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To The Mama Without Her Baby This Christmas

I was out shopping yesterday, buying some last minute Christmas gifts (because I always forget somebody. I will let you speculate on who) and was in a department store, in the baby section (ok, fine, I was looking for clothes for Olivia, sheesh). I was aimlessly walking about, picking up an outfit here, some footed pajamas there, when I saw her. A girl about my age, in the aisle across. We traded smiles and I returned to studying the dress in front of me. (Walk away, idiot, she doesn’t need anymore dresses.) I took a peek over at the girl and saw she was fingering a tiny newborn sleeper, blue with little green swirls, pretty much as gender neutral as you can get. She had a look on her face, a small smile and sad eyes, barely visible to anyone who wasn’t looking for it, before she dropped her arm and walked away, empty-handed.

I knew that look. I knew that exact look because that look was on my own face two years ago. I almost went after her. I almost approached her and almost said… what? What was I going to say? “Are you infertile? Because girl, me too! Can I give you a hug? Or invite you out for some wine and spinach dip?”

Maybe it was nothing. Maybe she was a girl, newly married, thinking about having that baby, because the weather is freezing and having sex sounds warm and fun and maybe we’ll get pregnant! I’m shooting for a September baby! Why is it taking for-EVER? It’s been like three months, zomg!

But I don’t think so. I know that look. And suddenly, I felt a rush of emotion because two years ago I did the same thing. I walked the baby aisle of the department store, softly touching the little sleepers, holding the tiny shoes, and wanting to cry my eyes out right then and there because it was so fucking unfair and I didn’t want to celebrate another Christmas without my baby.

I didn’t want our tree to be filled with generic bulbs from Target. I didn’t want our adult presents to take up all the space underneath it (though I did get really excited about that bean pot).

Me with a bean pot, circa 2014

No matter how much I loved my husband and my fur-baby, the truth was, there was a stocking missing and you guys, I couldn’t deal with it. I couldn’t deal that there were no baby presents under the tree or the fact that those handmade ornaments weren’t hanging. Because they were supposed to be there.

Toby is still waiting for me to replace the stock dog photo from his stocking, so he thinks life is pretty unfair too.

Life is unfair, even though I have all these new toys.

So to those of you still waiting for your own miracle, to those of you who lost your precious baby, to those of you who are dreading this coming weekend… I see you. You are not forgotten.

To the women in the baby section, gently holding those little clothes and thinking it’s just never going to happen for you: you think no one can see the pain on your face. I do. I promise I’m not just another mama out shopping for her child. I’ve been in your shoes. That same pain? I still have it and it hasn’t quite faded.

This weekend when I set out Olivia’s stocking Christmas Eve, when I help her open her gifts and take her photos and dress her in her Christmas outfit, I will think of you. I will think of you and where I was two years ago and how it’s possible to have everything you ever dreamed of and yet still be hurting.

To the mamas without their baby this year, I know how much it hurts. I know the experience of losing a baby right before Christmas. I know how it feels to have your arms empty when they should be filled with lots of squishy baby. I know how hard this holiday can be.

I promise you’re not alone.

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15 Comments on "To The Mama Without Her Baby This Christmas"

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Amie
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Oh this is so true. You just never know what someone else's story is. What a great reminder to be kind to everyone because you never know what they are going through or have been through. Merry Christmas to you, your hubby and your squishy baby!!! After all of this time you deserve it 🙂

Beth
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This is lovely and so true. After my daughter was born, a friend of my parents' shared with me that (40 years ago) she received her infertility diagnosis and, even after 3 healthy children, the pain and memories never really go away. We never forget. We still feel the pain of others in the midst of it. As I sat in the tiny chairs of my daughter's kindergarten classroom today and soaked up all the happiness of her holiday party, I felt tears in my eyes. The realization that 7 years ago I never imagined this could be. I was… Read more »
Elizabeth S
Guest

Thank you. It could have very well been me standing in the baby section with the sad face. I have found myself in the baby aisle of every store these past few weeks touching every little item wishing that I NEEDED to buy all of it. I'm praying so hard that this is our last Christmas without a child it's such a painful emptiness that seems magnified this time of year.

Risa
Guest

Merry Christmas to you guys too!

Risa
Guest

Love this Beth! And I'm so happy you got your little blessing. 🙂

Risa
Guest

I'm hoping this is your last Christmas without a baby too.

Lindsay
Guest

Thank you for these kind words and for not forgetting about gals like this, gals like us, including me – it means a lot. I often think if (or "when" – a small shift in my language that I'm trying to make) I get pregnant, I don't want to become someone who forgets the pain, because it's a part of me. And it's a part for so many others who are going through the same thing.

So thank you – thank you for sharing all of your journey, the good/bad/ugly – and reminding us that we are not alone.

Anonymous
Guest

I have MORE than come to terms with my infertility (STUPID CANCER), but this article hits home. Risa, you are so great with words. Thank you!

-Sabrina

Lawna
Guest

Thank you. This Christmas it will be 5 months since…. I'm trying really hard to be OK but I'm just not. This gives me a bit of comfort. Thank you.

~lawna

Anonymous
Guest

Risa, this is beautiful and so appreciated. I'm sitting here crying – for me, for everyone on this rotten path, but also for gratitude at your lovely words. Every year I pray that this year will be the last without a baby.

Wishing you, Chris and Olivia a very happy Christmas.

Risa
Guest

Sending you love my dear. <3

Risa
Guest

So much love to you. Sending you a hug through the Interwebs. Merry Christmas!

Risa
Guest

Thank you for this sweet comment. It's a fine line to walk, blogging after infertility. I will never be same person I was prior to all this and I always want to remember that. But I also want to keep on writing about life with a baby on "the other side." Because I think that's important too.

Risa
Guest

You are more than welcome, my dear!

Rebecca
Guest

Yup. You hit the feeling right on the nail.

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