Infertile Holidays: Checking Our Expectations List

So we’ve been talking about how the infertile among us dread holidays and despise family functions. And my theory (my Masters thesis) is that many many people- those with normally functioning reproductive systems included- I won’t say “hate going to”- let’s just say- “would rather not attend” these wingdings and there’s one main reason: Expectations: Either we fear that our family holiday gatherings won’t live up to what we expect. Or, even worse: They will.

Approaching holidays fill us with expectation: Expectations to be happy, to celebrate, to be around family, to skip down memory lane, all of us together, hand in hand.

But then, when we turn over the engraved expectation list written in dainty gold calligraphy on perfumed stationery, and on the other side, scribbled in leaky pen with a mayonnaise stain on it, is our dirty little real expectation list.

We expect that everyone will get together. We expect that most don’t want to be there. Most are there because they don’t want to be the person who’s talked about behind their back.

We expect that at least one person will say something about himself that he shouldn’t have and at least two people will say something about someone else in attendance that they shouldn’t have.

We expect some cousin to tell you how well he’s doing in his business even though everyone present, even the kids, know it’s B.S.

We expect some aunt to tell you how well her kid is doing and everyone else to be thinking: “Does she really not know he’s a loser?”

We expect some to over-drink and all to over-eat. And we expect that some of the ones who over-drink, will somehow find a way to over-drink even if there’s no alcohol served. Namely: They arrived drunk, smuggled the booze in with them, or both.

We expect all the food will be great while we’re sitting within earshot of the person who made it and most of the food will stink when we all talk about it on the drive home in between popping Tums.

And we expect at least one person in each vehicle to put in the request:

“Remind me not to do this again next year.”

But those with infertility issues also expect scrutiny and being judged and being made to feel uncomfortable:

Personal questions, embarrassing questions, extremely “not-anybody’s-business” questions.

And I’m here to remind you that, while all of their baby plumbing may be functioning correctly, (although you might not be so sure when you see what they were capable of producing), your dear relatives have plenty they don’t want to talk about either:

So, remember:

Don’t ask  your cousin Brian why he’s 42 and still living in his bedroom at home with the New Kids on the Block posters on his wall.

Don’t ask your uncle Steve why he was on the news hiding his face.

Don’t ask your sister-in-law Brenda why she lives in a mansion and drives a BMW to the food stamp office.

Don’t ask your brother-in-law Sam how he failed his driving test four times and his GED three times.

Don’t ask your mother-in-law why every time she makes her “special-family recipe” stuffing, there’s always an empty Stove Top box in the garbage.

Don’t ask your second cousin Bill why he spends his days collecting disability and training for an Ironman triathlon.

And the ultimate goal for the family festivities: After the whole debacle is over, be that person in the car who says:

“Remind me not to do this again next year”…….

And then put it on your 2017 appointment calendar so you don’t forget!

(Thanks a lot for taking time during this busy season to stop by! I hope you feel even just a little bit better than when you first got here. Please consider subscribing to my infrequent newsletters and giving yourself a little laughter at infertility’s expense during this holiday season: For Amazon reviews & previews of my eBook, click the icon above or:


6 thoughts on “Infertile Holidays: Checking Our Expectations List

  1. Love it! You hit the nail on the head: It’s about expectation. And living through IF with holidays was HARD. In fact, one year, Chris and I took off over Mother’s Day weekend. I felt guilty not spending the day with my own mom, but it was so nice to get away and not have to face a mom day with no baby.

    1. Hi Risa…Good for you for doing what you had to to make the holidays easier for you instead of other people. There was a period of almost 20 years between when my mother died and I got pregnant. So for like 2 decades people would say to me: “Happy Mother’s Day!” and I would just stare at them like an idiot and go “uh uh uh”. I always had to debate whether or not to tell them the cold, hard, truth. I usually decided it was selfish to bring them down when they really didn’t mean anything by it and probably didn’t want to hear my business anyway. I usually just did: “Thanks! You too!” And let them walk away peacefully.

  2. I love this! My mother hated Christmas – or at least, she hated it when we were children, and all her SILs were so competitive with her about things they thought were important, but that she didn’t at all. Remembering her and the stress she felt always reminds me that I have had the holiday seasons relatively easy, even with infertility and childlessness.

    1. Thanks Mali! We spent all of our Hanukkahs as far as I can remember at home–just the 4 of us–which I think was smart. My mother didn’t have a big family(although my uncle lived down the block but still we rarely got together with them for holidays) but my father grew up with all of his cousins. I once asked my mother why we didn’t get together with them and she responded simply: “Because their ridiculous people.”

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