Still Standing

How To Honour Yourself During the Holidays

My first pregnancy loss happened on December 26, 2011. Though it has been six years, the memory of the days that followed are so fresh in my mind.

I remember leaving the hospital and assuring my friend who had called that yes, we would still be hosting our annual New Year’s Eve party. That call truly made me believe that I should “get over” my loss quickly.

I honestly thought that when I left the hospital I would be leaving my heart break with it. I believed that the physical wounds would heal quickly, leaving no trace of my loss; or so I had convinced myself.

I went home and prepped for the party because that’s what I thought I should do. I didn’t cry. I didn’t allow myself to think about what had happened. Nobody called to ask how I was feeling. So I just… kept going.

I remember when New Year’s Eve arrived, my house was filled with my closest friends, drinking, laughing, and chatting. I was sitting on my couch with a house full of people but I had never felt so alone in my life.

Everyone was talking around me but no one talked to me. I sat on my couch and not one person had come over and acknowledged my loss. Or asked how I was doing. Or simply sat with me in silence. They all looked straight through me. I was sitting in plain sight but no one, not one person, saw me.

I went upstairs and crawled into bed before midnight. I remember laying in my bed and listening to the party going on downstairs without me. The sound of life and laughter only amplified the silence and the emptiness that was in my heart.

And I cried. I really and truly cried. I cried for the loss of my baby but I also cried for the loss of me. I cried for the fact that I felt like I had to quickly move on. I cried for the fact that I was compelled to still host a party despite having just gone through the most traumatic event of my life thus far. I cried for the fact that I did not have the strength to say no or to speak my truth. Instead, I had felt the need to keep up social politeness and pleasantries.

Every tear that fell onto my pillow that night was a reminder of how I had tended to everyone else’s heart but not my own. In the darkness of the night, as a new year crept in, I vowed to never be silent again.

I promised to speak up for what I needed. I vowed to honour my baby by honouring myself.

The holidays after a loss, no matter the amount of time that has since passed, can be hard. Please know that you are not alone. If you have been invited to a party or are hosting one but it doesn’t feel right, honour your feelings and say no. Let my silence drive your voice, and drive your truth.

I wish you well this holiday season momma.


Photo: Jim Lukach/Flickr

Related Post: Why I’ll Never Get Over Losing Him