My top 10 tips to manage the holiday season after the loss of your baby
If you’re struggling with the holiday season after a miscarriage, an abortion or living childless, it’s totally normal. How can you be asked to get into the “holiday cheer” when your heart is bleeding the loss of your baby? Society doesn’t give women the space to grieve. We are asked to “carry on” as if nothing had happened, because it make others feel uncomfortable and powerless to witness the death of a child.
No wonder you are feeling reluctant to attend gatherings, not wanting to face pregnant relatives or friends with infants and young kids! It feels like everywhere you look, you are being reminded of what you are missing most: “There should have been another smiling face in the family photo or another stocking hanging by the fireplace…”
To make Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s Eve, or any other holiday gatherings easier to navigate while you are grieving the loss of your child, here are my top 10 recommendations to shield yourself from further suffering!
I’m there for you, mamma!
Let me know how you go.
1) Listen to yourself & know your limits
If you are invited to a party that you know will cause your more stress than not, it’s ok to say: “Thanks, but no thanks.”
Trust your instinct, if you don’t feel well or don’t feel social after your loss, simply bail out.
But consider who else you can hang out with, friend(s) who will help take your mind off things for a little while.
Who can you call to have a wine, a chat or a cry?
2) Have an escape route
If you must attend the event, work out where there could be a quiet spot you can find refuge if you need some time to yourself.
Or have a reason ready for leaving early before you reach the overwhelm point.
Stay tuned to how you are feeling through the event.
And give yourself a pat on the back for doing so!
Is that something you can do?
3) Build your strength
A little self-care will go a long way.
Go as silly or as simple as you wish here. You can book a holiday or make yourself a cup of tea! In any case neither of these will make you feel any better, because when you are feeling numb you can’t actually enjoy any of it, right?
So the key here is going to be the intention and the feeling you associate with it. Let me explain…
What if: “Love is all we need🎶”, as the song goes? I find it so liberating to realise I can infuse every single little daily act with absolute love, kindness and compassion.
For example when I cook my family their meals I consciously pour love into the dishes, and when I scoop biscuits into my puppy’s bowl I do just the same!
But here is the magic tip, are you ready for it?
Pour some love in what you do for yourself too! Next time you make a cup of tea for yourself, add love to it.
Next time you have a shower, feel love running onto your body with each water drops 💦.
Next time you brush your teeth feel love for you are performing such a sweet self care act for yourself.
Simple, isn’t it?
Read more on how to master this practice in my blog post 4-simple-steps-to-meditate/
So next time you take a nice deep breath, I’d like to invite you to close your eyes and travel to a peaceful place inside of you, feeling love for trillions of little cells that are working for you inside your body, keeping you well, being grateful as they are doing such an extraordinary job for you every single day..
4) Have words ready
Jessica Zucker, PhD said it best: “If you find yourself in situations with people who aren’t familiar with your story and inquiries get batted around like, “How many children do you have?”, “Don’t you want another?”, “Oh wow, that’s a big age gap. You didn’t want your kids closer together?!”, feel free to answer honestly.
If you want to talk about your loss, do.
If you want to honour your journey, your baby, and/or simply want to help change the cultural tide by speaking openly about death at a (holiday) party, go for it. If not, don’t.
Questions like these are so common and yet so deeply intimate, they deserve honest answers.
It’s okay if our stories make people uncomfortable. They’re our truths and there ain’t no shame in that.
Say what you want and know that speaking your truth helps the rest of us do the same!”
5) Chose your battles
We all have one of them in our family, lol, the relative who simply doesn’t get it. The ignorant, the tactless, or the simply opinionated twat that throws thoughtless comments at you.
There you have a choice, you can try to educate the person (it may be a lost battle) or you just agree to disagree, nod and leave it at that.
People are doing the best they can with what they know; however infuriating or hurtful the comments may appear to you, these relatives may not be insensitive or ill-intended; they simply have not been through what you are going through.
So it’s best to change the subject sometimes, send them blessings, and move on.
6) Share your feelings
Remember that losing a pregnancy, no matter how early in the pregnancy that was, is still a loss. So it is ok to mourn.
Grieving is a natural and healthy process that helps us comes to term with the event.
If your close circle of family and friends have never experienced a miscarriage, an abortion or a stillbirth, they may not really understand what you are going through.
So opening up to them about how you feel, or what you wish they would do / stop doing should make them be more supportive.
I remember asking a few close friends if I could show them pictures of my stillborn daughter. Even though it was hard to ask, because the pictures were confronting, it gave me a powerful opportunity to acknowledge that my daughter Amélie – in this instance – was a real person, a baby who actually DID exist!
So what are you feeling? Can you open up to someone about that?
7) Seek comfort where you can
Consider connecting in a local face-to-face or online support group (you can join our māmmaste facebook.com/groups/mammaste or our monthly mamma circles: https://www.facebook.com/mammasteofficial/events), and other bereaved parents and professionals who really get you.
These groups are ideal because you can talk freely, there is no judgement.
If you are spiritual, you can attend a service or arrange a prayer for your child.
If you are worried that you might be clinically depressed, please reach out for a counsellor or mental health professional for advice.
It’s ok to need help. It’s ok to seek help.
8) Help others
Now that’s an interesting one. Because we often find soothing to our own hurt by assisting others who are in need.
Is there a charity effort you can contribute to, such as holiday gifts collection for less fortunate children or for a women’s shelter? Can you serve meals to the homeless? What about volunteering at your local nursing home?
Do you have a talent you can gift to someone?
For example I volunteer to give aromaTouch hand massage to the elderly, because I see the value in the power of touch and connection. It brings me closer to my mum who spent the last two years of her life in a nursing home 25,000km away from where I lived (she passed away from Alzheimer and I wish I could have been with her to ease her solitude).
Can you connect with what make your soul sing and go do it?
9) Enjoy the goodness
Life is all about balance. Where there is shadows there is also light.
This one is super important to build yourself back up: enjoy the happy moments when they arise!
Don’t worry if you actually have a good time! There is no shame or guilt in experiencing life’s pleasures.
If a negative feeling comes up, simply acknowledging it, taking a deep breath, and letting it pass will help you return to the pleasurable sensation and make it last longer.
And while you are in a happy place, you can share some of that with your baby, sending him/her love and your smile..
Shall you try that?
10) Carry an anchor
Well, I don’t mean ‘literally’! What I’m referring to is a trigger that can easily and quickly take you back to a happy place. You know, like a sound or a smell can take you back to a childhood memory?
What could that happy anchor be for you? A cute picture of your bestie, your lover, your kids, your pets? A childhood song? A piece of chocolate or nanna’s special pie? The smell of the rainforest?
For me, it’s kittens. There is no way I cannot melt into “awwwws” when I look at kitty cats (I bread Bengal kittens).
Now because I cannot carry my cats around with me, I have the perfect portable substitute for instantaneous emotional happiness: I use essential oils.
Natural plant based aromatic chemistry is scientifically proven to affect the limbic system, the centre of the brain where our emotions are stored. That is why the smell of a cake baking in the oven can take you straight down memory lane! So I use mood enhancing essential oils and in particular citrus oils to alter my mood in a blink of an eye.
For more of my aromatherapy tips and soothing recipes, go here: www.nathaliebellelarant.com.au.
What’s your favourite essential oil? Leave a comment 🙂
That’s it for now my lovely. I hope you can takeaway a few of these to see you through the holiday season, and beyond!
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❤ You can connect with me 1:1 to help deal with your grief and heal your womb, contact me now or book your quantum healing of the womb below.