Borchardt Consulting

Holiday Survival

Posted on: October 24, 2011

Holidays can be difficult times for those of us who are grieving the loss of our child.  Holiday cheer, family times, the hustle and bustle – it can all be overwhelming and downright depressing.  I’d like to share some ideas with you from other families who have experienced the death of a baby to help you survive this first holiday season.

  • Plan ahead.  This may be the year to change, skip or create new traditions.  Simple changes can make the holidays less overwhelming.  Ask everyone to bring a dish instead of cooking the whole family dinner yourself.  Stay home or go somewhere that you’ve never gone before.  If you have other children, involve them in the plan.  They are grieving too.
  •  Be flexible.  Know that you will have good days and bad. Understand that you might not be able to anticipate how  you will be feeling on any given day.  Allow yourself to change your mind.
  •  If you’re shopping for gifts, try using the internet or catalog shopping to avoid crowds.  Shop early or recruit a friend to help.
  •  Take time for yourself.  Write in a journal, exercise, meditate.  Grieving is hard work.  Allow yourself to be sad and remember that laughter is OK too.
  • Take some time off.  You do not have to attend every holiday party and school play.
  •  Be careful about alcohol – drinking increases depression.
  •  Seek out support from your church or temple, your family and friends.  Allow them to help renew your spirit.
  • Don’t allow the expectations of others to dictate your actions.  Trust yourself.
  •  Buy a gift for you baby and donate it to a children’s organization.
  •  Light a candle in honor or your baby.
  •  Buy a special ornament or holiday decoration to display in their honor.
  •  Talk to your family.  Let them know that for this year, you plan to do things differently or not at all.
  •  Keep in mind that some of us will be comforted by the start of a New Year and the chance to leave the old, sad year behind.  Others may feel panicked by the idea of leaving the old year because it feels like we are leaving our baby behind while we move forward.  Neither belief is right or wrong.

I hope that you will find at least one thing that helps you get through the holidays a little easier.  Give yourself the gift of remembering that your baby lived – not just died. Most of all, remember that change is a natural part of living.  If this holiday has flashes of sadness, don’t run from your feelings.

 

 

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