Growing up, I always loved the holidays; Halloween, in particular, was my favorite. Not just because we did it Queens style, filling up king-sized pillowcases to the max with obscene amounts of candy, but because it offered the opportunity to take a break from reality, try on the personality that went with the costume, and meet up with neighborhood friends. Even well into my 20’s I continued to host a costume party, which, my friends agreed, was always one of the best days of the year.
Then I got married, and looked forward to dressing up my own baby in one of the adorable costumes I’d see advertised everywhere. Or maybe we’d theme the entire family. Would our baby be a lobster, and my husband and I the chefs? Or what about a bee in a flower garden? How about a Star Wars theme – Yoda, Leah and Luke Skywalker?
Year one passed, and no baby. Year two passed, with many tears shed over a miscarriage at eleven weeks, just around Halloween; my baby’s due date that year was Mother’s Day. Could the timing have been more cruel? I still think about the baby I lost on that day every year.
Some fertility procedures followed, and year three came and went – no pregnancies, no miscarriages, no baby. I didn’t know what to think. Would I ever get pregnant? Was I possibly infertile? How could I fail at this when everything else I had worked for in my life had proven successful?
Along with the passing years, Halloweens came and went, but without the parties. While I still enjoyed seeing all of the children in their costumes, it brought a tinge of despair to my soul. I’ll admit it – I envied what other people had. With so many children in this world, where was mine? Halloween began to make me more sad than happy, with the focus on what I was missing out on, instead of what I was gaining.
I then decided that if my fate were to be childless in life, I would count my blessings. I was blessed to have children in my life, and committed to fully cherish and nurture the relationships I had with my four, incredibly special nieces and nephews. I saw them as much as I could, planned special days with each (now adults, they still remember those fondly!), took them to their school events (a favorite was their school’s “Halloween Hoot”) and relished in the mutual feelings of love and adoration.
Then, into year four of my marriage, it happened. Pregnant again. Much more worry this time around. A fall while walking my sister’s dog, followed by some spotting. That innate fear once again gripped me – would my baby survive? But he did, and just a few days after Halloween, I had my beautiful little pumpkin in my arms.
Waiting all those years for what came so easily to others was tough; the holidays made it even harder. What had once brought me joy, had begun to bring me sadness. While the pain of pregnancy loss and trying to conceive is never far from my heart, changing my outlook helped to ease my burden. One of the things I loved most about Halloween as a child was breaking out of myself and sampling a different personality for a day. This Halloween, don’t be afraid to try on the proverbial new hat, and you might just gain a whole new perspective.