Christmas can be a difficult time of year for lots of people. If you are going through a complicated pregnancy, or have lost a baby, the expectation to be merry and grateful can be overwhelming at a time when you are feeling neither of these things. Families cannot and do not need to pretend that everything is OK – because for them, it isn’t.
Below is some advice from Sophie, one of the Tommy's midwives, on how to navigate the festive season after losing a baby.
1.) Reflect and remember
Christmas can be used as time for reflection, love and remembrance for the baby they are grieving for.
Gathering together with family and close friends who have shared the loss of your baby, can be a great source of comfort to you and your partner.
2.) Take some time away for you and your partner
Some couples prefer to go away for Christmas, whether that’s to a relative’s home or to somewhere completely new over Christmas. This can act as a much-needed escape from home, a change of scenery and as space to take a meaningful pause.
3.) Involve your baby
Some couples I have cared for have been able to include their little one in the festive celebrations by decorating a separate little Christmas tree with white lights and topped with a little star or angel to represent their baby. Having a visible symbol like this, or a special tree bauble, allows some women to feel that their baby is included and a part of their families Christmas traditions, which can be hugely comforting.
"It’s the including Leo aspect that really helps soften the pain. It is, and never will be a cure. It isn’t us ‘making lemonade with the lemons’. It is simply finding a way to parent our baby, who isn’t with us anymore." Jess, founder of The Legacy of Leo.
4.) Don’t feel pressured to celebrate
Some couples who have suffered a loss may choose to not even acknowledge Christmas the first year. They may choose to do something special on the day to honour their baby instead, which can help to solidify some special memories as a family unit.
We hope you find Sophie’s advice helpful and comforting this festive season. Be kind to yourself and, most importantly, do what you need and want to do this Christmas.
Remember, you can contact our midwives if you need support this year. They are here Monday-Friday 9-5pm and are trained in bereavement support. It’s free to call them on 0800 0147 800, or you can send an email to [email protected].