A not so happy Christmas

Christmas this year is looming over me like a dark cloud. With each week that passes I feel more and more suffocated, almost trapped. I feel like I want to get out, to escape. I have a deep yearning to hide away from the rest of the world and only reappear once all the festivities are over. Watching others celebrate and anticipate the holidays with such eagerness breaks my heart. It makes me feel physically ill. For me there is no celebration, no joy, just another very stark reminder of what is missing in my life.

This Christmas we were supposed to be travelling back to Dublin for the first time with our 8-month-old son. It was supposed to be the most joyous of occasions introducing him to everyone for the first time. I had imagined how happy it would be celebrating our first Christmas with him. Dressing him up like a little elf and pretending Santa was coming even though he would be much too young to have any idea. I was excited about going back to Europe for 6 weeks. We had planned to visit friends in Scandinavia and in France. For the first time in years we would have time to enjoy with friends and family. It was going to be perfect.  This is just what you do when you are pregnant…you imagine and you plan. You plan every little detail of what your new life will look like. You romanticise about this new life as you teeter on the edge of something so new and exciting. No one ever imagines what plan B will look like.

For us plan B is staying at home in Perth for Christmas. It is retreating to the sanctuary of the home we so lovingly prepared for Benjamin’s arrival. It is a place where we feel calm and we feel safe. It is a place where we feel close to Benjamin. The thought of taking that same trip back to Ireland without him feels torturous and cruel. I know that this disappoints our families who want to wrap us up and protect us at a time when we are at our most vulnerable. But the expectation is just too much. I need time and space to get through this “first” in my own way. I might wake up on Christmas morning and feel great. I might be humming Christmas songs and skipping down the road, eager to celebrate. But it is more likely that I will wake with a heavy heart, eager instead for the day to be over.

The run up to Christmas has been hard, much more so than I had expected. It started a few weeks ago when I heard my first Christmas song…All I want for Christmas. I was driving along in the car and it just hit me out of left field. Before I knew it I had tears streaming down my face. Before losing Benjamin I had never really listened to the words of songs but now no matter how much I wanted to ignore them, those words kept ringing in my ears. The only thing in the whole world that I wanted so desperately but yet could never have, my son.

Things haven’t improved as the weeks have passed. I can barely even do the shopping now. Every shopping centre and supermarket has Christmas songs blasting on repeat. Pregnant women and children seem to have multiplied at this time of year. Everyone seems to be happy but me.  Check out tellers intently enquire as to my Christmas planning and how well progressed I am. It takes everything in me not to say, “I don’t care about Christmas and turkeys and presents.   My baby is dead. There is nothing to celebrate”.  I almost had to run out of our local shopping centre the other day. It all felt so overwhelming, it overpowered me. My eyes welled with tears as I pushed past the happy shoppers to the exit. Once outside I felt like I could breath again…and cry.

Writing this makes me feel like the Christmas Grinch. At times I try to “stay positive” but it just feels impossible right now. I hope in the Christmases to come we will once again have happiness in our home but for now Christmas represents everything that I don’t have. Hope and joy feel elusive. All I have are shattered dreams and a broken heart. For me Christmas this year is not merry, it is not happy, it just is.

A not so happy Christmas 2Copy 1

8 thoughts on “A not so happy Christmas

  1. Thank you Benjamin’s Mummy. You write so beautifully your feelings & emotions & Love for Benjamin. Christmas, actually I find any holiday period , is very diffficult! It’s just another reminder of our lives without our babies. Last year was our first Christmas that Ciara had died, yes, it’s so hard… stay close to each other, feelings are feelings, they will pass & you will be proud of Benjamin for moving by you through those days… I found the day itself ok, however by 7pm I was counting the hours to bed time , for it all to be over… big hugs Benjamin’s Mummy..
    love Ciara’s Mummy xxxx

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    1. Thanks Ciara’s Mummy x My hubby is amazing so looking forward to at least having some time to spend with him. I hope that there is more happiness in your home this Christmas even though Ciara is not there xx

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  2. Christmas is so hard. I’m not sure how I got through Christmas last year just weeks after we lost Evalyn. It seemed like a holiday that everyone was celebrating was just a reminder after reminder of our loss. I remember dragging myself to watch our son’s first nativity only to sit crying in the back row listening to them sing songs about a baby being born!

    This will be our second Christmas without Evalyn and although it feels a bit easier to breathe, the sadness that she is not here with us remains. Maybe it always will? But missing her is part of loving her. We find ways to include her; her bauble on the tree, her candle on the table as we eat dinner. . . .

    You will find a way to get through the day. You WILL. Because that’s what we do – we get through each day with the strength and love that our babies have given to us.

    I hope the day is gentle on you. Sending you love.

    Lyndsey
    X

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  3. To Benjamin’s mummy,I have had the exact same feelings for you for 2 Christmas’s after I lost my baby,I was 37 at the time and my age was always against me. We were scheduled to begin fertility treatment in February 2106 but low and behold a week before my appointment I found out I was pregnant with my now 14 month old baby boy and I thank God every day for you. Nothing anybody says can help you through this but I hope and pray you have a happy ending like I did. All my love xxx

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  4. This rings so true to me 😦 the first time I heard a Christmas carol playing at a store after the loss of my son, I ran back to my husband crying because it just hit me like a dagger to the heart.. I don’t have my baby to celebrate Christmas with. By this Christmas, my son Harrison would have been just over 7 weeks old. I already had his Christmas outfit picked out while I was pregnant. My family still want to celebrate and I would never take that away from them.. I don’t want to be their grinch. So I will put on a brave face.. but all I really want is to shut the bedroom door, crawl into bed, hug his teddy bear and cry, cry, cry until this painful day is over.

    Merry Christmas Benjamin. And to his mummy, may you find some form of comfort in knowing your angel baby is looking down on you and proud that you are trying your very best to cope. That’s all we can do x

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