Grief can feel that much closer to the surface during this time of year. All the happy togetherness can make the hole in your heart seem even bigger. Today I am giving you 3 simple tips that will help you manage your grief during the holidays.
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Hey, welcome to episode eight. I am. I’m really excited to be talking to you guys about the holidays this week. It’s a magical time of year, and it can also be a really hard time of year. So that’s our topic for the day. But first we’re gonna start with a story that was sent in by Catherine about her baby Claire.
And she says, Jovi was 18 months old and I was pregnant with a girl. With her best friend, just like my sister, two years older. My perfect little plan for my family was my reality. At 17 weeks, I felt an unusual pressure one night, like a balloon bulging, no pain, just unusual at the er. I remember not being very nervous after all, I wasn’t in any pain.
I dilated four centimeters without knowing I had an incompetent cervix. A what? I had never even heard of this. My doc performed three emergency cerclages, stitched the cervix over the next two weeks during my hospital stay, I got the progesterone shots, blood pressure, belly shots, and I was pretty optimistic and planned on bedrest for the next four months.
I knew infection was the biggest risk since I was so dilated, but felt confident I had enough faith and hope for a miracle. It happened in the night when I felt my temperature rising. I was devastated, completely crushed, and didn’t know if I had enough faith for this. I had never prayed for hours, but I knew I needed divine peace that I couldn’t find on my own.
A peace indescribable flooded over me, and I knew I wasn’t alone in that hospital room after she was born, I was in very intense pain from the infection, and my heart felt physically broken. I could hardly breathe. I felt so weak from loss of blood and intense pain. I struggled feeling like my body was broken and that I’d failed her.
She was healthy and well. I wasn’t. I have felt peace over the years and witnessed so many miracles from this experience. I am grateful for Jesus Christ, who understands even when I don’t, and for the power of God on earth to bless and heal and bind families for eternity. I feel fortunate. I knew why I delivered early so I could have more babies with preventative cerclages.
I don’t know why women suffer from infertility and infant loss, but I do know God lives and loves us and knows us uniquely. We named her Claire Hope because hope is what I held onto wanting her here, and I realized that even though she isn’t here on earth with our family, we can still hold onto the hope that we will see her again.
Thank you so much, Catherine, and thank you for sharing your testimony and your faith that helped you through this time and for sharing cute little Claire with us. All right, let’s jump into our topic for the day. Now, the holidays are coming up. I know that over the years for me, it’s been. Really hard sometimes and other times not as bad.
So wherever you are in your grief, however you’re feeling this year, we’re just gonna talk about it and hopefully everything that we discuss is gonna help you wherever you are at. Um, I remember especially the first Christmas after Lauren passed away and I was also pregnant again. That was really hard Wishing.
That she was there thinking that it would’ve been her first Christmas. And as the years have gone on, it has been a mix of how I feel and I just never know. So let’s talk about holidays and grief. A lot of times when we have these family gatherings and all the things in the stores and all the commercials in the movies, it feels.
Like we miss our loved ones that are gone even more. There are just so many reminders. There are chairs that should be filled at our dinner table. There are dreams of what your child would want for Christmas and what would they be doing, and what would their little pajamas look like and what their face look like on Christmas morning.
What. Would they be in the little concerts and the festivals and all of those things? Like what grade would they be in? What song would they be singing? What outfit would they be wearing? Sometimes we hear people complaining about how busy they are and how many things they have to get to and all of that, and it can be really frustrating because.
Maybe you wish you were busier, you wish you had more kids with you, you wish you had more things to get to, right? Even all the images of baby Jesus can be just difficult to see, especially if you’re not quite sure where you are in your faith, in your relationship with Jesus Christ and all of that. It can just be.
Really confusing. Everything is so bright and happy and it just seems like you should be too, right? That’s what everything is telling us. You should have this perfectly decorated house and all this fun and smiles and Christmas cards and family pictures, and. It can just feel really empty when you’re missing your baby.
It can also be even worse if maybe your loss was around this time of year or the birthday, the due date. All of it, um, can really put a damper on this season. Another thing that can be really difficult is as a mom, there’s a lot of pressure on us to make everything perfect, make everything happy. Get all the things done.
And when you’re grieving and you’re trying to meet those expectations, that can be really hard. And then we can always add to that the expectations that other people put on us and the different people we have to deal with during the holidays. And we’re gonna talk a little bit about that next week, so don’t forget to check out that episode.
Yeah. We just have this idea that we should be happy and. We also think if we’re not happy, if we’re not handling it well, especially maybe if you’re a little bit farther into your grief and it’s been a while and you think I should be able to be happy during this time. What’s wrong with me? And we make it mean something about our healing and whether or not.
We’re actually working through our grief. If we’re really struggling during the holidays, maybe we think it’s always gonna be like this. Like, we’re never gonna figure this out. We’re never gonna be able to just enjoy the holidays. I’ve got three things that I wanna talk about that are gonna help you as you’re working through your grief in the holidays, and just maybe a little different spin on how to look at it.
