This is the first set of holidays that we’ve had since my infertility diagnosis almost a year ago. This time last year my wife and I were preparing to meet with a Reproductive Endocrinologist to determine if there was a reason why we had not conceived a child after 18 months of trying. Little did I know that in the upcoming weeks our world would change forever. The last few weeks have been very triggering for me. It’s brought up reminders of what isn’t. We won’t have little ones running down the stairs Christmas morning opening their presents and watching the joy on their faces. Instead our tree will be empty underneath and our house will be quiet Christmas morning. We didn’t send out those Christmas cards with children on them. Instead our card had a picture of our Greyhound Lila. Who while we love dearly does not fill the void that infertility has left us. These triggers have left me sad and frustrated the last few weeks.
A New Holiday is Born
I’ve read many blogs and stories of people going through infertility or who have experienced infertility that are going through similar feelings this time of the year. So it got me thinking of what is something that my fellow infertility brothers and sisters can celebrate to get through the holidays. There has to be a better way, right? What I came up with was a new holiday that we can celebrate that gives us that outlet to escape from the holidays that trigger painful feelings…………..”An Infertility Festivus for the Rest of Us”.
What is Festivus?
For those who don’t know what Festivus is and aren’t Seinfeld fans, Festivus is a holiday that George Costanza’s father Frank Costanza came up with in retaliation of the stresses that the holidays bring. He felt there had to be a better holiday to celebrate that was more appropriate. There are certain elements of what Frank used that can be applied to an Infertility Festivus such as different Christmas decorations, telling the people in your lives how much they’ve disappointed you and feats of strength.
Infertility Festivus Decorations
In the Seinfeld episode, Frank Costanza used a metal pole rather than a Christmas tree. For our Infertility Festivus we will keep the Christmas tree but instead of putting presents under it we can stick items such as failed pregnancy tests (obviously wrap them up so it’s sanitary), failed ovulation kits, sperm sample cups, failed IUI/IVF test results and other things that are associated with infertility. These are the gifts that kept giving to us throughout the year.
The Airing of Grievances
One of the best scenes of this Seinfeld episode is when Frank gathers his family around the table for the “Airing of Grievances” telling his family how much they’ve disappointed him throughout the year. For our Infertility Festivus we will gather our friends and family to tell them how their insensitive comments and lack of support has disappointed us throughout the year. The “Just adopt”, “You just have to relax and you’ll get pregnant”, “There is more to life than children” and “You haven’t lived until you’ve become a parent” are all out in the open ready to be dealt with. If you have a spouse who hasn’t been supportive you can rip into them. You are also welcomed to go off on your bodies that have failed you. Ovaries, testicles and other man and lady bits that are preventing us from conceiving a child with outspread spouse are fair game. It’s better to get all of this out in the open rather than hold it in. Making these people know how they’ve made your bad situation worse can be therapeutic.
The Feats of Strength
Frank Costanza’s Festivus concludes with the feats of strength where he fights some family member to see who is stronger. For our Infertility Festivus Feats of Strength we will show our friends that despite the obstacles we face that we will fight our fears, sadness and frustration and survive the blows that infertility has dealt us. We will not be defeated by triggers, insensitive comments, failed pregnancy tests, failed treatments and other things that get us down. We will fight to the end and will find that resolution to our infertility be it a successful treatment, filling the childless void through third party reproduction or adoption or leading a life that doesn’t include children that is still fulfilling.
So I am asking my infertility brothers and sisters to join me on December 23rd to celebrate our new holiday “Infertility Festivus”.