Going through infertility is like being Jewish. No, I didn't "cut" and forget to "paste" something in the middle of that sentence. Not only do I say that this bold, insane-sounding sentence is accurate, but, having been both infertile & Jewish I'd have to say: It's most accurate now... during the holidays.
Everything on TV... Everything in the malls... Everything everywhere centers around kids... and Christmas.
And most of all: Social interactions are awkward for both groups this time of year.
For those struggling to conceive, relatives come up to you and want to know why you don't have any kids yet. Granted, relatives generally don't come up to Jewish people and ask why we're not Christian yet... but acquaintances, co-workers, neighbors all want to know... every year... if we've bought our Christmas tree yet. Of course, explaining why you have no kids is a lot more depressing and stressful than explaining why you have no Christmas tree, but it's still pretty damn awkward... and in both cases, there's no way to win.
Here are acquaintances or relatives whom you haven't seen in months at a holiday gathering, making conversation. "No kids yet?" "Don't you want to have kids?" It starts as small talk and plunges everyone into a sucky scenario that gets way too personal way too fast. I always liked to give a completely non-committal, non-response and then switch the subject onto them like: "We're fine... Are you still working at the tire company? I've always thought that sounded really interesting."
It's a lot simpler and "pleasant" than deciding on the spot to entrust this person with your most private affairs only to have them snap you in their selfie and post on Instagram: "Me and Infertile Friend!"
Even though it's obviously a lot more painful to answer the "infertility" question... Look at the dismal choices in answering the "Christmas tree" question. I've been Jewish my whole life. Please tell me if there's any way out of this.
"Did you get your Christmas tree yet?"
"I'm not Christian."
You'd think that would suffice but it doesn't. Many do get where I'm going with this, but it's alarming how many people don't seem to realize that there are any other religious options besides devil-worshipper. They apparently think I mean I was born a Christian but lost my way.
So then, sometimes I've answered thusly:
Did you get your Christmas tree yet?
No, I'm Jewish.
Luckily, most people will say. "Oh, okay. Happy Hanukkah then" and let me go on with my life in peace but occasionally the response will be:
"Oh I'm sorry. I didn't know." To which I always feel like saying: "I didn't just tell you I had a stroke. You really don't really need to apologize."
And some people will ask me what I do celebrate, which is nice. And sometimes I'll be asked to explain Hanukkah to them, which is nice and rarely... but sometimes... after I've relayed the whole story of Hanukkah and its traditions someone will come back with:
"So did you get your Christmas tree yet?"
The best answer I've found at this point is: "Not Yet".
And the best answer I've found to:
"Why don't you have kids yet?" is, frankly, the truth:
"It's none of your f...... business."
I swear to you: If you can just bring yourself to say it in your own head while you're smiling at them and then walk away without answering... you'll feel great... and it works like a charm.
Thanks for stopping by my Laughing IS Conceivable blog.
*Also this week, check out my little #MicroBlogMondays post: "Relatives... They're All Relative" @ http://laughingisconceivable.com/?p=5726
** And if you'd like to buy, see reviews or read chapter previews of my eBook: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility, click that book cover icon up there on the left for Kindle users or visit my mini-site: http://licthebook.com for Kindle, Kobo, and Nook.
The eBook is also available in Spanish (La Risa ES Concebible) on Amazon @ http://www.amazon.com/dp/B018Y136Y8 & Amazon.mx, Amazon.es, and Amazon.br.