Thanksgiving is tomorrow and we are reminded by Facebook posts and TV ads that we should be exuding gratitude for our many blessings. Personally, I find Thanksgiving to be a bit like New Years; instead of feeling forced to try to have fun, we are obliged to come up with a list of things for which we are grateful.
Well, when you have endured miscarriage, loss, failed fertility treatments and/or have not matched with a birth mother, it's really not that easy to give grace. On top of that, there always seems to be an adorable baby in the crowd who belongs to somebody else. That's just a cruel set of circumstances because you may be torn between wanting to steal said baby or run as far away from it as possible. Yes, I can certainly appreciate that you may be feeling as far from thankful this year as is humanly possible.
The Thanksgiving before we adopted our oldest son, I remember shopping for a cape that would cover up all of the weight I had put on after miscarrying. Personally, I was ‘ok’ with going to a gathering with others because it involved good food and wine; those were the only things that seemed to temporarily alleviate my sadness and depression, at the time. The group that we happened to be joining that year did not include any newborns. If it had, I am quite certain that I would have monopolized any/all of the babies in attendance. His/her/their parents would have been able to eat, drink and chat without having to balance a wine glass while holding a tiny infant. As we were saying our “goodbyes,” our close friend’s mother (who now has 3 grown sons) hugged me for a very long time. She, herself, had endured 5 miscarriages before having her oldest son. I sincerely appreciated her quiet understanding in that embrace.
You may be planning to join a group that does include an infant or two and the thought of having to be in the same room with a newborn may just be too difficult for you to endure. Your apprehension is completely understandable! Unfortunately, your friends and family may not truly comprehend it. Their mission will likely be to try to surround you with lots of love and food.
Here’s a thought before the table is set tomorrow--it’s really up to you to decide how you wish to celebrate (or not) this Thanksgiving Holiday. In fact, you can avoid celebrating altogether. If you do, I hope you escape to a place that allows you to rest and be pampered. And let's be honest, avoiding may be way better than telling Uncle Tom to "Pass the turkey and shut up!"
Another idea is to choose a form of celebration that best fits your mood and mindset. If you know that where you typically celebrate will cause you angst, veer off path this year. My husband and I spent a few years having our Thanksgiving celebration at a very nice restaurant and I think we may have also stayed at a hotel, even though we lived in the same city. That was not unusual for us back then because it allowed us to be somewhere that didn’t house all of the negativity that had come from the baby-making drama. Now, we did have a bit of an advantage because our family lives far away and we didn’t have the typical pressure of having to please our relatives. The bottom line is if you need to write this year off, then so be it! Your beloved family members will just have to get over it!
As a caveat, if you are thankful for the other blessings in your life, don’t feel guilty about expressing and sharing your appreciation. If you are in the midst of an IVF cycle and are feeling positive, that IS wonderful--celebrate! If you are awaiting the birth of your adopted baby, eat, drink and be merry.
My wish for you is that you will receive your most precious blessings in the form of healthy children in the not-so-distant future.