Mr. M's Musings again-
Yet, the holidays bring an extra challenge of preparation for those struggling with infertility. It is a time to prepare our hearts for the inevitable obstacles of the holidays. Yes, you probably know what I am talking about - dealing with all the little children running around, the pregnant relatives, the surprise pregnancy announcements over a cup of egg nog, and the questions. Our least favorite question - "When are you going to start to have children?"
I wish we could say it was rare to get this question, but it is not. We got this question last year from a well-wishing cousin who we see once a year. To make matters worse, it came on the heels of his own completely unexpected pregnancy announcement. Ecce immediately headed for the bathroom in emotional upheaval and I was left face to face with the perpetrator of privacy. So my mind thought in a split second - do I brake out in anger here? Do I play the privacy card? Do I pretend I didn't hear him? What do I say? The holiday cheer was quickly slipping into holiday gloom.
I think I mumbled at first and then I was honest since he asked. "Well actually we are struggling with infertility." I didn't want to say it. I mean we have an anonymous blog for a reason. But I said it. So I left those words hang in the air for what seemed like an eternity. I didn't intend to be mean or to steal his joy, but I was just shocked by the question - so I gave him an honest answer.
That was the most gracious response I could come up with at the time. But it's that time again and I need to get ready spiritually for the questions. So I am putting together an action plan ready with the right response this time. Here is what I have come up.
To that soul-piercing question "When are you going to have children?" We could answer them with an equally invasive question "Did you have sex last night?" If that makes them uncomfortable because it is private, then perhaps they would realize that the result of that sex act is also private! But given that this blog post is not about "how to alienate your family this holiday," I am seriously contemplating giving this answer this year: "we have been blessed with none so far."
Ecce in a moving piece has talked about "being blessed by one" here, but I think if we truly reflect upon our infertility that it has had blessings in it too. Despite the pain, I think we could truly mean it and say that "we have been blessed with none." Of course, infertility has been major heartbreak after major heartbreak. Most days, we would probably like to respond in scrooge like fashion that "we have been cursed with none!" Can you imagine the family's expression after that one?!
But really, do I wish I wouldn't have to say "we have been blessed with none so far?" Yes, I like privacy. Do I want the person's compassion? Yes, I need it for healing. And do I want them to know that we have been trying to have children and we are suffering! Absolutely. But I also want them to know that we remain blessed despite the broken biology. Even more importantly, I want them to know that family size is neither indicative of the absence of God's blessings nor proof of a holy life. And I want others to know how blessedness can come through brokenness. Isn't that the whole Christmas message after all? A light is revealed to the world in the darkness. I think this phrase "we have been blessed with none so far" captures all of those sentiments and is a statement of our faith in a hope that goes beyond whether or not we receive children. It is statement of faith in what matters this holiday season - our love and fruitfulness in Christ.
What do you think of my response? Too cheeky? Too awkward? Too unreal and other-worldly?
What do you do with the holiday questions?