Tips on how to cope with the holidays after miscarriage
Friday, December 23, 2022
If you’re struggling with the holiday season after a recent miscarriage, you’re not alone. Times of celebration often magnify feelings of grief and trauma, leaving many people who’ve lost a baby with little holiday cheer, particularly if the loss was recent.
You might feel reluctant to attend gatherings, not wanting to face pregnant relatives or friends with new babies. In addition, you might feel like everywhere you look, you see another reminder that there should be another pregnant belly, face in the family photo.
Here are 7 tips you may find helpful as you face this difficult time of year.
You are not alone
Know that what you are feeling is normal. Whether you are happy despite your loss, depressed because of your loss, or somewhere in between, all of these feelings you have are normal. We all handle miscarriage differently. A lot of people are not open about miscarriage & infertility so while you are at your holiday parties you may be among someone that is struggling to get pregnant or is experiencing loss in silence. Just know you are not alone, you can reach out to the people you trust, you can be comforted that you are not the odd one out, you can know that where you are at now is a good place & that you are not alone in loving that baby of yours.
Don’t Feel Bad If You Enjoy Yourself
Remember that just as it’s OK to not be in the holiday spirit, it is also OK to smile and actually have fun. It doesn’t mean that you’re not mindful of the baby you lost. Don’t feel guilty for enjoying activities that take your mind off things. Know that it’s not a betrayal to your baby and doesn’t mean you’ve forgotten if you do decide to escape your pain for a few hours of celebration. In fact, celebrating with your loved ones while keeping your baby in your heart can be a loving way to honor what was lost.
Allow for flexibility in your plans
Let your friends and extended families know that you need flexibility and understanding over this holiday season. Bereaved parents may need to cancel or change plans at the last minute or may not feel up to making plans at all. Let others know in advance that this may happen – manage your own and their expectations.
Some couples who have suffered a loss may choose to not even acknowledge holiday season the first year. They may choose to do something special on the day to honour their baby instead, which can help to solidify some special memories as a family unit. Be kind to yourself and, most importantly, do what you need.
Be choosy about what events you will go to
During holidays season surrounding yourself with those that you love & are comfortable with is key. If you know that there is a holiday party that is not going to be good for your emotions going into it, than you are allowed to say no. Of course you will want to go to your close families holiday parties, but if there is a holiday party that makes you feel uncomfortable after your miscarriage you need to take care of yourself & your heart so you can heal from your miscarriage.
Reflect and remember
Holiday season can be used as time for reflection, love and remembrance for the baby they are grieving for. Gathering together with family and close friends who have shared the loss of your baby, can be a great source of comfort to you and your partner.
Do online shopping
If shopping for presents is especially painful or triggering, consider buying gifts online instead. Shopping centres can trigger sensory overload at the best of times, let alone in December when you may already feel more vulnerable or fragile than usual. Know that it is OK to protect yourself from some experiences if you need to, rather than believing you have to push through and do things purely because that is how you have done them in the past.
Do a Good Deed
Many people find that doing a good deed during the holiday season brings some comfort. Some like to participate in charity efforts to buy holiday gifts for children in less fortunate families. Others like to volunteer at nursing homes. Doing something to help others in your own time of need gives you agency in easing someone else’s pain, which in turn can help ease yours.