I’ve been falling into a funk/depression/ whatever you want to call it for the past bit of days. Honestly it has been creeping up on me and I knew it but I didn’t do a good job taking care to address and stop it til I hit the bottom.
These feeling and thoughts have been brewing for a few weeks to days as I try to solve the what to do this Christmas problem in my head.
Here is the problem with being a planner and living in your head. You think and dream and plan and then when things don’t go according to the thoughts, dreams and plans it’s hard to reconcile that in your mind and heart. The instant we became pregnant I pictured what my favorite time if year would look like with her. Fewer football games (which has been proven true anyways) and Christmas snuggled up in our on house with all of our relatives who wanted and were willing to come. Treating Christmas Eve eve as Christmas Eve and Christmas Eve as Christmas Day since I have to work Christmas Day this year. Santa. Christmas Church services with her all dressed up. Then I would make her Daddy bring Riley Kate up for a visit to the NICU on Christmas Day (which probably would guarantee I would be too busy to visit with them).
And really this plan formulated before we were even pregnant. Last year when I went flexi and knew I would be working Christmas Day this year I thought well if we do have a baby then at least they will be too little to realize I am not home on Christmas Day. Also I am growing increasingly tired of traveling and working full time around Christmas as both nursing and pharmacy do not allow you to take time off around the holidays. It means we both travel to celebrate with family and work our full time jobs without extra holiday off time. We travel south for Christmas celebrations then traveling back for work then work a 12 hour day or more then traveling east for Christmas celebrations and then traveling back home for work again. I realize we are the easiest and most portable having no kids and just to two of us traveling to the areas where most of our families are concentrated. But admittedly I was joyfully looking forward to not being the one that raced all around this year.
But alas now what do we do now that our little bundle of joy won’t be here to snuggle. My desire is to skip Christmas all together- the presents, the cards, the travel, the gatherings, church, the decorations, but I know that incredibly selfish of me. The desire to please and make others happy by partaking in Christmas as usual rages on but yet doesn’t seem fair to me and my heart. So who wins? Is there a compromise?
It snowballed at Christmas Village walking around looking at all the adorable baby clothes thinking she isn’t here. I should be getting to spend too much money on clothes she would only be able to wear a few times. Monogrammed baby popovers, a Thanksgiving outfit, smocked Christmas dresses, Christmas pajamas (matching for the entire fam jam of course), and oh the hair bows.
There’s baby births and pregnancy announcements abounding. I adore your babies to the ends of the earth. I recognize what a precious, beautiful, Heavenly miracle they all are. And I know some of you have shared the same grief as me. But then I see the pictures and I feel the pressure. Pressure to be ready to “try again” (blah I hate that phrase the correct phrase would be “have another baby” we already have one she is just in Heaven and this isn’t some game that we will try again to win). I am the one placing the pressure on myself. But the weight is crushing. I feel no more ready to jump into the great unknown of having another baby and all the fears and anxieties and risks that come with that than the day we found out we had lost our princess. What is wrong with me? Why can’t I get it together? Why can’t I “move on”? Will I ever feel more ready or will the thought of risking it happening again always make me nauseous? If we do get a chance to birth a baby will I become a maniac knowing I can never ever truly protect them?
I laid on my bed crying over Christmas cards because I wasn’t going to send them out. But then on a whim I bought a Groupon for some. I logged in picked out a design. Filled it with pictures. But wait, do I include Riley Kate on the cards. She is our baby and part of our family, always.
But Em and other younger members of our family don’t know about her. I’ll tell Em one day for sure when the time is right. But do I want to not be able to send a card or have to send a different one to four recipients that would have to hide the card or explain who Riley Kate is. Do we put her on there in some type of code. I doubt anyone has ever received a Christmas card with an angel baby’s or angle child’s name on the card. That is very true. I have never seen a single one? Not saying anyone did it wrong by leaving their babies off. I probably am the one doing it wrong. So do I leave off a part of my family and heart to conform to society and fit into the rules? Do I not validate her as a person and how much she to us? This year or ever? I could just say The Stalkers or The Stalker Family but that doesn’t feel right either.
There perhaps is no right or wrong answer. My gut intuition is her name will be listed as part of our family on every card I send out until the day I die. I don’t want to make people sad by placing her name on the cards. I hope people will see her name, smile and know we all have a beloved angel in our hearts and in Heaven. My other gut feeling is things that are supposed celebrations I will be robbed of joy continuously for the rest of my days.
But also in the days since I jotted down these thoughts something has begun to flip. I realized it’s still her first Christmas and the Christmas in Heaven will be more beautiful and spectacular than anything here on earth. Selfishly I still want her here with me instead of with The Birthday Man himself. But I can still love and remember and celebrate and honor her, even though it will be painful, this Christmas on Earth too because she is with us always in our hearts, forever. Stay tuned next week for ways to help and join in. So perhaps baby girl Mama will drag out those decorations just for you. And we will spend your first Christmas together me and your daddy with you tucked deep into our hearts. Never forgotten. Forever in our hearts. Abundantly loved.