It’s Okay to Not Be Okay This Thanksgiving

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Hey there sweet friend,

Have you ever googled Thankful for infertility? I have. And all of the articles at the top of my search were written by women who had reached the other side. They were the ones no longer in the trenches and throes of infertility. The ones who have had their adoptions finalized. The ones who have given birth to healthy babies. The ones who have had their dreams fulfilled, no longer pouring every last penny into medicine and doctor appointments. And they were the ones no longer gasping for air from the deep heartache of a miscarriage or a failed adoption.

Given the fact they were living on the other side, I believe it was easier for them to look back and be thankful for all that infertility had taught them. They could see through the eyes of grace how it strengthened their marriage, renewed their faith, and brought them blessings in disguise. They could see how their journey through their miscarriage made them stronger and braver. They could see how everything that went wrong, helped make all things right. And they could see all of this because they were on the mountain top looking down.

But you– the one still fighting for your dream. The one whose heart is still painfully aching from a miscarriage. The one who just discovered another treatment cycle has failed. And the one who is hanging onto hope by a thread. I am writing this article for you. Because I want you to know that this Thanksgiving, as you carve the turkey, pass the stuffing and put way too much whip cream on your pumpkin pie, it’s okay if you are struggling to be thankful.

Sure, you can name one thing or even several things…your home, your job, your spouse, or even the food in which you are about to partake…but the one joy you thought or hoped you were going to be thankful for this Thanksgiving holiday, you can’t mention. And maybe it is because you have recently learned that the miracle that once filled your womb isn’t going to fill your arms. Or the plans you made in order to make this year different, have failed. And failed miserably. Or maybe it’s because the dreams you believed were coming true, have instead turned into a nightmare.

And my heart aches for you. Because I get it. I understand. I even understand the pressure you are under to still be joyful and thankful for all that still remains. And I understand the guilt you feel when you can’t and the shame you have when you aren’t, even though you know you should be. You know you live an abundant life, but it’s just so hard to see it right now. And so this guilt and this shame on top of all of this heartache? It just makes the stress of the holiday much more difficult to bear. And it makes you feel like a horrible person, am I right? But friend, as you venture into Thanksgiving this week, I want to tell you something from my heart to yours: It’s okay.

It’s okay if you are unable to fight back the tears as you gather around the table to give thanks.

It’s okay if you can’t see how your miscarriage could ever be woven into some master plan of good.

It’s okay to be sad…even outraged…that your life isn’t going according to plan.

It’s okay if you need to lock yourself in the bathroom and cry when the emotions become too overwhelming, the thoughts become too painful, and the heartache you have becomes too strong.

It’s okay to be angry and confused at the unfairness infertility brings.

It’s okay if you don’t sweep your emotions underneath the kitchen rug you are standing on while you peel the potatoes, but rather open up and tell your family how your womb aches. Your heart hurts. And the hope you have is fading.

And it’s okay to shake your fist to the heavens and tell God exactly how you feel. Not holding anything back.

It’s okay to question why your plans are not good enough or the timing isn’t right.

It’s okay to be mad that you have spent thousands of dollars and countless hours at the doctor’s office just to be given a chance to have what seems to come so naturally and easily to others.

And it’s okay to hurt, to cry, and to still feel disappointed even though others think you should have moved on by now.

It’s okay to tell your Aunt Judy with grace that it’s not really her place to ask when you are going to have children.

It’s okay if while grocery shopping for thanksgiving dinner you see a pregnant woman in the same aisle as you and you need to turn your head. Even move to another part of the store.  Or wipe away a tear.

It’s okay if you decline the invitation to hold your cousins baby or walk away from a conversation about motherhood.

It’s okay if you decide to cook a meal for just you and your spouse…forgoing the traditional family affair.

Friend, basically I want you to know it’s okay to not be okay this Thanksgiving.  

So give yourself the gift of grace.  Because you are not a horrible person.  You are a normal human being with normal emotions after experiencing loss and constant disappointment and heartache.   Even the most perfect person has occasional trouble seeing the joy through the pain.  So, sweet friend, don’t beat yourself up or kick yourself down.  Just do the best you can and try to remember through the holiday season that it won’t always be this hard, or this overwhelming, or this stressful.  Because just like the women in the articles wrote, night always turns to dawn.  Seasons always change.  And the valley you are in today might be the one you are looking down on tomorrow.  But until that time comes, just know that it’s okay to not always be okay even if it is Thanksgiving.

