In a few weeks the holiday cards will begin arriving. First a trickle–one or two a day –and then something of a family pictures tsunami. Working with infertile individuals and couples, I know how painful this can be. Many get to a point where they cannot even open these greetings of the season. Too many cards hold surprises—a third child, people whose wedding seemed minutes ago now have two children and worst of all, a family photo with a mom way too visibly pregnant.
For me, the annual cascade of photos is a very different experience and one that brings great delight. For me the cards are not simply photos of children: they are photos of stories. As I admire the children, I remember the back stories: the miscarriages, still births, quandaries over egg donation and adoption, worries about surrogacy and puzzles over embryo donation. I remember the mother who survived a life threatening delivery and went on to welcome her second child through surrogacy and the dad who said he never wanted to adopt and then became the over—the—moon dad to three daughters from China.
The cards have many stories but they bring with them one message and that is surely my message for the holiday season: people “get to baby.” That phrase—“get to baby” or G2B—has become my watchword and one I share with all my clients. I’ve seen it again and again—people who want to be parents or to expand their families with a second or third child find a way to do so. The path that ultimately leads them to their child—or their next child—is often not their first or second choice but when the baby comes, compromise and disappointment and learning to accept “plan Z” no longer matter. Their child is here and while it sounds corny it seems to be true: the child they get is the child that was meant to be theirs.
And so as this holiday season arrives and the postal carrier brings envelopes that hold stories, I hope that those who are struggling to build or expand their families can greet their mail with hope, knowing that every family has it story and that one day—hopefully very soon–their own family story will clearly be one to celebrate.