(Start with "Monday" if you can. You'll want to store up on chuckles now, before the relatives arrive for just the weekend, then there's a snowstorm... and things start to take a less than comical turn.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. Trying to avoid looking at pictures of everyone and particularly, everbody's kids during this holiday season. After all, it can be excruciating. The reminder that they have what so many of us on this site desperately want. That another year has gone by. Another holiday season unfulfilled and so on and so on.
We certainly know why the holiday photos are excruciating for those trying for a while to get pregnant. But do we know why they're excruciating to everyone else?In a deep, maternal/paternal, spiritual way we know that all children are beautiful. But when you put that aside and just look at a one dimensional photo objectively...bad things can happen.
So, there I am, standing right next to a friend, or not-too-close relative, or coworker and she goes to reach for her wallet. People don't grab their wallets for too many things in the middle of a conversation. I doubt she's going to hand me a twenty and say: "Here's some pizza money" because she's not my daddy and I don't live in a dorm.
I can't think of a reason why she would whip out her driver's license: I'm not selling her beer and if I were, I wouldn't think for a second she might in any stretch of the imagination be under 21 or 25 or 40. Like those signs at the CVS check-out counter: "If you were born after today's date in 1989, we will not sell alcohol to you." Okay, well, she got her master's degree in 1985, so I guess no I.D. would be needed. So, then, there is only one conclusion I can realistically jump to: She must be reaching for the photos.
I draw in my breath, close my eyes and rattle off a little prayer: "Oh, dear Gd, please don't let it be hideous, amen." If it is, I'm in trouble. First I find myself mentally taking stock of my initial reaction: "Geez, I hope didn't flinch. I didn't flinch did I?"
From there, things go downhill rapidly. I might actually say to my friend, coworker, or relative: "She's cute!" I usually yell it, almost sounding hostile. It's called over-compensating. I'm going out of my way to guarantee it doesn't come out as a question. Sometimes I just really get thrown for a loop and lose my way altogether. I scramble to come up with something positive and end up with: "Don't worry. It's probably the lighting."
The worst case scenario is when a grandmother shows you the photo. What the hell can you say to a grandma? There she is beaming from ear to ear at this wallet-size monstrosity and boasting: "He looks just like my son" and I'm fighting back the words: "No. Don't be so hard on yourself."
Then I've had another awkward, but more pleasant experience. When the parents are hideous and the children are surprisingly gorgeous. There I am, looking at the photo while dusting off my mental notes from eleventh grade chemistry class, specifically the ones on dominant and recessive genes, and wondering how in the world this could be genetically possible.
At least I can be honest when I look at the photos. I just sometimes, unfortunately, don't know when to stop commenting. "Wow, is she cute!......That's a relief. She really dodged a bullet." Or: "He's adorable.......So what do you suppose happened to you two? Do you think it's genetic or environmental? I mean is this kid destined to wind up like you guys or could he be saved just by moving out of state?
Listen, I gotta go. Tomorrow's Christmas and I have to get myself mentally ready for Chinese food. That's the traditional Christmas dinner among traditional non-Christians.
This month has been jam-packed with articles from some amazing infertility "Health Experts" and "Non-Health Experts" who are determined to get you through this extremely rough season. There's been a new article just about every day this week and today and tomorrow are no exception.
Today's article is by Illinois' esteemed Reproductive Endocrinologist, Laurence A Jacobs. As a bonus on Christmas, we have the incredibly moving article by Tracy Birkinbine. She is a counselor who specializes in fertility issues but she is also an infertility survivor who will discuss her own battles during the holidays. It just seemed fitting to pass it along on Christmas.
Meet Dr. Jacobs at http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=1742 or read his article at: http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=642. Look for Tracy's article and link info tomorrow, Christmas Day!
I'll talk with ya again on Tuesday.