how to survive holidays after miscarriage infant loss

How to Survive the Holidays After a Miscarriage or Infant Loss

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Holidays are usually looked at as a fun and joyous time of year, but if you’ve experienced a loss of a baby it can be hard to be happy as everyone seems to be moving on around you. The emptiness that fills our hearts from losing our babies is painful. The hurt can even feel heightened around festive times of year. Here is how to survive the holidays after a miscarriage or infant loss.

I know the pain of loss very well. I’m a mother to eight children. Four in Heaven and four here on Earth. Before I ever had a child I was raising I had lost two babies from two different pregnancy losses. The vast emptiness grew with each passing holiday. Though my heart ached more and more, I was still able to feel God’s peace through it all.

Heartache Through the Holidays

The biggest problem parents of miscarriage or infant loss face is the deep undeniable heartache that is felt. It’s hard to think about how things ‘should’ be…

  • I should be holding my precious baby
  • Everyone should be oohing and ahhing over my newborn child.
  • Just think, I should probably be having to barricade the Christmas tree to keep my little one from pulling all the ornaments off
  • There should be another stocking hung up or baby’s first Christmas ornaments, etc.

The “should” list can go on and on.

If someone has never joined ‘the club’ they may not comprehend the pain we feel or realize we have a running list of ‘shoulds’ scrolling through our minds. Maybe they even think we should have moved on by now. –Cringe, I know. If those words have ever been spoken to you, I’m sorry.

Why Can the Holidays Hurt So Bad?

It’s simply not simple enough to put our heart to rest during the holidays. From the moment we see that plus sign, our minds are filled with all the memories to be made. All the firsts and so on. For one reason or another those moments were stolen from us before they were given the chance to be played out.

We still go on with the actions of each holiday though. The thought of not being with others can almost hurt more than being with them and pretending to be happy.

I’m reminded of the quote:

“There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in. It is so uninteresting. Yet I want the others to be about me. I dread the moments when the house is empty. If only they would talk to one another and not to me.”

— C.S. Lewis

How to Survive the Holidays as a Loss-Parent

Here’s how I survived the holidays after a miscarriage or infant loss. Sure, most-definitely, I’ve had moments of utter sadness but I was still able to look back and smile at the good and happy memories made during those lonesome seasons of heartache. Be Intentional– This may be hard to do, especially when your world feels hazy. I encourage you to put your phone down, turn off the TV, and be in the moment with what’s going on around you. (i.e. dinner with a friend, or family, go for a walk, or even just the basics of taking a shower, getting dressed, and put a little make-up on, etc).

It’s amazing what a walk can do, even when it’s chilly outside… breathing in that fresh air and taking in the sights around you helps you feel close to God- the creator of the universe- and gives you an opportunity to cast your cares and trust Him through this season.

If you can’t go for a walk, try going for a drive to look at Christmas lights.

Get Creative

I don’t know about you, but I get antsy if I’m not able to express myself creatively. Sometimes we have so much emotion built up inside of us, that we need an avenue to let it out.

  • Even if you’re just not feeling it, go ahead and decorate for the holidays. Put one action in front of the other and before you know it, your space will be filled with delight.
  • Get emersed in your kitchen and decorate cookies.
  • Stay up late after everyone is in bed and try watercolor, doodling, or Bible Journaling.
  • Maybe even make an ornament that represents your baby in Heaven.

Spend Time with God

During the holiday season it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle, the mundane of everyday life, and then add in grief and things can spiral quickly… we know we ‘should’ be spending time with God, after all, that is part of what the holidays are about. {the Birth of Jesus}. Our relationship requires us to ‘spend time with God’, but how? When do we fit it in?

Prayer.

It’s probably the most basic and simplest form of relationship building with our creator. You can do it anytime, anywhere. Sometimes I can get bogged down with what to pray for that I become anxious and my mind freezes up. I’ve been using this prayer journal as a means to guide and organize my thoughts and prayers. It truly has been the biggest help.

Reading.

Opening up God’s word and seeing what these timeless scriptures have to say. Might I suggest the obvious, Jesus’ birth… or Job, 1 Samuel, and Lamentations as places to read during this season. If you need a little more guidance you may want to pick up a Bible Study or advent devotional to guide you.

Worship Music.

Find some songs that will take you to that deep worship. Songs that will empty your mind of all that is bad and fill it with all that is good. Songs that speak straight to your soul. Anything by JJ Heller has been an instant favorite of mine lately, but …

  • When I was carrying my daughter deemed, “incompatible with life,” I clung to nearly every song that talked of Mary and baby Jesus. My anthem for the 2010 holiday season was Breath of Heaven by Amy Grant.

“The song is beautiful and could easily be the anthem over my pregnancy with Mary Alice. In this one song, you can completely imagine what this young mother must have been going through, and it brought me so close to her even though we were born thousands of years apart. We became kindred spirits, and I looked up to her. If she could handle being Jesus’ mother, knowing what she knew, I could hang on a little longer and be my daughter’s mother. I looked to her story often to remind me to trust and lean on God even though I did not understand.”

Joy In Suffering

GRACE.

There’s a quote that has always rung loudly in my ears, yet I still have to remind myself of it. “Expectations ruin relationships.”

  • It can be easy to set expectations of what we ‘should’ be doing. Especially during the holidays. We can wind up stressed and full of anxiety if we don’t get everything checked off our lists of parties or traditions.
  • Definitely try to do the things that normally make you happy, but don’t expect to say yes to every event on the list. It’s okay to say no and allow yourself grace to be okay with that. This can easily be a season where less is more.

These are a few ways on how to survive the holidays after a miscarriage or infant loss. I hope you’re able to apply some of these ideas to your life and that despite all the pain of loss, you’re able to still look back years from now on this season of life and smile about the joy you’ve felt.


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I’d love to hear from you!

~Rosemary Pope

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How to Survive the Holidays After a Miscarriage or Infant Loss

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