First Holiday Without Our Baby
Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years. All big holidays, full of noise, family, happiness, and get togethers. How do we fit in when we want none of that?
We decided this year we were skipping the holidays all together. That’s right-- Thanksgiving at home, not going to multiple houses stuffing our faces. That’s right-- Christmas; no waking up to the smell of a fresh tree in our living room that we decorated together, not sharing excitement with family and gifts, not catching up with members we haven’t seen since last Christmas. It didn’t make sense this year. We were supposed to have Bostyn here to see her firsts, get her to meet extended family, juggle a nap in between busy days with lots of stops. We weren’t full of “holiday cheer” happiness and the want to be around those that don’t know our pain of them getting to experience what we don’t get to. We didn’t decorate a thing, we didn’t get a tree, we didn’t feel right. Our home remained the same as it had for the past almost 11 months, sad, empty, cold and quiet.
Some family and friends may not understand how two can completely sit out, not even sit on the sidelines. Not attend, not want an invite, not want to partake. But they also haven’t felt the pain of losing their child and getting robbed of those experiences. They got the firsts with their baby that was supposed to be here.
Were we supposed to be able to brave our faces so you can hug us, frown at us and tell us you’re thinking of us when we want to crumble? No. We have to do what we knew was best for us; what we know our baby would want us to do-- Taking care of ourselves and putting our feelings and emotions first is what we had to do.
Christmas was depressing, I tried hard to stay off social media that was being flooded with smiles, family photos, matching outfits and painful announcements. I tried to not think about what our day would be like. I tried not to think about what she would be into, if she would be overstimulated and grumpy or roll with the flow. But my day was filled constantly thinking, racing trying to in my mind create what should have been.
When your baby dies you don’t just lose the screaming just born newborn. You lose your experience of Thanksgiving day, Christmas morning, Santa photos, decorating a tree, first firsts and more firsts. No one can fix that, no one can make it better. The holidays do not make sense without her here. She was supposed to make it our best holidays yet. “What do you want for Christmas.” Nothing, absolutely nothing. Material items have become as close to meaningless to me as meaningless can get, which is so hard for gift givers to wrap, the only thing I want is my daughter back. Santa will never be able to leave that present under our future trees.
New Years has been harder than expected, before we tried to look at the day like a new year with new possibilities with a fresh year to carry our girl with us. But it hurt, more than ever. To realize it was our “last first” of Bostyn's first year. Besides her birthday, New Years was the only thing we hadn’t experienced in the year without her. Now what? What does 2020 hold for us? So many experiences, memories to be made, things will be done and she still will not be here. But our second Easter, second annual camping trip, second thanksgiving, second Christmas and she still won’t be here. It is so painful to think.
Remember to do what feels best and makes sense for you during the holidays, whether it’s your first, 5th or 10th holidays without your baby. Traditions may completely change, some family gatherings you may not want to attend again. Everything is affected, take care of yourself be gentle.
What were your holidays like?
What are new traditions you have created?
What things did you once do that you do not do anymore?