Today, millions of people will head to bars or parties to celebrate with friends and ring in the new year. They’ll drink champagne and make lots of toasts and completely forget the words to Auld Lang Syne. For years, I was one of those people, bickering with my husband over who would be the designated driver and attending my sister-in-law’s annual party. Now, I’m the lady sitting at home alone, mourning, on the anniversary of my miscarriage.
Last year on New Year’s Eve, I had surgery to remove an ectopic pregnancy. My year ended with the termination of a pregnancy that I had been desperately hoping for. It was a heart-wrenching experience that still brings tears to my eyes, even though a full year has passed.
As we organized our holiday schedule and planned out get-togethers and family events, I eyed New Year’s Eve with trepidation. I was supposed to have a baby in 2012. Instead, I found out that I’ll never get the chance to carry a healthy pregnancy again. That just didn’t seem like something I wanted to celebrate.
For better or worse, December 31st has become a symbol of all that loss and grief. My infertility journey was more than two and a half years in the making, but this single day stands out. It’s a day I can pinpoint, a day when it feels appropriate to grieve and reflect.
Perhaps it’s just part of a bizarre coping mechanism, but I’ve always attached special significance to days of mourning. My grandfather passed away on St. Patrick’s Day when I was in fifth grade. Every year after, I’ve skipped the kegs and eggs in favor of a somber, reflective day honoring the family that strong man created. This year, my grandmother passed away on November 2nd. I have no doubt that the date will continue to be etched in my mind, a day to miss a guiding figure in my life.
Having a single day to grieve and mourn seems to make it easier for me to move on. I’ll have a day to miss loved ones, to grieve losses. Then, the rest of the year doesn’t need to be continuously tainted with sadness. Losing my pregnancy, and losing all chance of another one, feels like a death. It seems only right to give this loss its own commemorative day. And that day is New Year’s Eve, the day when everything seemed to go horribly wrong.
Tonight, my husband and my daughter will still head out to a family party. They’ll socialize and toast sparkling grape juice. I’ll stay home, ignoring the television and the ball drop and even the clock. I won’t be celebrating much, but I will be attempting to say goodbye to a very painful chapter in my life. I’ll be closing out, not just a year, but a dream of having another child that I’ve carried with me since the birth of my daughter.
Tomorrow the new year will begin. Like everyone else, I’ll have resolutions and plans for what lies ahead of me. I’ll probably hit the gym and throw out the left-over holiday sweets. I might make a few career goals. I’ll move forward.
But I’m not going to say goodbye to 2012 with a huge party. I’m not going to celebrate the year’s end. I’m going to quietly curl up in a ball and use this evening to embrace the grief I try to ignore the rest of the year. And I’m going to hope that this sadness can be contained by just a single day, a single anniversary, instead of seeping into 2013.