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Nicole the Fertile Chick: The Holiday Blues

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Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. The lights, the carols, the general anticipation in the air. I have loved it since I was a kid. I grew up enjoying the holiday as a cosy one, just for the nuclear family…with probably the odd guest or two. We were never a family to troop off to the Amusement Park or Federal Palace Hotel on Christmas day. Not at all. Our ritual was first to go for Mass, and then come home to good food and good company. If we had visitors, that was fine, as there was more than enough food to go around, but it was a holiday meant just for us.

Then I got married, and automatically assumed the same. Our first Christmas as a couple was shortly after our wedding, so everyone let us be. By our next Christmas, it was a different story! Everyone just assumed that, since we had no kids and it was just us two, why on earth would we want to spend it at home alone? Both sets of parents, and more than a few friends, just could not understand my lone ranger attitude. Eventually, we caved and reluctantly proceeded to host a number of our friends and family – a party, if you will. When everyone had gone, and I was left alone with the clean up, I realized I felt robbed. For the first time in probably forever, I was left bereft of my Christmas afterglow. And I knew it had nothing to do with my well meaning friends and family, who had given us their time and company that day. No, this was all me. And if I was being true to myself, it had started way longer than that Christmas day.

Thinking back to a month prior, I realized that I had never quite gotten into the Christmas spirit. We were neck deep in our fertility investigations, and I was prepping for a laparoscopy and another hysteroscopy, scheduled for the New Year, so I had not allowed myself to get into the joy of the season. Somehow, I had skipped the monumental task of buying a Christmas tree, instead choosing to, half heartedly, throw some flimsy fairy lights around my living room, some days to Christmas. And then the penny dropped. Infertility had turned me into a Grinch!

I realized that my irritation had started with the emergence of the first set of Christmas decorations. Years prior, I would look forward to driving down the Marina, Falomo roundabout, or Ajose Adeogun street, because of the wonderful and breathtaking display of lights. But that year, they gave me goose bumps and literally made my skin crawl. My office’s Secret Santa ritual, which I had previously been a champion of, became a chore for me, with me purchasing the gift I was to present the very morning of the exchange. Speaking of gifts, by December 23rd, I had not bought a single gift for anybody, not even hubby dearest. This was me that would have gleefully started putting away gift items as early as summer, in previous years. My office didn’t have a party that year, which was very fine by me, but in addition, I made excuses for all the other Christmas party invitations I did receive. I changed the channel at the first note of a carol, and didn’t participate in any of my Church’s activities.

Somehow, I had allowed my baby quest rob me of my Christmas joy. I had allowed myself believe that, because we didn’t have a baby yet, there was nothing to celebrate. I had allowed myself forget the very essence of Christmas….the gift of Christ to us. And that was what had turned my Christmas heart from its usual colours of glittery gold, emerald green and scarlet red….to a sour, dour black.

The following year, in the weeks leading to Christmas, I was in a worse place emotionally. My IVF cycle had just failed, and I was still dealing with the ensuing heartbreak and devastation. But somehow, I was able to pick myself up and get into the Christmas spirit. I still couldn’t bring myself to buy a tree, and still resorted to the flimsy fairy lights strewn across my living room. But when the first set of lights popped up on Ajose Adeogun, I allowed my heart smile. I allowed myself go crazy with gift shopping, even buying my Secret Santa present before I even knew if the person I was gifting would be male or female. I made more charitable contributions, danced away merrily at the office Christmas party (and numerous other social functions), and genuinely found myself gradually easing into the spirit. And on Christmas day, we willingly hosted our friends and family, and, for the rest of the Christmas week, I was on a very wonderful holiday high, with everything happy in my world. I knew I would have to face reality in the New Year, but for the time being, I was content to just find joy in the fact that I had Christ, a wonderful husband, the best family I could wish for, friends who loved me, good health, a great job…I had everything to be thankful for. Hopefully soon, a baby would join that list.

And by the next Christmas, our babies had come. My heart was so full, it could burst! As a new Mom, I was too frazzled to remember the Christmas tree, or gifts, or take any notice of decorations, but my Christmas joy was very present. And what a wonderful Christmas it was!

