Before I truly start writing, I need to explain that this piece is personal and not easy to put into words. My estimated due date was yesterday. My baby gained her wings at 10 weeks gestation. To so many people, that means so little, but to me and my family, that baby is missed. I am currently due in March with our rainbow baby and looking forward to meeting this little boy, but I will always remember the baby who was gone too soon.
My story is not uncommon. In all actuality, it is too common. It may not be talked about, but it needs to be. Not only through miscarriage, but many other problems that are giving tiny ones their angel wings too soon. People want to forget and move on, but as parents, we will always remember.
A positive pregnancy test, a loud heartbeat, an ultrasound, tiny kicks; 5 weeks, 10 weeks, 20 weeks, 40 weeks, after birth… A baby is a tiny miracle that we may not be granted enough time with. Life is not the same once a baby leaves us. Time helps, even heals, but the heart will always love, and the tears will always be ready to fall. This will be our first Christmas experiencing the feelings of loss. I am not an expert on the subject, and in all honesty, I have no idea what I am doing. I am so blessed to be surrounded by my earthside children, so loved by them and so many others. But I feel this small ache inside pulling me toward writing this piece. I know that we need to honor our angel this Christmas. I have come up with a few simple ideas, but I also reached out to others who have experienced loss. Their words of wisdom are priceless, and emotional. I truly hope that reading this will help you decide to honor your lost angel(s) this holiday season, and if you have any words to add, please do so.
No matter where you are at in this journey, please know you aren’t alone in how you feel. There is no right or wrong way to remember your child this Christmas season.
Our First Christmas After Our Loss
It is full of mixed emotions and being in a happy place with a pull of sadness. My husband and I were both heartbroken this summer when our baby gained wings. I want to honor her, not to hold on to that heartache, but to remember the blessing she was to us. Ornament:
I am going to place a special angel ornament on the tree. I also found this on pinterest:
Saying the Blessing:
We share a big meal on Christmas Eve, and while saying the blessing this year, we will mention our angel and ask for her to be cared for, loved, and treasured in Heaven. Donations:
We have chosen an infant from a local Angel Tree to purchase a gift for this year. I plan to continue this tradition each year, choosing a child who would be the age of our angel each time.
If You Have A Recorded Heartbeat From an Ultrasound: Please invest in a My Baby's Heartbeat Bear. It was the first thing I did with my rainbow baby's pregnancy, and I wish so badly that I have had done this with our lost angel. I will always have our sweet fox (the animal we choose) with this baby boy's heartbeat inside. I know that if I were to lose him, this treasure would become even more important to me.
Reaching out to a family who has lost
So many reach out after a baby has passed away, but time allows them to move past the grief. Most will forget or not know how to include an angel in their holiday wishes. If you have a friend or family member who has experienced such heartache, please acknowledge their loss this season. They will be so grateful for your kind thoughts. After reading so many stories, blogs, and pieces of advice, I came across this paragraph on www.franchescacox.com/
: “If you are reading this and haven’t lost a child but have a close friend or family member who has, I encourage you to please make sure you include that precious baby this Christmas season. If you send the family a card, also address it with the child’s name. If you don’t do cards, drop the family a note or email letting them know you are thinking of them during the holiday season & recognize how tough this time of year is (many of us withdraw and keep quiet due to the pain). Maybe do something in the child’s memory or make a donation & let the family know. Even just saying their child’s name in conversation or giving them a little something that made you think of their child means the world to that family!” Words From Others Who Have Lost: These may trigger emotions, but are being shared to spread the word of infant loss, healing, and honoring of all of our angel babies. These babies will stay in our hearts forever.
All photos copyright Jenn Hydeman
Remembering Mercy during Christmas/Holiday Season - Allie
This is our second Christmas without our little lady, Mercy. As far as "how are we remembering her", we honestly aren't doing too much specifically for her except incorporating her into what we already do through the advent season. We go to a light show at our favorite park every year, and a lot of her story unfolded there so now it has an extra twinge of festivity for our family. For us, it's easy to incorporate her into our conversations through the Christmas season since she was a baby and is now in heaven, which relates easily when talking to my 3 year old son, when we talk about the birth of Jesus or play with our nativity sets. The most specific part of remembering her through this holiday season, was honestly kind of fluke. My parents offered to watch our 3yo son for 5 days so I could write and reminisce about Mercy. That's been the most meaningful thing I've done and set aside specifically for her, as well as getting a new ornament for her this year. I would absolutely recommend this for any parents who have lost a child. You don't need 5 days, just a morning, or setting aside an evening will do. This truly, was the best way to remember and keep her spirit with me through the holiday season.
