You are currently viewing Episode 47 – How to Stop Dreading the Holidays and Start Celebrating Them Again

Episode 47 – How to Stop Dreading the Holidays and Start Celebrating Them Again

The holidays coming up can fill your heart with dread when you don’t have your baby with you. But you don’t have o be afraid of big feelings, the things people say or triggers that are all around you this time of year. You can also learn how to incorporate your baby into the season instead of feeling like they are forgotten.

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Music provided by ZingDog / Pond5

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Welcome to the podcast. I am excited to talk to you today about the holidays because after a year like we’ve had, you know, we just wanna relax and enjoy what we can and make it the best we can. I think something I’m really grateful for right now is my in-laws just dropped off some really, really good oranges.

You know, those like, Straight up Christmas oranges that are just perfect. So good. And then also this year we decided to kind of go a little bit bigger on our lights on our house and we bought this big inflatable, um, Santa with this reindeer and got our trees all decorated and. I think it’s just those little things in 2020 that we just have to do, because why not?

You know? If there’s something that brings you a little bit of joy, let’s do it. And if you are really struggling this year, My heart goes out to you. I’m here for you. I wanted to give you a very special gift this year, and it’s a little bit different because my gift to you is a full 45 minute coaching session to help you with whatever you’re struggling with this holiday.

So if you are dreading something, Or you’re just really nervous about how you’re gonna feel on Christmas day or whatever holiday you celebrate. If it’s looming over you and you’re just feeling like you just miss your baby so much and you don’t know how you’re gonna handle it, I wanna help you. So I wanna give you that totally no strings attached.

Just spend a little time with me and I will help you create. The perfect plan for you to handle whatever’s coming up, even if it’s, you know, if there’s somebody in your life that you just know is gonna be at that Christmas party and you don’t think you’re gonna be able to handle them, or they’re gonna say something or, You’re gonna see lots of new babies or pregnant bellies, all of those things that we really worry about.

Let’s make a plan together so that you can handle that, and you are going to feel a huge weight off your shoulders. I put the link in the show notes, or you can go to my Instagram, Amy. Smooth Stones coaching, and I have a link there too for the free holiday coaching, and I’m only offering that for the next couple of weeks, and then I’m gonna take a Christmas break.

So if you want to do that, sign up, get your spot. You will not regret it. It’s just a beautiful thing to do for yourself, right? Give yourself a gift of helping your mental health. Hop down in the show notes. You just swipe up on the podcast and they should be there. There’s a link. You just click on it and sign up for that session and I hope to see you soon.

It’s gonna be so good. Okay, so I was looking back and I actually did another episode on the holidays. It was episode eight, so last year when I was just starting out, but I just re-listened to it and I think there’s so much good information. So, Go back to episode eight if you are really struggling this holiday.

Uh, what, what I wanna talk about today is just some of the. Issues that come up during the holidays, and then some ways that we can incorporate our baby into the holidays, because I think that’s a question that a lot of people have, and it can change over time, what you feel like doing or what you want to do and how you wanna do it.

And so we’re just gonna talk about that a little bit and it’s gonna be good. So let’s dive in. The first thing we need to understand about the holidays, and again, I. I’m gonna use some Christmas examples, but whatever holiday you celebrate, just insert it in there. All religions or non religions are welcome here.

The reason why this season is. Can feel so big and heavy when you’re grieving is because of that huge expectation we have for it to be bright and cheery and mery and sparkly, and we’re supposed to be happy, right? That’s what everyone says, you know, just look around and there’s the music, the sparkly lights.

We’re supposed to be happy when there’s that huge expectation of happiness. But you’re not feeling it. It just seems even that much worse that you’re, you’re not happy around this time of year. So I want you to just take a second and think about what you have coming up. What’s been really hard for you?

What are you kind of dreading? What are you excited about? What traditions do you have that you feel like. You’re continuing on, or what traditions are you feeling like you can’t do because you don’t have your baby with you, or because you just don’t feel like it this year? Really think about where you are right now, and I’m gonna tell you a couple more tips so that you can deal with whatever you’re struggling with.

