Hanukkah is to infertility as gay is to being an artist. When you’re among your own, no explanation is needed. When you’re among others, no explanation will suffice.
Having been Jewish my whole life, and infertile for a sucky stint, how much the two surprisingly had in common was apparent around Hanukkah.
Try telling a Christian person who has never known an even slightly Jewish person (or so she believes) what it’s like to be Jewish.
Try telling a fertile person who has never known an even slightly infertile person (or so she believes) what it’s like to cope with infertility.
“Why don’t you have kids yet?”
“No particular reason. I just haven’t gotten pregnant yet.”
“Oh. Have you been trying?”
“Oh. So why don’t you have kids yet?”
“I don’t know. We just don’t.”
“You know they have treatments for that now. I know.”
“Are you sure you’ve been trying?”
“You shouldn’t be waiting this long you know.”
“It’s harder to get pregnant when you’re older you know.”
“Although Hollywood stars get pregnant well into their sixties you know.”
“Have you tried having sex somewhere else?”
“I don’t know just somewhere else. Or maybe you don’t have enough sex.”
“We have enough sex.”
“Well maybe you’re having too much sex: He’s exhausted his sperm supply.”
“I don’t think that’s possible.”
“Well, then why aren’t you pregnant yet? Your cousin Sarah got married after you and she’s on her third.”
“And if Sarah has two and a half, you should have at least one: You’ve always done everything better than she has.”
“If you say so.”
“You’re probably just worrying about it too much. My cousin Amelia couldn’t get pregnant either and then she and her husband James went to Jamaica and she came back pregnant. The baby doesn’t look anything like James though, he does look a little Jamaican………anyway.”
While I happily admit that the vast majority of Christians would never have the following conversation, I actually have had this conversation:
“So, are you ready for Christmas?”
“We don’t celebrate Christmas.”
“Oh, what do you celebrate?”
“We celebrate Chanukah.”
“Oh. Did you get your tree yet?”
“We don’t get a tree. We don’t celebrate Christmas.”
“You don’t celebrate Christmas? I’ve never heard that before.”
“You just heard it ten seconds ago.”
“You don’t celebrate Christmas? All Christians celebrate Christmas.”
“We’re not Christians.”
“Oh. So why don’t you have a tree?”
“We don’t celebrate Christmas. We celebrate Chanukah.”
“Oh. Are you going to church that day?”
“No. We’re not Christian, we’re Jewish.”
“Oh. what church do you go to?”
“We don’t go to church. We go to synagogue. But Chanukah isn’t so much a religious holiday as it is a potato pancake eating, chocolate coin eating, jelly donut eating while you’re shlepping through the desert holiday.”
“Oh. Did you get your tree yet?…”
“We don’t do the tree thing. We’re Jewish. We’ve been around for zillions of years. This is the first you’ve heard of us?
And of course, Chanukah and infertility are both all about miracles… and eating to celebrate and/or mask intense emotional pain.
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