Christmas is an especially hard time of the year because we had so many ideas about how we would celebrate, and family traditions we wanted to begin. Now we are left to try and create traditions that allow us to grieve, honor and remember Emma, and parent her even though she is not here with us.
As we decide on some new family traditions I will share them here. In part to share our story and raise awareness about life after stillbirth, but also for the amazing bereaved moms who read this blog in hopes that our traditions may help you this Christmas season.
Our first tradition is having a stocking for Emma. We ordered one last night from Pottery Barn Kids. They are still having a 20% off sale on stockings, and free shipping which ends today.
If everything had gone as it should have, we would have been filling her stocking with teething or Taggie toys, or more realistically empty water bottles and paper towel tubes, which is probably what she would have really been interested in at almost 6 months old.
Instead, Britt and I are each writing a letter to Emma which we will put into her stocking. I think it will be a healing and positive way for us to connect with her at Christmas, although honestly I think that writing letters to our daughter who has died, instead of spoiling her with toys and gifts for a holiday she doesn't even understand yet is a crock of you know what, okay I'll say it…shit.
Here is the stocking we ordered:
Our second tradition will be hanging up Emma's special ornaments. We are not putting up a regular Christmas tree this year for a few reasons. First, we do not have the energy or desire to mess with a tree, and all of the lights, ornaments, and joy that are supposed to come with it. Secondly, and more practical, we are traveling for almost two weeks over the holidays, and because we always get a real tree it would be a dried up waste of money.
We do, however, have a really little pre-lit tree where I will be hanging Emma's special ornaments. As I shared in a previous post, I am participating in a bereaved parents ornament exchange this Christmas. I will have that ornament, as well as a few others to put on the tree. Today I received a very special ornament from a dear friend.
This friend and I shared pregnancy together for a few months, and she just gave birth to beautiful twins a week and a half ago. All things pregnancy and baby related have been really hard for me to handle since Emma's death, and my friend has been amazing about giving me space when I need it (as in, if this was a normal situation I would be the world's worst friend). I am so thankful that she does not take my grief personally, and that I am able to be open with her and tell her how I am feeling. It takes a special friend to be able to wait on the opposite shore of my grief for me to come back to her.
If anyone here reading has other traditions to honor their baby at Christmas I would love to hear them.
Wishing you peace friends,