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About Author

Elisha lives in Southern Illinois with her husband of 9 years. Together they have two ornery cats and are foster parents to one ridiculously adorable four-year-old princess who looks like Goldilocks. She is also a Jesus follower, PCOS defeater, faith encourager, hope builder, type A organizer, and infertility warrior who is the author of the inspirational infertility blog, "Waiting for Baby Bird." Her mission in life is to encourage other women to draw near to the Lord in the midst of life's hardships and heartaches, not away. And as she does that, she believes in being brave and walking in faith that with God all things are possible (Luke 1:37).

  • Laurie Prim

    PERFECT!!!

    • I am so glad you enjoyed it Laurie 🙂 xo

  • Thankful for HIS grace! That we don’t have to be okay!!! xoxo

    • Amen! He loves us anyway and is always there to wrap His mercies around our hurting hearts. xo

  • LOVE this so much :).

    • Thank you so much Angie!

  • Elizabeth Brulc

    Thank you for writing this, Elisha! My husband and I were just saying we really don’t see much to be thankful for this year. I appreciate being told it’s ok to not being ok during the holidays. I know he’s struggling a lot while I’ve learned to just get through each day with God’s help.

    • I read a sign at Hobby Lobby that says there is always, always, always something to be thankful for. And this is true. But even still it doesn’t take away the pain, the hurt, and the heartache that comes with not being able to be thankful for the one thing you dream of, hope for, and wish more than anything to have in your arms. Hugs to you sugars! xo

  • Melissa Beavers

    Thankyou so much for writing this. I have read it through 4 times now. 💗 It was like every word and sentence was meant for me.

    • Thank you so much for reading…and reading four times 🙂 I am so sorry you are going through the pain and heartache of infertility but please know that sometimes, it’s okay to just not be okay.

  • Deja Marie Powell

    I too feel like this article was written just for me. Couldn’t have summed up my heart better. Thank you!

    • You are so welcome! I think this post resonates with a lot of us. We are not alone.

  • Deb Carmicheal

    This said so much to me. Holiday’s are very difficult for me, I married into a very big family. We are the only one’s w/o any children and I have been hurt by many hurtful words and the feeling of being left out.

    • Oh goodness girl! I am so sorry :/ My family is big too but thankfully through my blog, they have understood my feelings and heartbreak a little bit and we just don’t talk about it. And for me, that’s good. I talk about it on my blog, but not always in real life.

      • Deb Carmicheal

        I’m 54 yrs. old now and I have been able to talk about not having a baby or children better than I ever was able to. Maybe at this stage in my life, I’m able to help someone cope and understand that all their feeling is natural.

  • exlibris00

    THANK YOU. that is all.

    • You are soooo welcome!

  • Myisha Williams

    Thank you so much for this article. I feel like you were saying what I am feeling……..

    • you are so welcome! And I think this just shows that you are not alone and your thoughts and feelings, many others have too. Hugs!

  • Anna BerrieBlu

    This is the year that I’m thankful I didn’t have a baby with my (now ex) husband. Maybe things would have been different if I had, maybe infertility was just one more wedge in a marriage that was destined to fail anyway…but I’m glad that I don’t have to spend the holidays fighting over custody with him.

    • Custody battles would have been so heartbreaking… :/ I’m so glad that despite it all, you can still the beauty in the mess. Hugs!

  • Katie

    Thank you so much! Your words have brought so much comfort to me this evening. My husband and I have been married 9 years, and we just started navigating this awful infertility journey. I am angry and scared of what the future holds for us, but knowing I am not alone is helpful and comforting. Everything you said is exactly how I feel and have been feeling for the last few months. Thank you, I appreciate your willingness to share.

  • Kristin Reitsma

    Thank you so much, Elisha! I have read your article twice now during my “Thanksgiving break” with my family, and I am sure it will continue to bring me more comfort during those well intended moments. I am so thankful that I don’t have to be ok. And really, thank you so much for your blog. Whenever it gets really tough, your words are always right there to give me grace.

  • Brandy

    Tears are streaming down my face right now after reading this…it makes me feel so much better to know that i’m not the only one who has these feelings…and that it’s ok to have these feelings. This is just so perfect for me right now….thank you