How to make it through the holiday of cute costumes & kiddos galore.
Halloween has never been my favorite holiday. Although I love a good reason to dress up and be silly and eat (free) candy, it was still an odd night to me. Why the scary costumes? Why wanting to be scared? Those things still don’t make sense to me today, but within my infertility seasons, I never anticipated that my frustration with the holiday would grow.
For us during this season, any holiday, social gathering or interaction, in general, is just harder. So many questions, so much pretending you are doing okay, so many people reminding you of your inner battle of contentment as they happily show off their life victories like trophies of participation.
I remember our first Halloween when we were trying to grow our family. We had recently moved into this cute bungalow home with a backyard in the most adorable neighborhood. You know the one with all the families, young kids, and space for them to roam. Although we were renting at the time it was the home where we had planned to start our family. We moved there specifically knowing there is room here. It’s go time.
That is, of course, comical now to think about, but we all have done something similar in one way or another right? Planned, prepared, and stepped out saying, “This is it, God … We are ready now!” Like the home in the perfect family neighborhood now made it the ideal time for a child. What was I thinking? Oh yeah, that I was in control.
Needless to say, that cute neighborhood with all the cute kiddos and babies did NOT sit well after several months of trying. I was blindsided by the emotions bombarding me on Halloween night. I had not planned for all the emotions. I had not planned for the overload of cuteness and the feelings of isolation and disappointment that it brought.
I wanted to be dressing up a cute baby or completely and utterly embarrassing my husband with my brilliantly matching family costumes. But NOPE. Not our reality. Our reality was that I was tearful and ended up hiding out as waves of families, kids, and Tinkerbells would not stop ringing the doorbell.
A grown adult hiding? Yes.
One of my prouder moments it was not.
If you are wondering, hiding is not the best or most reasonable option on Halloween night. The floodgate of emotions had already begun and couldn’t stop. This is always the hardest—when we feel unprepared and knocked out by the emotions, instead of prepped, planned, and prepared for the fact this could be hard. Friends in our community ... Halloween night COULD BE HARD for you! Or it might not. It may be your second, fourth, or tenth time at this doorstep of “Do I put candy at my door? Do I open the door and hand it out, or do I turn the light off, go to a movie, or watch one in our room (far away from the noises).” Your call, friends! It’s up to you. Just know that it is totally normal to have these feelings, even though it may be opposite to the overload of cuteness and scariness that most would normally associate with Halloween.
I’m aware this post may seem silly, but the last few years I kept thinking about it, frustrated at how Halloween made me (and probably you) feel. So in the silliness, I found that there are some real practical and important Halloween (or life) survival tactics to offer and suggest:
Make a game plan! Talk it over with the husband/wife and make decisions based on where you are currently and what will be best for you both. *However, be prepared to re-evaluate the night before or day of as triggers, hard days and changes may occur quickly on our journeys.
Communicate all the feelings may rage but can be controlled if you talk through them openly with your support person. This doesn’t have to be your spouse - maybe it’s a best friend, Waiting in Hope Chats buddy, local support group, whatever you need just to get it off your head and heart. For me, that means journaling it all down and getting it out of me. Journaling is an act of surrender and release for me personally.
AVOID SOCIAL MEDIA at all costs. This one may be completely obvious, but then again we do it to ourselves over and over again. Stop it. Hide the app, make a plan for not seeing the photos and cuteness that we all know doesn’t feel good for your heart. (The week before and a few days following Halloween should be excluded, too. Kids and families attend school fairs, fall festivals, and parents’ day out parties).
Seek contentment. Yes, it is possible. I know that is a bold statement but jealousy, envy, bitterness, and pain don’t feel good and they can be removed from our hearts. I’ve seen as I pray for my heart and ask the Lord to take it and do as he wishes, that it changes (slowly) to become more content in Him than myself.
Be aware, Momma Friends … (if by chance you are reading this - share with others). Please try to be understanding of why we may not want to come to your costume party or kids event this time of year. Offer the invitation, knowing we may or may not accept. Be sensitive and even ask us how it makes us feel. Holidays often remind us of our journey and time that is further delaying our plans to be where you are.
Have a spooktacular time laughing no matter what you decide to do or how you celebrate (or don’t) this holiday. Remember it is about getting to know your neighbors, coming outside from hiding and interacting without a mask if you can. If not, a Netflix and popcorn husband/wife cuddle party could be more important and vital for everyone's sanity.
Kelley Ramsey - Co-Founder/Visionary - Kelley@waitinginhopeinfertility.com
She is passionate about seeing women and couples find hope and help during their seasons of waiting. She believes that through community and purposeful time people can become better from their infertility than before.