As we get closer to the official “holiday season,” I am finding it increasingly difficult to not be angry. Several people in my circle of friends have had babies in the last couple weeks, and my friends who had children early in the year are all happy-go-lucky, posting pics and videos of their infants as they are cooed over by extended family. I am finding it very hard to not be pissy at them. They are, after all, entitled to enjoy their children. They get to celebrate joyful Thanksgivings and First Christmases and gleefully go shopping for toys. Because their children lived. Which is as it should be.
But I am angry.
Last year, my husband and I used our Christmas Letter to announce my pregnancy to the entire family. What can I say this year? “We had a terrible year and our son died right after he was born, but Merry Christmas!!” Yeah, right. Who wants to be the downer for someone’s “most wonderful time of the year”?
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
I probably sound ungrateful. I am not — I am thankful for my husband, the fact that I am healthy, the fact that I didn’t give up on my life when I most wanted to and came closest to it; I am thankful for our healthy cows and the warm house I live in and the fact that I can still play music. I am thankful we have so many friends who are more like the family I always wanted, I am thankful I am a productive individual. I am thankful — grateful and happy and blessed — for a lot of things.
But I can’t help feeling like I’m being targeted by the holidays in much the same manner Facebook has been targeting me for baby ads “for my 5 month old” (You suck, Facebook). Because the holidays are engineered to be child-centric, and this year, my arms are the emptiest they’ve ever been. True, I never had a child before and I still don’t have one, but my heart now knows what it’s missing. And I’m angry that we have to live through this, I’m hurt beyond words that there will be no First Christmas, there will be no happy Christmas Letter, and that there will be no family portraits and presents under the tree for my son. Oh, I am so angry that I am forced to sit on the sidelines and watch everyone else have all the fun. It’s like gym class once again, where I am the last one standing and no one wants to let me play, or those early school dances when the boy I liked showed up with someone else. I am a wallflower again and I am oh, so angry.
When it’s gym class or a school dance, you can leave. You can walk away and cool off, and I think the fact that the holidays are coming whether I want them to or not is partially why I am angry. I can’t get out of this! I can’t distance myself from this, I can’t go “cool off”! I am trapped and there’s no way out. I am drowning and I cannot breathe.
And I am angry like a wild animal restrained behind the bars of a cage.
I want out. I want to not feel angry, because I haven’t the right to feel that way. I want to be past this part of it, because I am miserable and I hate myself when I am angry. I had been doing so well, I was honestly feeling alright and truthfully happy about my friends’ joys, and lately it feels like I’m right back where I started:
Trying to not feel the way I feel.