If you celebrate Thanksgiving, I truly hope with all my heart that there was no grilling at your Thanksgiving table this year. I mean, of course it’s okay if somebody grilled the green beans or the squash. But if you’re celebrating/enduring “infertile holidays” this year, I just really hope nobody grilled you. But knowing how relatives are… I wrote this post for you… juuuust in case…because…
It happens every year. The first cool breeze wafts through the air and with it comes the smell of panic from infertile people everywhere. Everyone– Infertiles and Fertiles alike– anticipates the holidays… Everybody thinks: Family, food, traditions. But Infertile folk also think: Interrogations. For those of us in the US who have been through infertile holidays, Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season when all those struggling mightily to conceive hold their collective breath.
Halloween is great. This is a bearable infertile holiday. Everyone’s so busy getting their hair, make-up, and accessories right and trying to score the best candy and navigate around the houses that give Twizzlers and Laffy Taffy every year. The most annoying thing that will happen to you is, after spending weeks picking out just the right sexy costume and forty minutes getting into the sexy costume, the only comment people will come up with is: “What if you have to go to the bathroom?”
But Thanksgiving is quite different. That’s a bad infertile holiday. It makes many of us tooooo full. Too full of parades, football, dog shows, turkey and… most of all….too full of chatter. And inevitably, among that chatter, somewhere between the opening kick-off and Tupperwaring next week’s lunches, people feel compelled to start talking about kids: Kids who are running around the living room like lunatics because they’re still high on Halloween fun-size candies. Kids spoon-flicking stuffing across the table who make you consider reconsidering “this whole ‘baby’ thing.” Kids ditching cranberry sauce under the table whether or not there’s a pet on the premises because someone decided to be innovative this year and use actual cranberries instead of a can opener. And so while half the people are bragging about their kids to you and the other half are fantasizing about relocating the kids’ table to the un-heated garage, there always has to be one yutz who will look at you and bring all other conversations to an abrupt and screeching halt with one simple phrase: “Speaking of kids… ”
Oh Geez… and they’re off.
“Aren’t you trying?” (wink wink to the husband)
“You shouldn’t be waiting so long. I mean, you know it’s harder to get pregnant as you get older.” (Knowing glare at the wife)
“How long have you guys been married? Oh, we had three kids by the time we were married that long.”
And while you’re being grilled like a cheese sandwich, even if nobody else there is “celebrating” an infertile holiday (although, you never know), you’d think you’d at least gain some sympathy, if not actual support, from those at the table who had been grilled in holidays past: Uncle Dave who was personally escorted out of a Major League ballpark and invited to never return, who was incapacitated, incarcerated, or both. Nobody would ever say. Or cousin Sue who’s brought three different boyfriends to the last three Thanksgivings. (I once made the error of saying “Warren looks different.” To which she replied: “It’s a different Warren.”) Or cousin Mike who’s forty-eight and has never been married and coincidentally neither has his roommate, Don. But no. They’ve all suddenly become unnaturally fascinated with the food on their plates. It’s every cheddar and Gruyere for himself.
And then the fricken infertility poker game starts with everybody trying to raise the ante… A family twist on the true meaning of Cutthroat Kitchen. It’s only your life. Why not turn it into a game show?
“I have a friend who had twins at 40.”
“I have a neighbor who had triplets at 42.”
“I read about this woman in India who had quadruplets at 51.”
Luckily most of the time, you don’t have to respond or even speak at all. These Thanksgiving think tanks are usually running on empty from the start and quickly head out into the Sea of Stupidity.
“Whatever happened to the Octomom?”
“John Travolta’s wife had a baby at 61 or was it 49?”
“Isn’t he married to Kelly Clarkson?”
Yeah, there you go. See? That didn’t take long at all.
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