Today, the flimsy living room fairy lights have been replaced by a beautiful, shamelessly bedazzled, Christmas tree. My outdoor decorations are set up by the end of November (sorry neighbours), and my Christmas playlist is on repeat from December 10th, with Nat King Cole singing about chestnuts roasting in an open fire. And yes, having people over on Christmas day has become our annual ritual, replacing my childhood nuclear family celebration idea.

Christmas gifts are chosen, wrapped, given, and received, with excitement and glee. And the joy on the faces of my wonderful blessings from God makes it truly worth it. It really is the most wonderful time of the year!
Merry Christmas, everyone!

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Dennis Owusu-ansah

Nicole is a woman in her late 30s, with a passion for all things fertility related. She suffered infertility for the first 3 years of her marriage, and found it extremely isolating. After she had her kids, she started The Fertile Chick (www.thefertilechickonline.com) to create a community and happy-place for all women, in various stages of the fertility journey.

10 Comments

  1. BCG

    December 22, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Quite inspiring. Congrats Nicole!

    • Nicole

      December 22, 2014 at 5:12 pm

      Thanks BCG!!!

  2. ma'am

    December 22, 2014 at 11:42 am

    Nicole..i waited for about 4 years before i had my son…4 years and 4 IVF cycles in 2 years….i remember not finding it funny that we were going into yet another year and i had “nothing” to show for it(or so i thought!). It was a real nasty feeling…i cried EVERY Dec 31st…up until 5 years ago when my 4th cycle clicked! It is an emotional roller coaster…i use the present tense because even after our first miracle we are still waiting,,,4 years again…injecting, scanning, praying,hoping and still nothing. another 4 cycles after our first miracle…
    BUT! i won’t be sad…i choose not to be sad. or angry. or pressured. because i have so much to be thankful for. a good husband, a loving family. i am alive and i can still H.O.P.E…and i know God will do it yet again…

    so, to Nicole and every woman waiting or who ever waited…it’s cheers to the new year…May it be a wonderful one for us….lets hold on tight, be focused, be hopeful and be thankful because, God is still God!

    • Nicole

      December 22, 2014 at 5:12 pm

      Awww Ma’am! Thanks for sharing your lovely story!! I pray your quest for baby #2 ends soon. And AMEN to your wonderful prayers!! May 2015 be a wonderful year for all of us indeed!

  3. NK

    December 22, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Heart touching……. I love this fertile chick write up. I pray for my own wonderful Christmas blessing from God. As God has visited you, I tap the anointing of the new baby.

    • Nicole

      December 22, 2014 at 5:14 pm

      Thanks so much, NK! I really appreciate it! I am joining you in prayers for your own bundle(s) of joy!

  4. MJ

    December 22, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Last year’s Christmas wasn’t an easy one for me. My sibs and I lost our mother in April and Christmas was one of the few times she cooked through out the year! LOL. Always on a chilling P when it came to cooking (her argument was always that “I have 2 big girls so why should I?”)

    Come Christmas though, she would cook all sorts! 2013, I tried all I could to make everyone happy. Amazingly enough, she handed over prepping the J-rice of 2012 to me and praised me as it was delicious and it didn’t burn (I learnt well obviously).

    This year, I don’t think I am up to it. I just want to sleep but I shall have fun sha :p

    • Nicole

      December 22, 2014 at 5:22 pm

      I’m so sorry for your loss, MJ! I know it might be hard the first, but it sounds like she did a great job passing on the baton to you and your sister. If you don’t feel up to it this year, you and your family could make an outing of it, and do lunch somewhere. I’m sure you’ll be ready to whip up that awesome jollof rice next year 😉

  5. fertile

    December 23, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    Hi everyone. Merryyyyy Christmas. May God grant us all our heart desires. Pls Nicole can u recommend a wonderful centre for IVF in Nigeria. Plus, is the procedure in anyway uncomfortable or painful??

    • Nicole

      December 25, 2014 at 10:19 pm

      Hi Fertile. For most people, the procedure isn’t painful. Uncomfortable yes. And there is some soreness after some aspects. The injections are not the most wonderful things in the world either, but you soon get a hang of it.

      Shoot me an email at [email protected] for my take on which IVF clinic to use.

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