I hope that all of these, or even just one of them, is gonna help you. So the first thing is to remember, you don’t have to do anything. Notice what you’re doing, what you’ve signed up for, what you’ve committed to, and decide if you like your reasons. Is what you’re doing in alignment with your values? Are these reasons in alignment with your values or are you trying to control other people’s emotions because you actually can’t control other people’s emotions?
And this looks like saying yes to having Thanksgiving at your house when you’re not managing very well, but it’s your turn and you’ve always done it, or, Your in-laws are gonna be upset with you if you change the plans. You need to have your own back. If you choose to do something, own it. Don’t blame the holidays or the school or your family.
That just creates resentment, which doesn’t feel good. Remember, you don’t have to attend every concert. Your kids don’t even have to. Giving yourself back the power over even the smallest decisions and then letting go of the guilt around it is so freeing. It’s okay to take care of you first and just let the rest slide.
A good example of this is neighbor gifts where I live, neighbor gifts are a pretty big deal. It’s pretty traditional that you would make stuff for. Your friends and the people that live around you. And I remember one year just deciding, I’m not gonna do it. I can’t do it. I’m not in a mental space to do it.
And I had to learn how to be okay with that because it would really stress me out trying to think of something and get it all ready and get it all delivered and nobody was ever home when you dropped it off. And I just decided, no, I’m not gonna do it. And. I don’t really think that I’m gonna hurt anybody’s feelings.
They’re probably not keeping track of who gave them gifts. I know that when people would give me gifts, I would have to work through that guilt of like, I don’t have anything to give you back, but that was worth it to save my sanity and then, Decide what you do want to do. If you wanna include your baby, do you wanna do something special?
What feels right to you? What do you love doing that maybe you haven’t done for a while, that you have let slide that used to be really great, like decorating cookies or going caroling. Decide what you want to do and what you don’t wanna do, and then like your reasons. Have your own back. The second tip I have is you can have many emotions at once.
You can be happy and excited about spoiling your living kids and sad you can’t do the same for your angel. You can be annoyed about moving the elf on the shelf around and still find joy in your kids’ faces when they see it. You can be overwhelmed getting everything prepared, but still be so excited to celebrate the holidays.
You can be sad and be committed to doing something anyways and you can cry at any given moment. I am giving you permission right now. You cannot actually have conflicting emotions. Conflicting emotions is just a thought. It’s just a belief that we have made up that there are conflicting emotions. But what if there aren’t any conflicting emotions?
You don’t need to be all or nothing in your emotions. You don’t have to be a hundred percent. All in happy, blissful. It’s okay to feel whatever you feel, and isn’t it wonderful that our human brains can do so many things at once? What if you chose to celebrate that this season that you have so many facets to you and you have so many sides and so many things going on, and that’s okay.
And it’s even amazing. Like it is amazing that you can show up and do what you need to do and you can also be missing your baby. That is a hundred percent incredible. And look at you. You’re doing it. The last thing I want to give to you is allow your grief, but watch out for suffering. So grief is missing your child.
Grief is sadness. Grief may be filling that hole in your heart a bit larger this time of year. Grief is the ache when you see an empty chair at the table and fewer presence under the tree. Grief is part of the holidays for many, many people. And the reason this is, is like I said before, there are just so many reminders and there’s so much talk about family and togetherness and happiness, and so it just comes to mind more and that’s okay, but suffering is getting caught up in what you think it should be.
And you start noticing all the ways your life has gone wrong. Okay, so you think it should be My baby’s first Christmas. I should be buying girly things for my only daughter who died. I shouldn’t be able to travel. I was supposed to have a little baby right now. Right. I think all of us have been there where we.
Thought we were gonna have a newborn and then we don’t. Or we wouldn’t be possible to do what we’re doing. If our baby had lived, we think I shouldn’t be sad, or my other kids shouldn’t be sad, or I should be better at handling the holidays by now, suffering adds another layer to the grief and it’s just never necessary.
Grief is a natural response to loss, but suffering is what we add to it with our thoughts. So I wanna review these tips for you. Number one is you don’t have to do anything. Own your choices. Don’t worry about what other people are gonna think ’cause it’s none of your business. It’s one of my favorite quotes.
What other people think is none of your business. So you just let it go about any judgments and just have your own back, make your choices and like your reasons. The second one is it’s okay to have many emotions at the same time. Let yourself feel what you’re feeling. It’s totally okay. And number three is, Allow the grief, but watch out for the suffering.
Don’t layer something harder on top of already missing your baby at this time of year. You can do this. You can have whatever kind of experience you want this holiday season, I promise you that you have the power within you to handle whatever comes in these next few weeks. But if you’re struggling and you don’t know if you can do it alone, let me help you sign up for a free 30 minute session and I will put a link in the show notes, or you can contact me anytime on Instagram or through email or on my website.
If you have something you’re really struggling with and you don’t feel like you’re gonna be able to handle it, let me be there for you and show you that you can. So I hope you guys have a happy holiday as we’re heading into Thanksgiving season. It’s a time to be grateful, and I think it’s a beautiful time of year if we let it be.
Like I said, You can be grateful and you can miss your baby, but try to notice those things around you that you do have that do bring you joy and that are good in your life, and I hope that you have friends or family that are there to support you. If you feel like you don’t, just know that I am here. I send you all my love, and I support you all the time, and I think about you every day.
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