Let's be honest, I white knuckle it through Thanksgiving and Christmas. I enjoy and look forward to time off work, that's the one thing I've got going for me. I get two weeks off at Christmas and everybody else at the company is also forced to take the time off, so I don't come back to a pile of work - ah Christmas! Ok, and I won't be so crass as to not mention the celebration of the birth of Jesus - hello, my Savior?! I'm very grateful for that (but sadly that too can be skewed in my heart, on a bad day ... because it's a baby's birth and removing the fact that He's God incarnate ... it's a bit taunting to think of another baby's birth.)
Oooh, I know I'm going to get knocked for that one. Moving right along ...
But I am overwhelmingly scared when I think about Christmas. I am fearful of ...
Family Engagements: and feeling like a failure. I know that with every birthday, holiday, anniversary, or seasonal change I experience the loss of not being able to enjoy the time with children that should have been. Because I am so open about my struggle I know that others are aware of how long it's been and I think that they must wonder how it feels to experience this pain ... that still hasn't ended. I think that makes them sad, and I carry that. I feel responsible for a piece of their sadness, like I cannot make it go away. Not only do I feel like a failure to myself and my husband, but I feel like I've let my family down as well. I have been and continue to be very open and honest about our struggle (for better or for worse) just about every person I know (some colleagues excluded) knows about our situation and that makes things very tricky. I don't regret telling people, I know that God has given me a gift of "revealing" being transparent in my struggles, and although the pain is great, the connection (when found) and the hope that someday because of my big mouth someone won't feel alienated or judged because of their infertility and miscarriages - that is what keeps me going, knowing that God is using me. But I won't say it isn't hard.
Quite Moments: You know, the down time between conversations that comes with family when you've spent too much time together. Berilac and I will likely visit a few sets of family this season. Like most families, you can count on most of the conversation being relatively superficial and lighthearted but when the conversationalists have exhausted all of the "interesting" topics, there's silence and an opportunity to 'check on the turkey', 'set the table', 'light a cousin's hair on fire' (whatever the case may be) and that's when I mentally and emotionally step back from the situation and take inventory. I seperate from the person who was just so funny and even transparent (if we'd been talking about the infertility) and I am left with myself. You know, like when you're in bed late at night or early in the morning and it's just you and God. You can't escape your situation, or hope that it's any better than it really is. It's a scary place and somehow these places pop up everywhere at family functions!
Receiving Children Filled Christmas Cards: Ok, let me start off by saying that anyone who reads this, who happen to send us Christmas cards, who happen to have children ... please know that I WANT YOUR CHRISTMAS CARDS, I repeat: I WANT YOUR CHRISTMAS CARDS AND ANNUAL FAMILY LETTERS! The thing that I do not want to be ... is handled. And I do not want to cry in a puddle when I'm having a bad day as a beautiful smiling (Christmas decor laden) family is staring back at me when I go to collect the mail. I love children. I love them. If you didn't already gather, the reason this blog exists, is because I have such a heart's desire for children - so don't misunderstand me. Somedays, when I see a certain card or picture or letter, it doesn't matter if it's aunt betty's step child that I've never met and her hubby, their two kids, and the mutt ... something triggers me and I can't predict it. When I do have those crying bouts the reason behind them is usually because I can't imagine sending a letter of my own (until God-willing we have a child someday) because the card, picture, letter if truthful would really be sad, like heartbreaking ... and I don't want my card to be pinned up with pity, I'd rather it not be there, and that makes me sad. In the past couple of years, some friends have suggested that we send out an update like "Berilac started his MBA this year!" or "We've moved!" which is true ... but my heart would break if I sent those because I would know that I'm lying. The only thing I know is being too honest and too direct - people either love me or hate me for it, but it is what it is. (Ok, so, try as I might ... I'm not convinced that those reading this blog who ordinarily send me family Christmas cards, in years past, will do so this year ... people, please send them! I really do want them!! I really don't want the enemy to win.)
Most of all, this year, I'm a little scared to decorate the Christmas tree: Sounds strange doesn't it? Well it's not. You see, this year Berilac and I decided to memorialize our four beautiful unborn babies with Christmas ornaments from Miscarriage Memories, we found them at the beginning of this year, we had them engraved, they (like our babies) are perfect.
This will be our first official outward symbol of grieving the losses. Of course, I want to memorialize my babies and I want to honor them each year remembering them at Christmas, I'm just sure that it's going to be a painful tree trimming at the Gamwich house this year. It will be sweet, bittersweet.
For me this Christmas is a time to remember what I have lost. I really am hopeful that this battle will come to a happy ending - someway, someday. This year I'm really thinking about my little ones. I'm not really focused on what 'might not ever be,' rather on what ... just isn't.