The evils of Christmas (shopping)

Earlier on this year, I played with the idea of taking our immediate family on a mini-break  to do some Christmas shopping together in Bath. Bath is one of those quintessential British towns with beautiful period buildings and plenty of quirky, middle-class shops and attractions. It’s the type of place you go to and think, Why do I live in the grey, murky Midlands when places like this exist in the country?? I had visions of a quaint cottage with a roaring fire, and us soaking up a bit of culture during the day, and then putting our feet up and soaking up some good food and wine in the evenings. 

It was the first holiday of its kind in our family – it had the potential for us to return having gouged each others eyeballs out, but we have all returned, bodily organs intact, and with even the most skeptical of us up for a 2014 encore. It was just great to be away from blighty and the monotony of everyday life. 

What I didn’t bank on, was the letter that dropped onto my doorstep a few days prior to this, informing us that our appointment with our consultant had been put back a month. We would have had less than a month to go (not that I was counting or anything) to have some understanding of what is going wrong. When you’ve been trying to conceive for over a year, it finally feels like a light at the end of a very long, undignified tunnel.

Needless to say, the subsequent few days were spent ruminating and draining myself of energy with my false efforts to smile and laugh and joke, when all I wanted to do was curl up in bed and cry.

Shopping has got to be one of my favourite pastimes and is usually a guaranteed way of cheering me up (providing it’s in the right place, and that I have the right number of zeros at the end of my account balance). The trip met those criteria (as well as having the added benefits of stalls selling mulled wine, hot apple cider, and roasted nuts) so why did I feel like I was on the brink of an emotional outburst? 

The kids’ stuff. Everywhere.

There are times when I absolutely hate being a woman. I hate being at the mercy of hormones – a few chemicals being chucked out into your bloodstream that can make you assertive and confident one moment, and then turn you into a hysterical wreck the next. Life must be so much simpler being a bloke.

Everywhere I turned, there were cute little booties, Christmas jumpers and teddies.. just all that stuff that you’re wired to respond to as a woman. And my “mothers” (the in-law and my surrogate mum) cooing over the merchandise saying, “Ohhhh, isn’t that so gorgeous. Oh that would be perfect for a little boy. We just don’t have anybody we can buy things like this for” HINT HINT. 

By the end of the day, I was plaiting my legs, trying desperately to ignore the messages being sent from my bladder to my brain telling me I had a further 100ml capacity before I would spontaneously void, just because going to the toilet would involve walking through the childrens’ department in BOTH of the main department stores.

I always count myself lucky that my day job is too hectic and busy for me to really fixate on the fertility problems – there are barely enough hours in the day to do the mandatory “sleep, eat, shower, work”. But times like these, when I am caught off my guard, it’s easy to feel how devastating it is to other couples, and how it can really consume every part of your life.

For now, I’m holding onto the hope that I’ll be buying a pair of these at Bath Christmas Market 2014…

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