I know I am not alone this Christmas; I am not the only woman who’s heart is filled with joy yet sorrow. I know I have millions of fellow warriors in my club; the club of infertility.

And, yet a significant part of me feels very alone.

I didn’t get to play Santa into the wee hours of the morning doing last minute wrapping and assembly. I wasn’t woken up by excited children at the crack of dawn to see what Santa brought.

I feel sorrow.

Last night I did get to attend a beautiful Christmas service without being distracted by a child on my lap. Last night I got to eat out at my favorite nice restaurant, share a bottle of wine with my husband and have adult conversation and connection.

I feel joy.

I scroll through social media to see all the matching pajamas, the smiles in front of the tree surrounded by wrapping paper everywhere and pure Christmas joy. I Skype all of my chosen children to see what Santa brought them and to see them open the gifts we sent.

I feel sorrow.

The dogs play with their new toys and make a us laugh as they do every single day. I cook for the family Christmas Convoluted Christmaswe have this afternoon and for our own Christmas dinner tonight. And, I know tonight we will get to play games, have some more wine and have this Christmas to continue to figure out what our Christmases will look and feel like without children for the rest of our lives.

I feel joy, I feel sorrow, I feel it all.

I am struggling with how convoluted it all feels. I feel the freedom and less stress perhaps without having children at Christmas time. And yet, I feel so sad and maybe even a little empty without them. I can feel the miracles that are Christmas, including my three little ones looking down on me. And yet, I feel the ever upward clarity that I am okay.

I guess, I just feel it all. I am not sure what to do with it. I am not sure how to communicate it. And, I am not sure what it all means.

Our second Christmas without our should have been babies, and yet our second Christmas defining our family traditions and finding our ever upward; parts just us and parts childfull.

And, the permission to embrace it as it is, to practice my recovery more than ever today and to own it; sorrow, joy and all.


4 thoughts on “A Convoluted Christmas

  1. sarahchamb says:

    Great post. Though I don’t believe I have to feel the same way as others in order to empathize, most sections of this post echo my life at the moment. The cherished time with my husband, the wine, the sadness, other people’s children loving the presents we gave them, the protruding hollow spaces in our Christmas, and did I mention the wine??:-)

    This is our first Christmas without our “should have been children”, as you refer to them. Though my mindfulness/meditation practice has expanded my capacity to bear hug a wide range of emotions simultaneously, while letting go of the need to “do” anything about it, it is never ever easy. I abide with you, especially in the spirit of “convoluted”!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sarah, Thank you so much for reading and leaving this amazing comment! Do you mind sharing what mindfulness/meditation practice you are doing? I am loving the Headspace app and anything by Gabrielle Bernstein! I’m working on a self-care ebook to release soon and love gathering as many resources as possible. Also, the wine did help ;). Thank you again! Justine


      1. sarahchamb says:

        Hi Justine! New Years plowed me over with emotions and I just returned from a weekend trauma workshop that turned out to be traumatizing…..good grief, I know…..so now I’m hopefully ready to give you a clear response.

        I don’t do a specific practice, however I can tell you the teacher I learned everything from has studied and trained with Sarah Powers and her husband Ty. (www.sarahpowers.com) I did a weekend workshop with them in March of last year and they were absolutely wonderful in presenting practical yet powerful tools. Although I haven’t used them myself, Sarah does have at least one, if not more practice DVDs that my teacher highly recommends.

        So from my teacher I learned the very basic principle of self observation (of emotions, body and mind) with non judgment. One of the many things resulting from this (as you may have experienced) is the expanded ability to abide with our more painful and uncomfortable emotions. Another key principle I picked up is the non striving approach to self – meaning not making an effort to move towards, or away from, any emotion or other state. It’s a very internal “it is what it is” way of being, which to me feels like total self love, as opposed to manufacturing what we think we “should” be, which can really only exist of the periphery of ourselves anyway, and to me can function as a rejection of self.

        I learned this in a Yin yoga meditation class but, aside from a bit of meditation I mostly practice it off the mat. I’ve found it applies to any life situation and helps guide me through the tougher ones.


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