We all know that holidays can be tough for people dealing with infertility. We brace ourselves for getting attacked from all sides: Family, friends, coworkers… Even though it’s almost always unintentional, everybody throws their kids in your face with great enthusiasm: They’ll tell you what they’re buying the kids for Christmas or Hanukkah. They’ll ask your opinion on what to buy them. They’ll take the adorable items out of the bag and show them to you. They’ll scroll through the photos on their phone and narrate every single one: “This is their first Christmas.” “This is the first Christmas that they understood what was going on.” “This is the first Hanukkah where they didn’t put the dreidel in their mouth. It’s the first Hanukkah we didn’t have to do The Heimlich Maneuver.” But for me, over the many years before, during and after my bout with infertility and IVF, the worst torture is the one that comes in the mail. Has anyway ever sent you an “Our Year-in-Review” card?
Don’t get me wrong: I love and really appreciate when people mail an actual personalized holiday card. You so seldom get those. Sometimes I only get one from the dentist. “Happy Holidays! Time for a cleaning!” But an “Our Year-in-Review” card or letter is quite… different.
If you’ve never received one, they’re similar to the friends on Facebook whom I call the “Living the Life!” people. They only post to make people jealous with their “spectacular” life. It’s like the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. And they add exclamation points to everything like US magazine does to make sure we get properly excited over very little.
“Stephanie turned 12 this year! She spent the summer in Brazil!”
“Doug just opened up his third hardware store! Business is booming!”
“Doug Jr. won the Science Fair! He’s sooo smart!”
Why oh why doesn’t anybody ever include any details worth waiting the whole year to see? Something we really might be interested in?
“Stephanie turned 12 this year! She spent the summer in Brazil! The judge said it was either the camp for troubled tweens in Sao Paolo or juvenile detention!”
“Doug just opened his third hardware store! Business is booming! So what if he sleeps curled up in a ball on the floor and started sucking his thumb?!”
“Doug Jr. won the Science Fair! He’s sooo smart! I knew he could figure a way to convert his meth lab into a water purifier!”
Even worse than the people who give an overview of their year in-review are those who give it month by excruciating month. They make you not even want to live another year. Let me end it now, so I won’t have to suffer through this again a year from now.
They have to highlight the dullest details they can dig up.
“Leslie started gymnastics! (How unique of her.) The teacher says she’s a natural! Maybe she’ll be in the 2022 Olympics!”
(And of course there is only the winter Olympics in 2022. So Leslie had better either double up on her classes so she can get in on 2020 or take it easy until 2024.)
“Gymnastics are still going super super super well for Leslie! She also started dance class! (And? So?) She takes tap, jazz, and modern! The teacher says she’s a natural! (Imagine that.) Maybe she’ll be on “So You Think You Can Dance!”
(Or maybe “Cops” getting cuffed for selling crack: Rebelling for being forced into a life of extra-curricular activities at a tender age.)
Every day of December I go out to get the mail like I’m walking to the electric chair. The driveway is my green mile. I open up the mailbox and take out the contents, my hands shaking: A bill, good. Another bill, good. Another bill, whew! Oh no. I “whewed” too soon. A greeting card from Lisa. I know her handwriting. I suck in my breath. The envelope is unnaturally thick. I’m pretty sure she’s enclosed neither a check nor a gift card. I pull off my glove, drop it on the driveway and tear into the envelope right then and there. Let’s rip off that Band-Aid as fast as possible (and while I’m still within tossing distance of the garbage can.) I see several folded sheets of paper which are about to punish me for all of her boring bullshit, which, for twelve months, I successfully ignored on Facebook. Shoot me.
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you feel a little bit better than you did when you got here. If you’d like a few laughs while going through infertility during these holidays, I’d be honored if you’d consider reading my little book: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman’s Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility. Available on Amazon, Nook, and Kobo. https://www.amazon.com//dp/0692950117