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.