If you read Baby Dust and
fell in love with Stella, the leader of the miscarriage group, she now
has her own book of how she and her husband met. No sadness here, just a
roller coaster romance between two out-of-the-box characters.
There's no doubt, any holiday can be a nightmare after a miscarriage.
First there's the family, who look at you sympathetically and say stupid
things while they cluck over your sister-in-law's new baby. Then there's
the hype--you should be happy and joyful when you are really miserable.
Then there's your sorrow. You wish, so desperately, that it could have
Holidays are one of the first things you dream about. Bundled up babies
presented to grandparents. Easter egg hunts. Little crayoned cards. And
now you've lost it all. These occasions may hit you like a brick and drag
out all the sorrow you thought you had put behind you. Being pregnant
again may not even help.
Sometimes you can change things up. Go skiing this year instead of
spending Christmas with family. Plan a quiet day on the beach while all
the other mothers (although remember you are one too) get their Mother's
Day dinners out. Volunteer at a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving and feel
better about your life.
Other times you have to bear it the best you can. If you must spend a
holiday around other pregnant people or new babies, busy yourself with
preparations or sequester yourself with a non-threatening and
understanding relative. Don't pretend this is easy or put on faces for
other people. Just get through it. Minimize the time with a difficult part
of the family by overbooking yourself with other friends or more distant
Best of all, make your baby a part of your holidays. At Christmas, I
always search the "Angel Trees" at our church and choose
children with our baby's name to buy gifts for. Many shopping malls have
these trees through the Salvation Army. I have a special ornament that we
hang on the tree with Casey's name. And, in Casey's memory box, there is a
"Baby's First Christmas" ornament that I bought especially for
him. I wanted him to have it.
Our most difficult time is actually Easter. Casey died a few days after
Easter, and Emily was born two days after the following Easter. We have
many rituals to commemorate these events, including planting flowers and
taking pictures in my memorial garden. I think the most important thing
about the holidays is to be ready for them. It will be hard.
This is going to be a tough day. You may be facing a roomful of children, or
coworkers who will tell you conflicting and sometimes thoughtless things, or a
bunch of people who have no clue that anything has happened. All of these
situations are difficult. You will feel weepy and overwhelmed. You might hope
you can bury yourself in work, only to find yourself distracted and annoyed by
how the world is moving on even though your life has shattered. Nothing anyone
says will be the right thing. They will either ignore the whole event, making
you upset. Or they will pry for details, making you upset. Or they will say
silly things, such as "It was for the best," which will make you
upset. Just be prepared for this.
Feel free to say, "I'm not quite ready to talk about it yet." Try
to avoid hoping that someone will notice your distress and ask you about it.
They aren't going to be comfortable talking about it, no matter what. Most
people don't want to upset you, and will tiptoe around the whole thing to
avoid any sort of emotional outburst. Remember that you need to find the right
time and place to surround yourself with those who understand (and this is
only those who have been there themselves.) If you really aren't ready to go
back to work, then take a few more days off. Just do the best you can. It's
all anyone can really ask.
Don't feel obligated to go to baby showers. Don't bother with
excuses, or to explain yourself. Just send a lovely note with a gift
certificate to the mall, or a generic store that sells baby items as well, or
an online baby store, and say, "Wish I could have made it. Best
wishes." Will some people be upset? If it is your best friend, or your
sister-in-law, maybe. But that's okay. One of the two of you were going to get
bent out of shape with this situation, so let it be the one who is about to
have a joyful moment and will forget all about it in a few weeks. You will
know you are through much of the healing phase if you get an invitation in the
mail and actually look forward to going. This will not likely be until you are
well into a new pregnancy or already have a healthy baby. That's okay.
Don't feel slighted when you aren't invited. Remember there is sort
of a "Damned if I do, and damned if I don't" situation for the
person throwing the shower. If she invites you, you might be upset about being
expected to go. If she doesn't invite you, she risks offending you even though
all she wanted was to avoid upsetting you with reminders. When throwing a
shower, it is usually best to go ahead and invite women with recent losses,
and to include a little handwritten note saying something like, "We'd
love to see you there, but even if you can't make it, we will miss you and
understand." Of course, party planners who are clueless are just going to
do one thing or the other, and you will just have to forgive them for not
knowing what to do.