Hope & Healing | Navigating the Holiday Season After a Loss
The holidays can be especially difficult following the loss of a baby as you had probably imagined what Christmas would look like this year, whether you were still going to be pregnant or whether you were going to experience Christmas through the eyes of your child. Thoughts of what presents to buy your baby, what your baby's first Christmas outfit was going to look like, mailing out Christmas cards filled your mind. But now all that has changed, and you aren't sure how to navigate the holiday season without your baby in your arms.
Right now, you may feel that you won't ever enjoy the holidays again. And while things are certainly not going to feel the same as they were, most people can find meaning in the holiday again given enough time. Just remember it takes energy to grieve, and it takes energy to hide grief. So, oftentimes the holiday season will exhaust you even more than in the past. Be gentle with yourself and don't feel guilty if you need extra time to rest.
Here are some ideas on how to handle the upcoming season:
Some families send out Christmas cards each year. If you have sent out cards in the past and decide not to send them this year, that's ok! But, if you do wish to send out cards, you can consider including your baby in some way. You may include your baby's name on the card. Perhaps include an ultrasound picture of your baby or place a special object or symbol in your family picture. For example, someone in your family photo might hold a teddy bear which can symbolize your baby. Alternatively, you may seal the card's envelope with a stamp or a sticker that bears a symbol acknowledging your baby. A butterfly sticker or an angel stamp, for instance.
Have a Plan...or Two
Try to have a Plan A and a Plan B for gatherings. Grief often changes how we feel