for sharing your story, and letting me know that I'm not alone in my thoughts (even the depraved sort LOL)

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