The first one is we need to allow for our emotions this time of year. Because there’s that huge buildup and those huge expectations, it can be really, really tricky. Like I said, when we are feeling a little bit more negative emotions or we’re feeling a little bit more down, we do not like to feel sad. We don’t like to be grieving, and we especially don’t wanna be grieving during the holidays, but it’s okay.

To be sad. It’s okay to miss your baby. Sometimes around the holidays after baby loss, you even have a hard time allowing positive emotions, right? We feel like the happiness and the grief cannot go together, or if we are happy, somehow we’re forgetting that our baby isn’t here to enjoy it. And so it feels like.

Almost like you’re betraying your baby, but that’s just not true. We have both sides, right? We’re we’re afraid of these negative emotions. We don’t wanna be sad that we’re also sometimes just afraid to feel the positive emotions, and it can create a perfect storm of just not enjoying this time of year at all.

So the first thing I wanna tell you is it’s okay to allow whatever emotions are coming up. The way we do that is we let ourselves feel them. We don’t get into the Christmas cookies and we don’t try to avoid anything that might bring up emotion, right? We just let emotions be there. The way we do this is we name them.

If you can identify them, if you can feel a big emotion coming up, just take a second in your mind and name it and say, what? What am I even feeling? Or if you have a big emotion that you’re afraid that’s coming up, what are, what emotion are you afraid of feeling? And name it. Say, I am afraid of feeling sad.

I’m afraid of missing my baby. Right. And then go down into your body and. Feel that feeling. Let yourself feel it not in our head. Don’t try to think about it. Just feel it in your body. What is a vibration in your body? What? What part of your body is the feeling in? Is it in your chest? Is it in your throat?

Is your heart pounding? What is happening in your body? And then recognize that. Feelings. They’re not always pleasant, especially those negative ones, right, that we avoid, but they aren’t gonna kill you. You can handle negative emotions because look at you. You’ve already been through every parent’s nightmare having to say goodbye to one of their children, or maybe more than one, and you’ve survived it even though so many people think that that kind of grief.

Would just end everything. We know that that’s not true, so you’ve already proven to yourself that you can live through some pretty serious emotions. Just recognize that although these vibrations in our body and what happens can be uncomfortable and not fun, it’s also something that we can handle. We can.

Feel those emotions and we can handle them. And when you allow yourself to feel the emotions, they are gonna pass through so much quicker than when we try to shove them down or we try to avoid them, or we just build up so much dread about them. Just let them be there and I promise you they will float away and you will feel so much more in control.

’cause I think that’s something that people really struggle with, is they feel like they’re not gonna be able to control their emotions during this time of year. There’s too many triggers, there’s too much stuff going on that they’re not gonna be able to handle it. But you’re gonna feel so much more confident if you just say, you know what?

I can handle any emotion. I can feel all of my feelings because you’re a human and half the time you’re gonna have negative feelings and that’s okay. And especially during grief. It might be more than 50% right now, but I promise it’s gonna even out if you allow it to do that. Another thing that happens a lot is we end up doing a lot of things we don’t wanna do because we’re worried about what other people think or what other people are gonna feel.

We don’t wanna let people down. Whatever that looks like to you, it’s a little bit of people pleasing. I just say people pleasing in the sense that you are focusing on other people’s thoughts, other people’s feelings, and trying to make sure they feel good or they aren’t upset at you, or they don’t say something you don’t want to want them to.

Instead of focusing on how you want to feel and what’s important to you and taking care of yourself, and that always just leads to a bunch of resentment and you don’t need to feel resentful during. Christmas, right? You’ve already got your own stuff going on. You don’t need to add resentment on top of it.

If there’s something, and I bet we can all think of something that maybe we aren’t really sure we wanna do, but we feel like we should ’cause people are pressuring us or there’s expectations. I want you to make a list of your reasons. Of why you wanna do it, why you don’t wanna do it, and really just decide for yourself what’s most important and which reasons you like.

