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To the One Who Loves the Girl with the Empty Arms

{December 23, 2016}

It’s the holiday season. For most, it’s a time filled with joy and celebration. But for some, 1 in 8 to be exact, there’s an exquisite pain and loneliness that surfaces during the holidays. My hope is to share with you what many of us would like to say so you can empathize more, have more patience, and hug the girl with empty arms a little tighter this holiday season.

As Christmas approaches and stories of Santa Claus are told … as nieces or nephews … or classroom students are writing letters, sitting on laps, and proclaiming what he might bring, your sister, your friend, your daughter, that girl you love with empty arms is hoping that maybe, just maybe he can bring her a baby. In reality she knows he can’t because he isn’t real. But, what she sees all day on TV or walking through the mall for a split second tells her otherwise. And, that flicker of hope, the hope that wishes a baby could be found under the tree, means the light is still on. That she still dreams and knows that wishes do come true. So, when you see her wrapping presents, or thoughtfully picking out gifts for a loved one, know that she’s selfless and brave. That while she knows the thing she wants most isn’t going to make it’s way to her tree, she’s loving you, your kids, your neighbors through her pain.

While you’re planning your outfit and what dish to bring for your next holiday party, your friend with empty arms is planning her responses to some of the more painful questions she gets at social gatherings. Do you have kids? How long have you been married? When will you guys start trying? While you’re excited for a fun night out with a babysitter holding down the fort at home, the girl with empty arms is wondering how long she has to stay at the party. How soon can she sneak away to get home in comfy pajamas where it’s safe and comfortable. Where she knows how to deal with the quiet. These parties with fancy invitations, yummy drinks, and pretty outfits take a lot of effort for the girl who wants nothing more than to need a babysitter. The girl who wishes she too had pictures on her phone to show when getting those painfully common, but well-meaning get-to-know-you questions. So if you’re close enough to know she has empty arms, be patient with her. Don’t try to help her feel lucky that she doesn’t have to find a sitter or that she doesn’t have to stress about a sick baby at home. Be the best wingman in the history of holiday parties and help her navigate awkward conversations with well-meaning party guests.

To the one who loves the girl with empty arms most (you know who you are). In all likelihood, you’re feeling the pain of a quiet home and a Christmas tree with ornaments that don’t get moved by tiny hands. You too wish that you had a Christmas card to send out with a babe with a toothy grin. This time of year isn’t just hard for the woman you love. It’s hard for you, too. It’s hard because you wish more than anything you could fix it for her. She wishes you could, too. You wish that a jolly guy could come down your chimney with a sweet baby. She does, too. You may wish that you both could forget how bad it hurts. She does, too. But, that’s part of the beauty in it all. Through all this hurt, you find meaning. You find reason to celebrate. Eventually, you find greater love and fulfillment together despite the disappointment month after month, year after year. The road has been paved with difficulties, but you’re better together because of it. So, this holiday season hold her extra close. Cry with her. Tell her it’ll be okay (and mean it) because it will. Tell her 2017 is your year, because it can be. And, when the moments get tough (and they will), know that someday your holidays will be sweeter, more special because you’ll remember how you wished, hoped for, and waited for your miracle.

#Iam1in8
#FSTivfmom
#FertilitySpecialistsofTexas

brie-signature-copy

Hi! I’m a proud IVF mom of two amazing boys, thanks to the expert care at Fertility Specialists of Texas. I know, first hand, how lonely infertility can be, which is why I write personal entries for the FST blog  — it’s my way of helping break through the isolation. To let you know you’re not alone. And, neither am I. If you ever want to chat with someone who’s had empty arms, who knows the heartbreak of this journey, I’m here. And, I’d love to connect: fstivfmom@gmail.com.

Brie Dance

FST Patient & Guest Blogger