Have you ever felt forgotten, set aside, almost invisible? Have you ever been suffering on the inside from loss, pain, exclusion while the whole world seems to be going on merrily around you despite the despair you are feeling on the inside? This isn’t a commercial for a random medication on TV, this is the struggle of infertility & miscarriages through the holiday season for me. I have to back up and say that I absolutely love Christmas. I love this time of year & all that comes with it. The shopping, the prepping, the family, the decorating, the lights, all of it. That doesn’t mean it’s not hard. It’s so so so hard. You see this Christmas we would have an almost 5 year old who would be running down the stairs on Christmas morning to open their gifts, singing in a Christmas program, dressing in ridiculously cute red & green attire, & joyfully anticipating Santa’s arrival here on White Cottage Farm. This dream has been shadowed by seven losses & years of infertility which with that being said, who knows what our family dynamic would look like & how many kids we would have here on this little farm of ours…
But here we are. Christmas with seven babies in heaven & struggling with our infertility journey. The holidays are a constant struggle between the joy of it all & the amplified grief of what we have suffered. Daily I have to tell myself to get out of bed in the morning, to be kind & forgiving, to be gentle when my soul feels so unstable, to text or call friends back when my grief is so dark I have no words to say to them, to be happy when the holidays are a reminder of what we have lost. I was talking to my aunt the other day about how Christmas amplifies every feeling we have. It amplifies the good & it amplifies the bad. The good stuff like Christmas movies, snuggles, surprises, snow, & all of that stuff seems so much better during the holidays & the bad stuff like loss, accidents, & pain seem so much worse during the holidays. Things that seem amazing or things that seem terrible are amplified and exaggerated during this tim of year. Another thing about the Christmas season? It’s isolating in every way possible. It’s a struggle to fight the loneliness with every holiday tradition. When we go to Christmas parties & all the kids are up seeing Santa we kind of fade into the crowd, when there is photos with the grandkids we kind of just get shoved to the side, when conversations get brought up about Christmas baby things we have nothing to add to the convo, & when everyone is sharing about the Christmas joy with kids you just feel like it’s a big punch in the gut. It’s hard not to take it all personal. It’s hard not to ask why the world is still going on when you are having your moments of sadness. It’s not easy to put that happy face on at parties when you want to cry. It’s difficult to explain your anxiety & depression while also being happy to friends and family. It’s hard not to get mad when someone says something insensitive. It’s hard not to be hurt when nothing is said or your babies aren’t recognized. It’s all hard. & messy. & there is no right way to navigate any of it. I feel set aside, tossed away, & forgotten most days during the holiday season.. & that’s a tough pill to swallow even when I know it’s not true & that it’s just the impact of the loss & the tragedy of the entire fertility journey that we are on.
Recently I received a letter in the mail that changed my life. It was from Keena Alyce Designs [HERE] & she sent me a sign to my P.O. Box that she made along with a letter that would forever alter my thoughts. We were on our way home from a Christmas party the night I opened the package from Keena & on the way home I was trying to explain to Jose how I felt, but I just couldn’t put it into words. I talked about how I felt forgotten. How I just felt like my prayers weren’t being heard & that I had just become “the girl with all of the miscarriages” to everyone. I felt as if God had forgotten little old me & everyone else was getting their moment to become a momma here on earth. I was sad that I couldn’t put it into better words than that, but I’m not always great with words & I knew Jose understood exactly how I was feeling. I mean, I’m not the only one navigating this path of infertility, Jose is right by my side feeling these things as well. So, we get home, exhausted from the party, & for some reason I decided to open Keena’s package that had been sitting in our kitchen for a week because I had been too sick to open it. When I opened it & saw the sign it said “Set Apart” & I was kind of like… ummm I don’t really understand those words, but then a large letter was with the sign so I decided to read it & see what it was all about. The letter explained it all. Basically Keena shared her story of waiting & feeling “set aside” then she mentioned her study recent of the book “Uninvited” by Lysa Terkhurst [HERE] which I have also started reading, but haven’t made it all the way through yet. Keena went on to talk about a part in the book that Lysa had written about how she had felt rejected & set said aside when God spoke to her and said that she was not “set aside” but she was “set apart” just like Hannah was in the Bible when she longed for a child as she saw women around her being blessed with children. What Hannah didn’t know is she was set apart from others & meant to have the great privilege of being the mother of Samuel at the right time with many other great purposes. In 1 Samuel 1:20 it says that Hannah became Pregnant “in the course of time.” She goes on to say that God’s delay is for our protection and His purposes & that as we wait in constant faithful prayer God will answer “in the course of time.” God as truly set us apart for great things. He has not set us aside. Her letter put our journey in a whole new perspective for me. The holidays were making me caught up in how I felt our life should look like, when in all actuality our life looks exactly how God wants it to in this moment & by all means when you step back & look at it… it’s a beautiful life. God has truly blessed us in our time of waiting for a child & if we dwell on the wait we can totally miss how wonderful it truly is.
This letter & sign given to us were life changing. The words had been right in a book on my coffee table for months & I just didn’t see them. So thank you Keena for sending this perspective to me and changing my outlook on this holiday season. We all go through seasons in our life filled with rejections, failures, & other hard situations & it’s so easy to feel forgotten and left out. But that isn’t the truth at all. That’s not our path to take. God has a great plan for us & in our time of waiting we can do big things in His name, we can fulfill his plan with grace & love, we can be faithful every step of the way knowing we are not set aside… but simply set apart from the crowd. My prayer this Christmas is that you all feel loved [because you are], that you all feel included [because you are], that you feel wanted [because you are], & most of all that we aren’t comparing our stories to everyone else’s. We are on our own path that hopefully looks different from everyones because God is doing wonderful things in our lives. Friends. Thank you for making me feel included, loved, & cherished this holiday season… honestly I owe so much to you for stopping by the blog daily, chatting with me on social media, & for being able to meet you in person. Thank you. For those interested, you can read more about our story [HERE]. xx