It’s officially Christmas Eve but both Walter and I feel as if Christmas has already happened. This is because we have already had a big family party and opened presents around the Christmas tree, watching our gorgeous 28 month old grand-daughter ripping the paper from her parcels and cooing at their contents…and in the case of her tutu brought all the way from New York by Auntie Zannah, pulling it on and twirling there and then. That family are now in Cornwall with Grandma (I’m Granny) and we will be entertaining the Italian family of Will’s girlfriend tomorrow and my sister and her crew on Boxing Day. So, despite being underwater with a heavy cold I am resisting what feels like a post-Christmas slump and gearing up again for parties and celebrations.
This time of year can be really difficult for those who want so much to be parents but have not yet found a way to achieve this dream. 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 always sends to all members at this time of year. 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.”