How To Cope With Baby Loss at Christmas

TW: Baby loss, Miscarriage

Firstly, I hope the title of this blog hasn’t had you scrolling intensely in the hope of finding the part that offers a magic remedy to “fix” or “cure” bereaved parents at Christmas time. Because sadly, I wish I knew myself.

But what you will find is a snippet of what this time of year feels like for me, what can be triggering, what I’ll lean into and what I’ll step away from if I need to. I hope you will perhaps find some comfort, potentially a little validation if that’s what you need or maybe just enough time to have a cuppa and relax. 

So, as we get into it, I just want to reiterate something, maybe as a disclaimer? If that’s the right word to use? Anyway…. wherever you are in the world right now, whatever your journey has been so far, you may relate to some of what I talk about in the following paragraphs, you may not. 

You absolutely don’t have to agree with anything that I say or feel, and again, that is okay, Because the grief I am going to talk about is mine. Mine for me to move through however I see fit. 

There is no manual to navigating grief and certainly no right way to move through it. 

I’d really love you to hold on to that; if that’s the only thing you take from this post, let it be this. No one should pressure you to feel or act in any certain way when dealing with the loss of your baby. That is for you and only you to decide. 

The First Christmas After Loss

So last year was the first Christmas as a loss mum, and with our baby’s due date being November 3rd and very much moving into the Christmas period, I did what any other grieving mother would do?… 

Booked a holiday to go away for Christmas and all of January. **inserts laughing emoji**… But seriously, that’s what we did. 

I did put our tree up (it didn’t come down until mid-Feb) and somehow mustered the strength to participate in the carnage that is Elf on The Shelf. It was hard, but dare I say it provided me with a distraction. I can appreciate how hard this must be if you don’t have a child to keep you distracted over this period; Christmas is so “child-focused” it can be hard to get away from. 

I kept myself super busy and that works for me, I suppose that depends on the kind of person you are and how you function.  

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Noticing Triggers and Warning Signs

I thrive under pressure, so the busier I made myself, the more distracted I (thought) I was. I function like this all year round, maybe 70% of the time. But I’ve started to notice little triggers and warning signs when I’m pushing myself so much to drown out some noise in my head. 

I spent a lot of time last year forcing myself through therapy and putting self-care practices in place that would help me to feel lighter when I needed them most. I call them my survival pillars and without them I don’t think I’d function as well as I do ( the majority of the time). 

I can notice now when I haven’t leant into these enough and when the emotional funnel is starting to overflow. And I just basically need some time for me.  Honestly, I’d say that’s probably one of the most powerful things I’ve learned to do for myself is to stop and listen when I’m burning myself out and I know that the grief is creeping up on me

I won’t lie, I never actually want to stop and sit and face those feelings. Because if you’ve ever lost a baby, you’ll know they are the scariest, darkest feelings on earth. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that bottling them up doesn’t help. Certainly not for me, anyway. They spill out, they end up affecting everyone around me and making me feel even worse. 

Taking Time for Yourself

So at this time of year especially, I make sure I’m taking time for myself, to slow down, to journal, to exercise, read a book or take a cold shower. I incorporate all of the above into my weekly routines where I can. Because let’s face it, Christmas is full of triggers. 

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year”, but it’s that time of the year that revolves around children and I’ll tell you the one thing I am dreading doing this year?… 

Hanging our stockings. Just DREAD!!

Because he should have his own soft grey velvet stocking with his initial on it to match the rest of ours. Hanging up on the fireplace, we should have a baby that’s trying to pull the tree down and we should be baby-proofing everything because he’d be walking or near enough now. But we don’t and that just hits hard for me and I can’t seem to bring myself to do it yet. 

I’m at a point at the moment where I actually enjoy being around my friends baby’s. But it was an entirely different story last year. Hearing a baby cry sent raging anger through my body. I could not stand the noise. I guess my brain was just trying to keep my heart safe.

Socially, I didn’t engage in any events at all last Christmas, and depending on how you feel at the time, only you can make that choice for yourself. 

Advocate For Yourself

I think it’s really important that you find the power in your voice to advocate for yourself on this. 

Make your friends and family aware that you’ve been through a lot, and, usually, you’d love to be there, but you’re not feeling quite like you right now. You're putting your heart and your energy first and if that means closer to the time you decide you can’t face it that’s okay. If you show up and leave early that is also fine. 

Never put yourself in a situation that makes you feel triggered or anxious. Ultimately they should understand. So don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself.

That goes for engaging in conversations that make you feel uncomfortable at Christmas events, too.  Babies and future family plans always seem to be a go-to at Christmas parties, so don’t be afraid to end a conversation that feels invasive or that you just don’t want to have. 

Christmas is still my favourite time of the year and while I’m still working out ways to include our baby in Christmas celebrations and ways to celebrate his memory, I try to remind myself of each and every single blessing I have earth side with me at this special time of year. 

When the “griefy days” come, I open the door, let them in and sit with them for a little while. I move through the feelings, and then I figure out what I need to do for me to get back on track again. 

I wish you, wherever you are, a beautiful blessed Christmas.

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A Bit About Me

I’m Jade, I’m 33 and I’m an IVF mum to two beautiful babies. My first is a beautiful little girl called Layla-Rae, who is turning six very soon, and the second is a beautiful baby boy who we sadly lost in our second trimester last year to what’s known as a missed miscarriage. For anyone who isn’t entirely sure what that means, I didn’t either, until after it happened to me. 

It’s basically when a baby dies in the womb, but the mother doesn’t experience any symptoms such as bleeding, etc. 

I fell into creating content on social media almost accidentally, really. You see, I’m a bit of an oversharer (you’ll come to learn that about me). So I started sharing snippets of what we were going through when struggling to conceive in the hope that I’d connect with others with the same lived experiences because I didn’t know another soul at the time who was going through infertility. So I began posting content, meeting others online who had similar struggles, and like any good love story, the rest is history! 

I’m really comfortable talking about my fertility journey, I can find the humour in certain aspects of our treatment process and for me, that’s a massive coping mechanism. I’ll always look for the funny in anything it’s just the way I’m wired, I think. Searching for ways I can laugh at myself even among my struggles. 

Anytime I’m actually asked to speak or write on the topic of baby loss, I get overwhelmed and perhaps that’s why. Because I can’t retreat to a joke when things get too serious, I can’t hide behind a flippant comment and a smile. Baby loss is serious, it's uncomfortable, there’s no place for laughter, it’s just darker over here.

So naturally, when I was asked to put together this blog, I felt apprehensive, I wasn’t sure if this time of the year I’d be in a good enough space to honestly do you all any justice, if I’m completely honest. But then I quickly reminded myself that, sadly, there are millions of us around the world who are all too familiar with the very real and very heavy magnitude of grief that comes with losing a baby. 

I then remembered that none of us wanted to find ourselves here either. 

So I am honoured that the team at Your Baby Club selected me to come and talk to you about something that means so very much to so many of you and that I’ve been trusted to open this safe space for you.

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