And wouldn’t it feel so much better this holiday season if you could trust that you could make decisions that you liked? That’s like a huge step when you can let go of. Worrying so much about what other people are gonna think, what other people are gonna do, what they’re gonna say, and you just start taking care of yourself and it, it actually, it seems like it would be selfish or that you don’t really care how other people feel, but I promise it’s the opposite.

It’s loving yourself enough to do what’s really important to you, and then loving other people enough to not fake it to not. Show up in a way that isn’t authentic and in integrity with yourself and just doing it so they aren’t upset. You don’t actually have control of how they feel. I know it seems like it, but you do have control of how you feel and what you choose to do and why you choose to do it.

Get really clear on your reasons and then. Reach out in love. Let the people know what you’re going to do. And that’s where I think coaching is so, so important because you can make those plans and make those decisions ahead of time on purpose instead of kind of. In the moment when you feel really outta control or pressured a certain way.

So having a coach or self-coaching is gonna be so, so important to help you be what I call calm and confident. So it’s kind of the opposite of that dread and that out of control feeling, which is really frantic. When we’re dreading the holidays, it’s like really frantic. If we go back to feeling it in your body, that energy, it’s like in your throat.

Your shoulders are tight, your lungs are tight. It’s not a good vibration, but calm, confident. It’s like the opposite. So when you have a plan and when you are very clear on what’s most important to you and you understand that you can love people and still say no, you are gonna feel so much better. That’s what I wanna do in those holiday coaching sessions, is get you a plan so you can feel calm and confident, right?

And it’s a complete transformation going from where you are now. Into learning how to allow emotions, how to stop people pleasing and really get clear on what’s important to you, and then stepping into that calm confidence. Even when you’re grieving, and even if you’re listening to me and you’re like, I can’t, I’m a mess right now.

Like 2020 is kicking my butt and grief is kicking my butt, and I just, I, I don’t even know where to start. It doesn’t even seem possible, but it is possible. I just want you to, what I call, wiggle a little thought. Just say maybe. Maybe it’s possible that I could go into this holiday season feeling calm and confident that I was gonna handle it, even if I’m sad some of the time, even if it doesn’t go the way I wish it would go.

But you’re gonna have that feeling and. That is so powerful in and of itself, just knowing that you can handle it. I wanna give you guys a couple of ideas so you can start thinking about what you want to do. I love incorporating my babies into the holidays, and as I made this list, I realized, wow, we really do a lot of things.

Something that we did. First is we had stockings for all our kids with their names embroidered on them. And when Lauren died, and as we added more babies and more angels to our family, each one of them got a stocking. And I love Lauren and River Stockings there. White and they’re sparkly and their name is in silver and they’re so pretty.

And I, I love that they have stockings. Another thing we did was to get ornaments for them. And I think people do this in all different ways. Um, we ordered some ornaments with their names on them, like engraved. I actually got them on clearance after Christmas, ’cause that’s, What I like to do is save a little bit of money, but they’re beautiful.

And we have a little, uh, butterfly for Lauren and a little train for River. And then we also found there was some charities. A lot of times at Christmas they’ll be different baby lost charities and they’ll. Have fundraisers or they’ll be selling ornaments. And we have done that every year. Um, we’ve done it with a couple different organizations, but you know, you, we’ve given a donation and then you get an ornament to put on the tree.

So we have a lot of those and we just keep putting them all up and that’s really fun. Another great idea is to donate what you would’ve spent on presents for your baby to. A favorite charity, whatever that is. It could be a baby loss one. That’s what I like to do. Um, you guys know my favorite baby loss charity is teeny Tears, so I like to donate to them, but really you could do any charity that is close to your heart.

Another great idea is to do an angel tree. So a lot of organizations will have little tickets with names and ages of children who are in need, and you can sponsor one and go shopping for them, and it can be really fun to pick someone who’s the same age and gender as your baby would be. Or you could just pick whatever that might be too tender or too close to your heart.

