MicroblogMondays: A Low-Key Break


Bob and I decided to have a low-key Christmas this year.   However, my emotions have been going up and down.

Our first week of vacation was spent doing a lot of nothing, which was glorious.  We binge-watched many episodes of Parentho.od, had a movie date at Moa.na, and admired artwork at the newly renovated SFMOMA.  We even had a sleepover at our friends’ house and hung out with our favorite kids.   This was the good, peaceful, and fun part.

We deliberately did not decorate for Christmas.  There is no Christmas tree, wreath, stockings, or ornaments.  If you walk into our house, you will not see a hint of the Christmas season except for the Christmas cards of kids and babies on our fridge.

I just feel that if I do not want to hang any Christmas ornaments, I am entitled to do that.  I got Bob his Christmas gift, but I haven’t picked out the purse that he is going to give me.  There is no pressure to decide on one and have it mailed to us before Christmas day because, let’s admit it, it is an arbitrary day to receive a gift.  It makes no difference to me if I get the gift before or after December 25th.  It does not mean that I don’t celebrate Jesus, my Lord and my savior who was born on this earth being fully human and fully God.  But I don’t have to do anything to show that I have the so-called Christmas spirit in the cultural sense.

A couple of things has made this season difficult.  The first is all of the baby announcements and pregnancy announcements I saw in the last week or so.  Quite a few babies have been born this past week.  Many of their mothers were on the journey with me when they struggled to conceive their first babies.  They were successful at their IUI or IVF and I was not.  Fast forward to the current time.  They gave birth to their second babies while I am still waiting for my first.  Same with the pregnancy announcements that I have seen this past week.  Many struggled with their first and now they are onto their second.  It’s hard not to look at myself and feel the hurt of having empty arms that long for the warmth of holding our own baby.  My husband was so protective.  On Christmas eve, I opened the mailbox and found two envelopes that looked like Christmas cards inside.  When I was wondering aloud who one of the cards was from as I didn’t immediately recognize the address, Bob snatched it away from my hand.  He said, “You don’t want to open this one”.  I immediately understood that it probably contained a pregnancy announcement of some sort.  He admitted, “It’s the worst kind of pregnancy announcement on a Christmas card.”  He had seen the announcement on Fac.ebook earlier that day and had hidden it from me.  I said, “You mean an ultrasound photo.”  Yup that was it.  The worst kind of Christmas card for an infertile person to receive.  He took away the card and hid it.  I am grateful that he saved me from that moment of the surprise, hurt, and pain seeing the grainy black and white image.

And then one of my best friends wrote me a text Christmas Eve morning asking me to pray for her dad.  She was originally going to fly home for Christmas that morning anyways, but earlier that morning her dad was sent to the hospital in a critical condition.  She was waiting for her flight when she wrote.  Her dad suffered from cancer a couple of years ago and was doing better, but took a turn for the worse recently.  My friend spent Thanksgiving with her parents and was planning on spending Christmas at home as well.   I asked her how her dad was in the afternoon.  She wrote back sharing the news of her dad’s passing earlier that afternoon.  My beautiful friend longs for a life partner and children in her future.  It’s so hard for me to imagine losing her dad in her 30s and for her to miss out having her dad walk her down the aisle when she finally gets married or for her to not ever have a chance to introduce her future children to him.   My heart is so heavy for her.  The loss of her father and the future with him just feels so unbearable in this moment.

Tomorrow we will be driving up north to stay at a bed and breakfast for four nights.  I look forward to a simple few days of being away, reading, eating, hanging out, and enjoying nature.  I hope that it is enough for us to recuperate from the roller coaster of a year in 2016 for us to prepare for the life that is ahead of us in 2017.


17 thoughts on “MicroblogMondays: A Low-Key Break

  1. Oh Isabelle, I have thought of you this holiday season and how hard it is to be in your position–you are so brave and such an inspiration.
    As for your friend who lost her Dad…I can relate because I was 30 when I lost my Mom to cancer and had no prospects of marriage/kids/or even a career. I was adrift.
    But I’ve always known my Mom was with me, and I always look for the signs she sends me. Maybe you can comfort her by telling her to look for the signs–however small–her heart will know it’s him.
    I hope you and Bob thoroughly enjoy the rest of your break! XOXO


  2. Think about you very often. I have had so many people ‘lap’ me and faced so many announcements too. It’s rough. I know people don’t do it with any bad will but I would NEVER share or post an ultrasound photo or even an announcement to social media or a Christmas card. I find them such a big trigger for me and would never want to have someone else feel that way. This year my husband intercepted all the Christmas cards too and I am so glad. Anyway- the only thing that can really ease all the pain is hopefully right around the corner for you. Until then, please know that your strength gives us strength and your pain makes us feel pain too. Xoxo


    • I have gotten several of these from Christmastime preggos. I just recently sent a Christmas card/ pregnancy announcement with an u/s photo myself. I think the difference is that I really scoured my list, sent a handwritten card to a friend who recently miscarried and to another friend who has been married for a few years and doesn’t have children…because who knows? I understand that Isabelle has been somewhat open about her journey, so it confuses me when people do this. I had a very public late loss, and my husband’s cousin still sent us a card full of preggo shots with an u/s pic 5 months later at Christmas.


      • The person who sent us her u/s photo christmas card had to do IVF for both first and second babies. She is Bob’s friend and knows about our struggles. Yet, she still sent us that Christmas card. I don’t know if she did or didn’t think about the sensitivity of it, but I knew that I wouldn’t have felt good if I had innocently opened the envelope and seen the photo.


          • Infertility amnesia! I use that one all the time myself… I just hid someone on my facebook feed because she was an IVF person who got pregnant and then promptly made EVERY SINGLE ONE OF HER POSTS something about the baby, or a bumpwatch, or cravings, or whatever, and while all of those things are great as a sprinkle or through a baby-related site, the onslaught was too much and it was clear that having gotten to “the other side” she had lost all sensitivity to people who are where she was before she got pregnant. Argh. I have seen an uptick in the ultrasound holiday card announcement twofer (I don’t think that was even an option a year ago), but for some reason the later-trimester, clearly-baby-looking ones don’t bother me as much as the “look! It’s our sac!” ones that clearly imply a bubble of nothing-could-go-wrong that so many people don’t have the luxury of living in.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. No shame in skipping the Christmas game, friend. I did this last year and 2 years before that because I felt ground to a pulp by everything that had happened to us and refused to go through the motions. I also know the feeling of being lapped by fellow infertiles, and it is sh*tty. My heart is with you! Enjoy your romantic getaway; relish your beautiful marriage so you can return to this process recharged. Things don’t change until the change, and I have faith that some Christmas down the pike will feel astonishingly blessed ❤


  4. There can be so many triggers around Christmas time. I found it so hard seeing all the pictures of new babies on facebook especially of people who got married after us and are on their second or third child already. So sorry for your friend also.


  5. I think Christmas is a beautiful time, but a really hard time, especially when losses are raw — so good for you, deciding how and when and if you’ll celebrate/decorate. I think that’s healthy. And what a wonderful man your husband is, protecting you from cards he knew would be triggering. I’m sorry for your friend’s loss, so much amplified in that grief. I hope 2017 is way, way better for you. I am so glad you have the strength of your marriage to get you through these difficult times.


  6. I’m sending you hugs and praying that your break gave you some peace of mind after a really difficult time at Christmas. I’m so sorry to hear about your friend’s father as well – that breaks my heart to read. Sending love to you in 2017! XOXO


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