The joy and pain of Christmas

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.”


About oliviasview

Co-founder and now Practice Consultant at Donor Conception Network. Mother to two donor conceived adults and a son conceived without help in my first marriage.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The joy and pain of Christmas

  1. marilynn says:

    Just for fun. Christmas can be a bittersweet time for people who are not able to be with their relatives or who don’t know who their relatives are. Remember that they might be wondering if their parent is raising some of their siblings and they might be thinking of what their absent father or mother is doing for their other children that they are not doing for them. They might be wondering where their brothers and sisters are on Christmas and may be wondering why they had to all be taken and raised seperately from one another. They may wonder why the identity of their siblings and other relatives is kept secret from them for 18 years when siblings are supposed to grow up together an this might make them very sad because nobody ever explains why they are kept apart from their relatives or why they must wait 18 years just to learn the identity of their biological parents which does not help them to find all the siblings they may have if they gave many up to be raised by others. The holidays and birthdays are especially painful for separated families. Far more painful than for people who are sad because they wish they had families. Remember that people whose parents are gamete donors loose contact with actual relatives while people in the condition described by you Olivia have only lost the dream of having children.

    You said once before that you could not fathom that donor offspring would feel they lost family to the same extent that an infertile couple feels they’ve lost a biological child that will never be. I just will never understand why you would say that when their relatives exist and the wished for bio child does not exist. Its the difference between loosing a dream and loosing something that was actually yours. Merry Chritmas

  2. gsmwc02 says:

    Hi Oliva,

    This is our first Christmas since our diagnosis just after Christmas last year. The last few weeks have been very triggering for me of what isn’t. It’s something that people with children could never understand as you watch family and friends celebrate with their children something we are not sure if we ever will. I hope people who have children would really take to heart your suggestion about infertility etiquette and those who are single that are lonely.

    I wish you and your family a Happy Christmas as well.

  3. Eva says:

    In our long fight with infertility we heard the remarks at the beginning, then they stopped as if everyone lost hope in us altogether. This was actually worse for me and very artificial – I was left out (or the last to know) whenever any pregnancy or birth news were announced in our family. I told my relatives that i appreciate their sensitivity but i don’t want to be treated like an egg that may be easily broken. I was totally open with them about what treatments we were having and also finally about our adoption plans. They were not very enthusiastic about it at the beginning, had lots of doubts if they will love someone who is not “their blood” but now they are just crazy about our boy.
    So now we are celebrating our first Christmas as an infertile couple with a child 🙂 we’re enjoying it a lot, but also remember what it was like for us a year ago. And keep fingers crossed for all still waiting.

    • marilynn says:

      First Christmas! That is so much fun. Have a wonderful safe happy and secure day.

    • gsmwc02 says:

      Thanks for sharing your story. Reading it gives me hope that somebody we could become parents like you are. This is something that people who were able to have biological children will never understand or appreciate.

      I hope you had a nice Christmas.

  4. Eva says:

    Many thanks, and the same to you. it was a very special time even though there was a new pregnancy announcement 😉 It wasn’t painful though – just a little bit of envy that my cousin could simply “plan” her second child so that the age difference is exactly 2 years and – woohoo – here she comes, right on the plan. Unbelievable or rather – i should say: inconceivable..
    Greg – fingers crossed for you. And yes, people who can easily fall pregnant and have children will probably never appreciate the time with them the way we do, but I must say that at the end of the day, regardless how long you waited for your children, you appreciate a LOT the scarce moments you have just for yourself or for you as a couple 😉

Comments are closed.