It’s that time of year again when families decorate Christmas trees, kids write lists for Santa, and parents place those Elf on a Shelf dolls in crazy poses around the house and take photos to post on Facebook or Instagram. As someone who loves the holidays–I mean, really loves them–I yearn to create Christmas magic for my own children. As much as my husband and I enjoy our holidays together, this time of year has been tinged with moments of sadness for me the past few years. There have been no excited shrieks at our house on Christmas morning. No cookies left with milk by the fireplace on Christmas Eve. And no Elf on a Shelf taking some “me time” in a Lego beauty parlor or enjoying a soak in a marshmallow hot tub.
Last year was particularly difficult. We were trying to get pregnant and I was in the midst of an acupuncture, vitamin and clean-living regimen. Every month I was getting my hopes way up and then being absolutely shattered by the reality of yet another negative pregnancy test. I was drinking whole milk on the advice of my acupuncturist, not drinking wine and not eating any sugar. I wasn’t running or breaking any kind of a sweat in fear that it would hurt our chances. I was gaining weight (not exercising and drinking whole milk will do that to you) and feeling pretty terrible about myself in general. I was making Jamie take crazy supplements, eat kale and abstain from this and that and the other thing. I was so serious about everything. I was pretty miserable, truth be told.
And then December came in with a flurry of reminders that everyone I knew either had a child, was expecting one or was expecting another. Everyone but me, it seemed, was preparing to dazzle their children with yet another magical Christmas. Everywhere I looked, all I saw were parents getting kids excited for Christmas. The worst part? Those Elf on a Shelf photos and all that fun everyone else seemed to be having. For some reason, those pictures became the manifest of all my pain last year. Seeing all of the creative ways people were using that silly elf to spin imaginative Christmas tales for their kids (something I was dying to do) broke my heart anew every morning. Why couldn’t I have what all of my fortunate friends and family have? I desperately wanted someone to put an elf on a shelf for. It wasn’t fair. And it hurt.
So, here we are again, with an empty nest and Christmas fast approaching. But what a difference a year makes. I’m still not holding a baby and I never did manage to get pregnant, but I am a much different person in a much different place. We are marching confidently toward adoption and I know–with certainty–that there is a baby in our near future. That’s a brand new feeling for me and I cannot tell you how healing it has been. Adoption, and having a husband as enthusiastic about it as I am, has been a life-changing gift (and we haven’t even been matched yet!). I have come so far from where I was last year, and I am so happy and relieved that we are not trying to get pregnant right now. I’m so incredibly thankful that excruciating chapter of my life is over.
Instead of feeling pangs of envy and sadness when I see happy families with excited little kids, I am content to know that will be us soon. Instead of the holiday season reminding me of the precious little one we don’t have, it is reminding me how fortunate we are to be in a position to adopt and how rich and full life is about to get. And instead of shedding a tear every time I see a fun Elf on a Shelf picture on Facebook, I can just hit “like” and smile, knowing I, too, will soon be posting elf pics of my own.
9 thoughts on “All I want for Christmas…”
Thanks for posting this. This is a killer time for me (and pretty much anyone thats going through what we’re all going through) right now, it’s super hard to be around family with little kids. I’m trying to focus on the fact that this will probably be our last childless Christmas, since we are adopting a toddler domestically. It’s just hard to see everyone goo-ing and gaa-ing over our cute nieces and nephews and yet our hearts are just aching. After all the waiting through infertility, now the adoption process, its so tough! Anyways, as I read your posts I’m always nodding along, thanks for posting.
Thanks for your comment, Kate, and for following the blog. I’m so sorry for what you (and me and so many others) have been going through. This time of year is the hardest. I hope you can find peace and solace in the fact that you’re adopting some time next year (yay!). The waiting for a match is tough, too, but adoption has brought me so much peace and happiness and relief already. I hope it does the same for you. There is a child in both of our future’s and we will soon be goo-ing and gaa-ing over them, with many magical Christmases to come!
First of all I love you very much and I know that this has been hard but….Charlie will be yours soon and you will have so many years of Christmas’, birthdays, holidays and and FIRSTS to share with him/her and time to make your family memories! Every day that passes brings you one day closer! Just think you may not really like the “elf” once you have to do it! Lol 🙂 I would forget to change its place!! I Love You both and am waiting patiently for “Charlie” news!
Aw, thanks, Aunt Donna – I love you too. We are getting really excited for all the firsts. You know how much I love hanging out with kids!
It’s funny, after I wrote this post I thought watch, Charlie will probably be terrified of the elf or something after I’ve made a big deal of it. Jamie said he thinks it’s creepy, haha. But I love seeing what people come up with for the elf to get into. That’s the fun stuff about being a mom that I’m really looking forward to. Cracks me up!
Girl as someone who’s been there and done that I know how you felt and how you are feeling now…. thank you again for bringing voice to this sometimes painful time of year. My body always seemed to chose to miscarry at Christmas making it even more fun. As you know my years with RESOLVE gave me lots of suggestions and as apart of my Christmas Tradition I write a letter to the places of worship I am affiliated with and ask them to please be sensitive to those struggling with family creation. I know after ten years of doing this they are like – yup it’s that lady again (I do it at Mother’s and Father’s day too). But I found them all very responsive and they always seemed to find a way to bring the message across that there are pains that many can’t see at a time that should be joyful. It’s one of the ways that I like to give back.
As for the Elf…. and traditions…. go get Charlie a Stocking…. hang it… post pictures about it. Buy him/her a gift (one that you’ll need anyway) and wrap it and put it under the tree. Charlies is out there, waiting for you. Dana asked the other day if Charlie’s tummy mommy found you yet. I told her no but you still feel Charlie in your heart. Dana said that’s ok when Charlie get’s too big for Cousin Allie’s heart he’ll make sure she knows how to find him. Charlie’s looking and waiting for you too and can’t wait to see what silly and over the top things you’re gonna do… take this from a woman who decided that the Advent Calendar should be activities and works (not chocolate) this year (dumb idea). 🙂
I’m sorry Christmas was/is hard for you, too Jennie. That must have been unbelievably difficult. Thank heavens for little Dana.
She is so sweet to think about me!! I wish we could have spent more time with you guys last week.
That’s a great idea to get a stocking and a gift and put it under the tree… thanks, Jennie
I love the way you write and the honesty in your posts. I really suffered this Christmas gone, but, as you described, I feel like I am marching towards my baby through adoption. The wait is hard but I can do it. Congrats on your beautiful boy, Miles. What a cutie.
Thank you, Wendy. Christmas was really tough. But the wait is 100% worth it!! It will happen for you, and these tough days will be a distant memory. Take care!!
Después es el momento de corregir.