We all get them. Those holiday photo post cards with the beaming children and newborns, riding on a sleigh or in their favorite PJs.
To anyone else these holiday cards are just a message of holiday cheer from friends and family. But for those of us doing IVF or struggling with infertility, these postcards stab you in the heart every time you open one, reminding us of what we face on a regular basis, the unending question—what if I can never have children? Maybe I will never take a photo of my toddler taking a bath and crop it with a cheesy Christmas border. Not that I've ever wanted to do this before, but you know how it goes, once it's forbidden, you want it more. So what's an IVF girl supposed to do?
My answer became my own kind of birth child with starting this visual diary about IVF. For me, there is particular significance to this holiday season as I am now recovering from a miscarriage from my last IVF. Christmas day would have marked the end of my first trimester—the promised land.
So if I were to imagine my own merry IVF holiday world where snow gently falls outside, the sound of glasses are clinking and the murmur of laughter softly heard, and rose-cheeked women are baking pies and eating gumdrops and sticking needles in their asses, what would our Christmas cards look like then? Here begins my series of holiday cards that I have created for the IVF world. I will post a new card everyday until Christmas as a message of hope and understanding on how hard it is to deal with this quintessential family moment in American culture. This is not a hostile protest against the lovely children that get sent to me in the mail. I am not anti-child Christmas card. What I see as the reason this whole phenomenon exists—putting a photo of your kid on your holiday card—is because it represents how a family is doing, where they are in life, and how happy they are. So my cards take on the same representational purpose. My hope is not to offend, of course, but to give a little laugh in the midst of this twisted reality.
This inaugural first card is dedicated to my online buddy group who went through IVF treatments this fall—every single one of us either had a pregnancy loss or a BFN (big fat negative).