I just finished watching the SnapFish commercial with the family trying to compile the best photos for their holiday cards and I. got. angry. I hate that commercial on many levels, but today it is because of what it reminds me.
Now that the holidays are here it is impossible to be reminded over and over and over again that our family looks very little like the families splashed across the TV as they celebrate the holidays or the abundance of holiday greeting cards that will soon fill our mailbox. I’m grateful to be remembered by our friends and I enjoy seeing how their children grow, but each year of their growth, both in age and number of family members, is just another hurtful reminder that it is just us and our fur children here. I’ve actually stopped sending holiday cards because you just don’t see people without children on the front of those damn things. I know it shouldn’t be about what they have and what we don’t, and truly in the beginning it wasn’t that hard to do every year, but something has changed for me the last two years. Sending a generic card seems to ignore what our family is made of and sending one of us with our dogs seems depressing. Who wants to be depressed by a holiday greeting card? I can only picture our card in the mix of all of the others and being the only ones without small children on the front. Our friends know about our difficulties to conceive, so I feel like sending them a picture with us and our dogs will only bring about sympathy and I don’t want that.
In an April Time magazine article, it gave statistics on the numbers of Americans living childfree. It states, “The birthrate in the U.S. is the lowest in recorded American history. From 2007 to 2011, the most recent year for which there’s data, the fertility rate declined 9%. A 2010 Pew Research report showed that childlessness has risen across all racial and ethnic groups, adding up to about 1 in 5 American women who end their childbearing years maternity-free, compared with 1 in 10 in the 1970s.” Even though I know we aren’t alone, it is tough not to feel that way during the holidays. Maybe I shouldn’t assume that we’ll be the only ones who send our friends holiday cards sans children, but this time of year makes the likelihood of us not being the only one impossible.
I haven’t always looked the holidays with a dreaded sense of feeling left out, but now that I do, it totally sucks. It begins with Halloween and ends with Christmas. Three full months of reminders.
How do you fight the “involuntary child free” holiday blues?