I didn't plan it in time this year, but next year I would really like to go to The Compassionate Friends candle lighting. It happens around the world at 7pm in whatever time zone you're in, sometime in December. Depending on the size of the gathering, some events have the parents come up and share a few sentences about their babe, while larger gatherings will project photos of the children throughout the evening instead. Each child has the chance to be recognized in some way though, which I love. I think that would be a lovely evening to add into our holiday season for next year. At this point in our loss journey, I feel like we're still so close to when we lost her that she is still so much a part of our day and conversations, it has been adequate to evolve what we already do to include or remember her. For example, a small thing we did with her during our time at the hospital was to paint her nails pink. It became a beautiful way for our friends and family to join in remembering her, especially for those who live far from us. When we were making cookies to decorate, one of the icing colors was #MercyPink. It's just subtle, small ways we continue to incorporate her into our lives so we remember her daily -- even though of course, we could never forget.
*Losing Nathan: I bought a star ornament while I was still pregnant. I always write the year on each new one I buy. Our Nathan was born 12-30 and it was hanging on our tree. Every year I always hang it near the top, next to the brightest star. It brings tears to my eyes. I tell Evelyn this star is for your brother Nathan who was the brightest shooting star. He burned so bright and faded away so fast.... At his memorial service there was a reading from "The Little Prince". "In one of the stars I'll be laughing, so when you look at the stars at night only you will have stars that laugh". There was more to the quote, but this is the best part. We will always have a bright shining star at the top of the tree, and I like to think he is laughing. Christmas joy. -Wendy *This year is our first time going through the holidays after experiencing such a loss so we are still in the beginning stages of everything. But I did want to share that a very sweet, thoughtful friend gave us an ornament this year (we buy one to represent something of that year of us as a family and then the children each get their own as well) as a surprise gift. It is a symbol of our angel. I had just happened to tell her randomly during conversation about our loss. This gave me peace when thinking of our little one. I am so touched to have that little one still be part of our holidays and represent our family on our tree for years to come. -Tiffany *We lost our daughter April 2002 when she was 3 months and 1 day. Each year we put her picture ornament on our tree. It's a bell with her name and birth date on it. On her Birthday we bring white roses to the ocean where she lays. Being military and moving around she follows us always and that makes my heart happy knowing I have a place to go too and she is there with me. I have a candle next to her picture and memory box of things I needed to keep. Next year I have decided I want to get her footprint tattooed on my foot as it’s starting to fade and I can't lose the last piece of her I have. It's hard, and I went to a talk to someone many times. I find myself crying over things others think are silly. Hugs to you mama!! You will never forget your little one, find something that brings you peace in your heart. -Cat
*We spend the day on the day we lost each baby doing random acts of kindness and encourage others to do the same. It makes me feel like their lives are bringing kindness into the world. We also had a farewell ceremony for them near the lighthouse on Folly Beach. We read poems and wrote letters that we read aloud. We go out there and put flowers into the water every now and then. The first year we just had a little toast on Christmas. (There was only one loss at that time.) We had also found out a week before Christmas we were pregnant with Sylvia, so we were in a very strange place emotionally. It certainly gets easier as time goes on but I always think of my babies on holidays and usually have a little cry. We will possibly visit the lighthouse this holiday, although we haven't on Christmas yet. For me, I needed a place to go that signified my babies and I could hold space for them. When I was really missing them I wanted to go someplace that felt special to them. With miscarriages we don't get the ceremony of the funeral or the gravesite as a place. -Brandi *I've gone through it, and someday, any day now, I assume it will stop devastating me. In the meantime, I hold on to the two precious and healthy ones I have that are blessings....I don't think you can ever really prepare or understand it unless you've been through it...but if you have, you are linked to those who share that pain and you can truly sympathize. Only a mother can feel that loss, for only we have the strength to go find the light in that darkness. –Maren * My Due Date was 4 days after my own birthday. I made two gift bags, 1 boy and 1 girl and brought them to the local hospital. The chief nurse in L&D gave them to the first 2 mamas to give birth on or near my due date. In a day I could have spent in self-pity and sorrow, I choose to celebrate their little miracles. –Denise * Every year is hard for me! But the tree we have planted in her honor in our backyard blooms pink right during the anniversary of our loss each year, and this helps me know she is ok and looking down on us from heaven! I was 18 weeks. –Lisa