My first miscarriage was two years ago, just before Christmas. My sister-in-law and lifelong friend has excitedly announced to us over Thanksgiving that she was also pregnant. We were due within days of each other and thrilled to be able to carry our second babies together.
I deeply love Christmas. I am an enneagram type four so I literally bask in the glow and magic of the season. There is heart wrenching beauty everywhere you look, in every sparkly light and wrapped gift and family photo. So when pregnancy loss landed a cruel blow, the holiday suddenly looked very different to me.
I made cookies and the richest hot chocolate you’ve ever seen. I ducked my head down the first time I went back to church afterwards, and during our family Christmas gatherings. I made as little eye contact as possible. I wanted to grieve. I wanted to wallow. But I didn’t really know how. I had never experienced such a soul crushing loss like this. I wanted to process it, but I didn’t want to talk about it during Christmas. This sacred, magical time for me now felt tainted and hard.
Over the next year, I sifted through everything, I learned and grew in ways I never fathomed. I learned things about my body and my heart. I learned that I have an MTHFR gene mutation and that my Ennegram type is 4w5. I started this blog and began to grow a social media platform connected to it. I discovered crystals. I started a small business. My husband and I navigated the loss of our three remaining grandmothers within the space of six months. I talked and talked and talked some more. I lost another baby and had one other possible unconfirmed loss.
Most importantly, I had conversations with women about their losses. It seemed that the more I talked openly about my miscarriages, the more women around me felt empowered to speak about their own. I learned things about how pregnancy loss and infertility is treated in our culture and how much it needs to change.
And I began to redeem Christmas for myself. The magic started coming back. The beauty was there. Side by side with the longing for my unborn children was my ability to weep with joy over the sparkly lights, the hot cocoa, and gift wrapping.
It never ceases to make me think of the story of Esther. All the junk and hurdles she had to go through that felt like hell and seemed so meaningless until one day, she saw that all her struggle culminated into her being exactly where she needed to be to have the greatest impact.
God doesn’t cause our pain, but he can use it. He can take what is horrible and use it “for such a time as this”. It doesn’t seem like anything good could possibly come from our hurt when we are in the middle of it. But eventually, the light shines again. You find your new normal, and you do get up and do life again. One day, it gets easier. One day, it doesn’t hurt quite as much. The wound is not as raw. But it takes time. Give it time.
The death of those we love leaves a hole. While we can rejoice at their presence in Heaven, we still have to live without them here. I still have to live every magical Christmas wondering what my babies would look like, and how they would exclaim over their gifts and marvel at the lights on the tree. I still have to live missing them. My loss is truly Heaven’s gain, but its still my loss. My faith does not negate my pain and longing, it only makes it tolerable.
If you are grieving this Christmas, be gentle with yourself. You don’t have to do all the things. You don’t have put on a happy face for people that are uncomfortable with hard feelings. You don’t have to keep silent about your loss because it might “ruin” someone else’s joy.
What you are living is real and valid. Your loved one deserves to be acknowledged and remembered and honored. And you deserve nothing less. Let this be as raw as it is right now. Its ok.