Lately I’ve liked to pick teenagers because the teenagers kind of get left behind. They are difficult and expensive, but, um, I’d like to get teenager ones if I can. And then there’s always random acts of kindness from the simplest. Acts of kindness, paying for people behind you or other things, or getting families and friends to do it with you.

It is really, really up to you what you choose to do and how to you incorporate your baby. Um, I had a couple of questions I saw on Instagram where people were wondering, do you include them as you sign your holiday cards? I think that’s totally up to you. Right. You gotta figure out what feels right to you, what you want to do.

I know, especially in the earlier years after we lost our babies, it was like almost a desperation to include them, to make sure people didn’t forget them, and that’s okay. As time has gone on, it’s a little less for me, so I just. I do it sometimes. Sometimes I don’t. A lot of times I just default to the Watson family ’cause that seems like an easy way to avoid putting everyone’s name.

But I do include my angels in our little holiday letter. I try to keep it short and sweet and kind of just say, you know, how old my kids are and what they’re up to. And so for Lauren and River, I would just include things that we’ve done in their honor, um, how old they would be, just little things. And I, I love doing that.

And honestly, it doesn’t matter what other people think, but a lot of people love it that I think that we include them. It’s just a beautiful thing to do. So whatever you want to do, remember, just whatever your reasons are. If you like them, go for it. And sometimes the best reason is just, I want to, right.

If you wanna go to the cemetery and go all out and go crazy and decorate it, go do that. If that makes you happy. If that’s not your thing, you don’t have to. I often don’t get up to decorate the cemetery because we don’t live nearby and it’s okay. Like I don’t have to feel bad. About not decorating the cemetery.

I don’t have to feel bad if I don’t include them. Wherever you are, I just want you to know that it’s okay. One last thing I want to tell you that I think will really change how you look at incorporating your babies into the holiday season is you have to ask yourself better questions. A lot of the time when we’re looking around during the holidays and we’re missing our baby, what we’re.

Noticing is all the things they’re missing now. When you give your brain a job, it is going to follow through with that job and. And do what you told it to, and we don’t really notice this happening. So you gotta pay attention or you have to have a coach to show you that you’re doing it. You’ll be noticing all the things they’re missing, what they’re not doing, what they should be doing.

Yeah. Just everything they’re missing and everything that you are missing without them there. You’re gonna notice all of that. But if you just make a really small shift over to give your brain the job of answering the question, how can I incorporate my baby into my holiday celebrations? How can I bring them closer?

What feels good to me to feel like they’re included? Then your brain is so awesome, it’s gonna go to work, answering that question, and then you’re gonna come up with ideas of things you can do to incorporate your baby into the season. And it’s not a magic bandaid. You’re still gonna miss ’em. You still might cry.

You still might have moments or days where you just wanna stay in bed, and that’s okay. Just try it. Ask your brain, how can I incorporate my baby? What traditions do I wanna include them in, and how can I do that? Get creative. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that people can adapt, people can change, and it’s, it’s really powerful.

When you do that, and then just be calm and be confident no matter what anybody else says or does. Even people in your family, if they might think it’s weird or they might not want to participate, that’s okay. You just do what feels right to you. You incorporate your baby and you be confident about it, and I promise you’re gonna have a beautiful holiday season even without all your babies.

So that’s what I’ve got for you today. Just remember, allow emotions, watch out for people pleasing, right? Just figure out your reasons and do what feels good to you, and then be calm and confident and. Get creative about how you wanna incorporate your baby into this season. I think it’s a beautiful thing to bring them with us.

But if you are feeling really overwhelmed with the emotions and you, you just don’t know how you’re gonna survive it this year, or if you just have one thing that you’re really struggling with and you’re really stuck on, Get in the show notes, click on the link, sign up for a free consult. It just tells you when I have openings on my schedule, you sign up real quick all on your own.

It’s super simple and we are gonna get you a plan so you can feel so much lighter and so much better this holiday season. So I’m sending you lots of love as we go into the next few weeks. I will talk to you next time.

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