Cheers, dear readers,
Happy post Halloween for those that celebrate this festive and fun-filled holiday. I have always enjoyed this costume-laden holiday ever since I was a wee tot. My mother used to make me grand Halloween costumes from scratch. She was an amazing seamstress! Thinking back, I amaze myself with the ridiculous challenges I used to give her. “Hey mom, I forgot to tell you, but I need to have an Indian girl costume by this Friday for class.” I mean who does that? Oh right, nine-year old me. What a brat! And you know what? She always came through with perfectly fitting, custom-made-for-me magical costumes. Thanks, mom wherever you are! (she passed away back in 2012 – I can’t believe five years have gone by already).
Since my infertility journey, holidays have become more and more challenging as they often remind me of the family I thought I was likely to have – with two to three adorable kids who have my funny gait, and my husband’s beautiful eyes. But alas that is not how my life turned out. Halloween is no different in how challenging that can feel for myself and those who may walk in my shoes. The sting can feel unbearable some days. It does get better each and every year that goes by, but not all moments are easy.
It can feel like walking out over a frozen lake, not knowing if and when the ice will crack under your feet.
Recently, my husband and I visited some friends at an adorable beachside town where tons of Halloween festivities were going on. We were there with about ten other friends – ALL of whom have sweet children, all THRILLED with the prospect of putting their costumes on and celebrating another cool, awesome Halloween. I was excited to see them all in costume as well! They looked fantastic!
Yet it always feels so bittersweet.
My husband and I could stomach spending some time while the kids got in their costumes, as well as taking some pics of the cute and hilarious tots after their moms put their makeup on. But we could not emotionally handle walking through town with all of the costumed kids and their proud parents, gleefully skipping, and putting their bags out hoping for treats. We gave them all hugs and bid them farewell, so we could enjoy some silence, and muffled conversation in the long drive back home. Sometimes getting in our car after moments like those can feel like a safe haven – a familiar and comfortable place to hide away from some of the scary and sad feelings that can crop up.
Last night, I somehow managed to even OFFER to stop by my friend’s house to see her kids and some other children off in their costumes. I actually had a bit of fun witnessing a three-year old that I am just getting to know “practice” (it’s hard to remember that we had to LEARN how to do this) how to say “Trick or Treat”, and then put his bag out for us to each place a piece of candy in his bag. He hilariously kept getting distracted and running away after saying his line before we gave him candy – and then he wanted seconds and thirds thinking ALL the candy was for him (and not the other children).
And then the pang of sadness and ouch-y-ness kicks in.
Time to go.
We lasted about 45 minutes.
“Don’t you want to walk with the kids through the neighborhood?” my mom friend asked?
“No… no, thanks.”
Sometimes it amazes me how others must believe that we just “get over” infertility. That the sadness and feelings of loss just “go away.” I’m here to tell you, they are ALWAYS there, lurking in the corners.
But I’m also here to tell you to take heart. There is a wonderful life that awaits you whether your infertility journey brings you your own little ones or not. By practicing copious amounts of self-empathy and self-care, I have managed to steer clear of depression and long bouts of sadness that I cannot pull myself out of. I have many days where I absolutely and completely LOVE my life, even the parts without children. You will find your path too. It will call to you. It will show itself to you. Have faith in yourself and your journey.
Faith it until you make it.
Please join me next week to hear more about my personal journey down the infertility path. I look forward to speaking with you. I wish you the best on your journey.