Yesterday was very bittersweet. Sweet because we spent the whole day together, alone, doing exactly what we wanted to. We got up late, opened our presents (he bought me a watch, I bought him some shirts for his new job, and the Fat Duck Cook Book. Worryingly, he spent most of the day telling me he was exactly like Heston Blumenthal. If only I could see the evidence in his cooking!) and cooked lunch together with some prosecco. Roast duck, with clementine, apple and prune stuffing, and the ubiquitous sprouts in case you were wondering, followed by warm chocolate raspberry brownies with ice cream. We didn’t leave the house, but barricaded ourselves inside, in the warmth, with furry blankets, alcohol, food, and the remote control.
Of course the very reason we were hiding away from the world, was the very reason the day had a bitter note to it. It was all too obvious, and all too present in our thoughts that somebody was not present. Somebody who should have been, oh, 3 1/2 months old by now. Somebody who would have lit up our day, and indeed our lives with her smiles and laughter. Somebody who would have been spoilt rotten, despite not having a clue what was going on, or who Santa really is, in fact not knowing anything except how loved she was. Her absence was palpable, on a day filled with thoughts of what would have been, what could have been, what should have been.
And so spending the day alone together was the least painful option. Because nobody else mentions her, nobody else wants to speak of her, nobody else even remembers her, and Christmas Day, of all days, should not be a day when her memory is swept under the carpet, and ignored. It should be a day when others remember her too, or at least remember the fact that we, the broken-hearted parents, would find it difficult, and we could rely on nobody, none of our friends or even our families, to do that. Except for you lot, obviously, but that’s a bit different…
So when I lit the candles yesterday evening, I made my Christmas wishes for this year. They were so different from last year, when I didn’t know I was pregnant, when I lived in another world. When I was different. When I didn’t know what a loss of hope felt like. Last year, I just wanted to be pregnant. I already was.
My first wish was for, well, everyone else. Everyone who hasn’t experienced the loss of a child, infertility, or even just that longing and emptiness in your arms. I can’t put it as well as others, check out Illanare’s post on the thoughtlessness so many experience here. I wished that they would have the grace to remember that for some of us, reproduction is difficult. That they would remember the occasional due date, and perhaps send a message to say that they were thinking of us. That they would, perhaps once or twice, not disappear from a conversation and ignore you for weeks when you mention that life might be difficult, or that you might miss your children. That they might see your grief as valid. That they won’t say “aren’t you over it by now?” That, perhaps for once, they might remember that we live in their world, that we deserve love and understanding too. That they might, for once, imagine what it is like to live in our world, too.
On a personal note, I am sick to the back teeth of people who claim to be my friends, and my family, ignoring me and disappearing for weeks, or months on end whenever I have the nerve to mention my daughter. I am sick of losing friends over this. Admittedly, they possibly aren’t particularly good friends in the first place if they can’t handle it, but nobody seems to want to hear about infertility or loss any more, and it is becoming such a lonely world. I do have other topics of conversation, obviously, but apparently even one mention is too much for some.
My second wish was for you all, for those who read this blog, and for those whose blogs I read. Most, no all (I think!) have been battling infertility for far longer than me, and all of you deserve a break. Now. From those of you who have had multiple miscarriages, spanning many years, to those of you with your very own Uteri of Doom variants, I wish you all peace. I wish, so much, that 2011 will finally be a year when you hold your much-deserved, longed for and loved children in your arms, or at least in your swelling wombs. For I don’t know anybody who deserves happiness more than you all do.
My third wish, somewhat selfishly I suppose, was for me. Or us, in fact. That we would, too, find some hope and some peace this year. That we would continue to support each other, and grow stronger as a result of it. That we would find the answers to where we go from here, and find someone, somewhere that would treat my Uterus of Doom successfully, and that we would conceive a child, who would be healthy, and be born safely, into all the love that we have in our hearts that as yet has nowhere to go.
My fourth wish was for our child, and for all those lost children. That they are safe, and warm, and happy, and loved, wherever they are. I was talking to somebody on line, about dogs, in fact, and they told me a ridiculously schmaltzy story about Rainbow Bridge, a sort of heaven for animals. As it’s Christmas, here it is:
“Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigour; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster. You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again.
The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.”
It made me cry; not because of a pet we’ve lost, but because I thought of our daughter, and perhaps there’s somewhere where she is playing, waiting for us. And that one day, we’ll see her again. And if it’s true, some of you are going to be surrounded, one day.
So, Merry Christmas to you all. I hope that you spent your day in whatever way was best for you, that you ate good food, drank good wine (or whatever your drink of choice is) and that that you all had some good times. I hope that your Christmas wishes come true this year, and that 2011 is a better year, for all of us.