Yesterday I opened up my Facebook page to find a whole new album of pictures of our gorgeous baby grand-daughter. She was born in the summer and this time last year her mum and dad just knew that they were pregnant but were very understandably not sharing the news just yet. All we were aware of was that this was yet another Christmas without the family they longed for.
A child has now been born and we all feel enormously blessed. She has of course turned her mum and dad’s lives upside down in a way that can never quite be communicated to even the most ardent parents-to-be, but the joy she has brought to parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts is boundless and the greater for the years of waiting. She could not be more loved and we cannot wait to have her with us for Christmas Day.
Fertility difficulties are a very special sort of hell. There is a constant grieving for something that has not yet existed but feels like a hole at the centre of a life or lives. These feelings wax and wane all the year round but at this time of year can be especially painful as the Christmas message focuses on the birth of a child and families gather together. Even if extended family members know about IVF attempts or the need for a donor (and often they don’t) they are rarely tuned in to the fine sensitivities of a woman or couple trying to conceive and the difficulties they may have being around babies or small children. Or having pointed remarks made about when they are going to start a family.
This is my last post before the holiday starts and I’ll end with the message DCN sent to all members in our December eBulletin. But before that I’ll add my plea to anyone reading this who is not personally affected by fertility difficulties. If you have a couple in your family who have been together for a long time and not yet had children, think twice before making remarks about their state. And if there are lots of children around and they want to slip away before everyone else don’t assume they are being rude or intolerant, just accept that they might, just might be feeling very sad. These feelings can also be true for a single woman, typically in her late thirties, or a lesbian or gay couple.
“We wish all our members a very Happy Christmas and holiday season. For some, there will be the excitement of a pregnancy or new baby which can bring new meaning to this family time. After so many years of waiting and wondering and trying, parenthood is finally becoming a reality. For others Christmas may be an acute reminder of what they so long for and don’t yet have, and this can make it a particularly difficult time. We hope you are able to look after yourselves and find something positive to hold on to over the next few weeks.”