Christmas is just one week away. For some of you, it is one in a never-ending string of "firsts" this year. First hour without your baby. First day. First week. First summer. First fall. First Thanksgiving. First Christmas. Everything is raw this year, including this holiday.
For others of you, it's more familiar territory. You've done Christmas without your baby at least once. It "should" be easier this year. But while the raw pain has scabbed over, the dull ache is still there, and sometimes the scab is bumped or even ripped off and it's like no time has passed at all. And suddenly Christmas is, again, a day and a season to get through so we can move on to regular life with fewer triggers for the grief.
There are many websites out there with excellent advice on getting through the holidays. Allow me to share a few thoughts as well, as I approach my fifth Christmas since beginning the journey of pregnancy loss, of ways to make this Christmas special.
Adjust your expectations. Maybe all you can do this year is get through it. Survive. That's okay. But maybe you can do a few things. If not the tree, a string of lights. If not the Christmas Eve service, playing Christmas instrumental music in your home. If not the outside decorations, a single candle. You don't have to figure out your new normal yet. Just do what you can, when you can.
Do something in honor of your baby. Make an ornament. Buy a stocking. Donate to the Angel Tree or Toys for Tots, something for a child the age your baby would have been this year. Or donate to a ministry that is reaching out to other hurting parents. Let your baby's life inspire you, whether in creating something beautiful, or blessing the life of another child or another parent who has lost a child.
Talk about your baby. If you can't do it with family or friends, find a place where you can. A support group. An online forum. In the comments below. In a journal or on a blog. With your spouse. With God. You're allowed to talk about your baby.
Feel. Don't be afraid of your emotions. The best way through grief sometimes is to realize what you are feelings and to ride that wave all the way. Tears have a purpose in our healing. What's more, they are valuable to God.
Reflect on the cross. It may seem strange at Christmas, but the baby in the manger would mean nothing without the cross of Calvary and the empty grave. Victory over death. If the image of a baby threatens your emotions and your heart, focus on the cross instead, and the gifts of peace and life that Jesus came to bring.
I pray that this Christmas would be a special time for you, to reflect on your baby's life and the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. Have a blessed Christmas.
What has helped you get through Christmas?
Have you ever wondered if your baby would have lived, if only your faith was stronger? Or has anyone else ever suggested that to you? I wrote about that concept this month in my Glory and Strength column.
Suffering and the Hall of Faith
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
Children are meaning-makers. Just listen to any preschool child chatter away – half of their conversation will be filled with “why.” Why is grass green? Why do I have to eat my dinner? Why do fish swim? They are trying to make sense of their world, and they start by asking, “Why?”
We joke about this being a trait of childhood, but as adults, we do the same thing. We want to make sense of our world – especially when something happens that doesn’t make sense. When illness, or loss, or hardship strikes, we want to know why it happened, and why it happened to us. Did I do something to cause it? Am I being punished? Could this have been prevented? Why did it happen to me, when I was following the “rules,” and not to that other person who wasn’t?
And the kicker – did I not have enough faith for God to come through for me?
Read the rest at Glory and Strength's "Words of Strength" column.
Naomi's Circle News
Here you will find articles intended to help you in your journey. Some will be reviews of websites and books. Some will be devotionals, some general articles, and some will be guest bloggers. Feel free to comment and let us know if there is something you would like to see addressed here.
Week 1: Devotional
Week 2: General article about loss
Week 3: Testimony/guest blogger
Week 4: Website/book Review