In our world today everyone seems to be in such a rush. As I sit at the store cafe looking around I notice everyone hurrying through the store buying their last minute holiday gifts, eating lunch fast to get back to work, talking on their cell phones, and working on their wireless laptops. (Just a FYI: I haven’t even started by shopping yet. I’ve got 4 days to buy, wrap, and pack everything I need for our Christmas visit with the family). And the holidays just exasperate the pace at which we live. Add one more thing to our already too long list of things to do, and it’s enough to push many of us over the edge. Our world seems to move at such a fast pace that I think we sometimes forget to stop and think about other people. Slowing down and stopping to actually think about other people may be just what we all need. It couldn’t hurt.
One lesson that my infertility and pregnancy loss have taught me is how important compassion, empathy, and kindness are to other people. How one small kind word or gesture could be something that changes someone’s day. And how the opposite is also true. How not thinking carefully about what you’re saying, and to whom, could hurt as much as an actual wound.
I’ve said it before and probably will again – even though I now try my best to think carefully about what I’m saying and also about other people’s feelings I know that I probably won’t get that back in return. At least not from the fertile population. I apologize if you are part of that fertile community and you think differently of yourself. Just speaking from my own experience. From all of you though, in blog world, I do – your kind comments here help me more than I can say. Thank you for that.
Where was I headed with this? Oh yeah, I don’t think that people take other people’s feelings, situations, etc into consideration enough. With the holidays upon us I have pondered about my Grandmother and maybe the reason she doesn’t seem into the holiday spirit this year is because she’s lost two of her children in the past year (the rest of family says she’s just getting ornery with age), about my co-worker who passed away this year, and how her family is doing this first holiday season without her, and about our friends who have a new baby this year and how excited they must be to celebrate this year. I wonder though how many people will stop to remember that J and I were supposed to be buying a baby’s first Christmas ornament and playing Santa for the first time this year.
Even though the rest of the world won’t remember my baby – he didn’t live outside of me so no one else has any memories of him, and as far as the rest of society is concerned I am surely “over it’ by now – I decided that I wanted to do something to remember him by for Christmas.
I decided a few weeks ago that I would pick a name off of the Angel Tree at the mall. I chose a child who would be about the same age as my baby would have been. In the past few weeks I have thought a lot about the tag I picked off of that tree. Many times I thought about bringing it back and placing it back on the tree. This was going to be too hard for me to do – I haven’t stepped foot in a baby section of a store since before our loss. But I didn’t – I started thinking about that baby who may not have any presents for his first Christmas and I knew I had to go shopping.
I did go shopping for those gifts for that little boy today. I won’t tell you that it was easy. It took me a long time to pick things out because there was lots of time I had to stand there and collect myself, to keep the tears from coming. But I did it, and after I was done shopping and dropping off those gifts to the charity collecting them, I felt good. I felt like I had done something to help honor the memory I have of my baby.
Am I still sad that I’ll be celebrating Christmas without my baby? Yes. Will I always feel sadness for the baby I never got to know? Absolutely. But if I can do things to honor the memory I have of him, maybe I can feel a bit closer to him. Maybe my own little angel will be proud that I would have been his Mommy.
To all of you, I hope that you can all find some happiness and peace that comes with holidays, in whatever way is best for you. I know it is often so hard to do. Also, remember that even if no one in your real life remembers that you may be dealing with a life-altering crisis right now, or feeling the hurt of losses (whether they be the loss of dreams or the loss of lives) I will remember and I’ll be thinking of you.