The sermon that we had today at church really struck me as important for the infertile community as well as anyone else who is having a tough time with the holidays. I've seen many people, both infertile and not, saying that the holidays are a hard time this year, partially because of everyone else seeming happy and excited. The pastor spoke of how many people put on a happy mask while experiencing, in the words of Angela Lansbury, "rivers of pain inside."
Pastor Kathy pointed out that, while we tend to romanticize the manger and stable, the first Christmas came out of hardship and struggle. While those of us that have never been able to be pregnant can't really imagine it, Mary's journey by donkey when she was about to pop had to have hurt. Chances are they didn't get to stay in inns on the way; a blanket roll on the ground was a very real possibility. Mary didn't have a midwife to help her through the labor, and I'll bet the hay they got to sleep on poked all of them through the coverings they had. None of it was how Joseph, or even Mary, had imagined it would be, just like none of creating a family is how we thought it would be. But still, Joseph and Mary made time and space in their hearts for awe and wonder, just as we can in the midst of our own struggles.
This doesn't make Christmas feel more real for me, especially since I'm not sure why I feel separated and there's no definite link to other people being happy when I'm not. Still, I thought it was an important message and one worth sharing.