Baby loss is devastating and there needs to be more awareness – it’s one of the toughest challenges we may face in life. We all find different ways to cope, but Christmas after stillbirth, miscarriage or any kind of loss can be particularly difficult.
Jenn, a Pregnancy Loss / Fertility Coach, tells us her story of how she’s learnt to embrace the festive period again.
Over to Jenn Hepton…
lossintransition.com | @loeys.hugs | @iamjennhepton
It didn’t happen overnight and it took a while, but I LOVE Christmas again because it means something completely different to us, as we had to redefine it for ourselves after infertility and the death and loss of our twins and daughter. As a pregnancy loss / fertility coach, I work with several women who find holidays trigger only sadness, which is overwhelming and isolating. I’ve been there and it is incredibly hard. I get it.
When you are struggling to conceive, everything that should be full of cheer and joy turns into isolation and a reminder of what is missing in our lives, no matter the support network around you.
I mean, wouldn’t it be nice if we could sing Jingle Bells again instead of crying and madly turning off the radio. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to share in conversations without feeling alone. Wouldn’t it be nice if when someone asked if you had children you didn’t feel that aching feeling in your stomach….
We can’t change our world but we can create a toolbox of tools that can help us in redefining what Christmas means to us and honor our babies which we have lost.
Here are six tools / strategies that I use which has been life changing;
Acknowledging to yourself and your community that Christmas is challenging and that’s okay. It’s okay to take this time to reflect and remember. It’s also okay to take this time to acknowledge all your feelings. When we acknowledge, we are giving ourselves permission to feel and not hide.
Feeling all the emotions that come up is incredibly important for our healing process. We know and have heard that when we bottle up our feelings, it can explode in different ways and it’s true. So give yourself permission to feel the jealousy, the fear and the joy.
2. Ask what is my INTENTION?
When we are asked to go to a dinner party, sometimes we give a quick answer of ‘yes, of course I will be there’, because we don’t want to feel different or be different and we don’t want to upset others. However, when we take the time to think of our intention or our reason for going to the dinner party or event, we are able to anchor ourselves in our intention. This will help you in prioritizing your social calendar and advocating for yourself when you take time to rest.
Read More About Setting Intentions – Fertility Meditation
3. Self Advocating
This one is HUGE. First, you don’t have to go to ALL your dinner parties. Actually, you don’t have to go to ANY. If you do go, advocate for yourself. Let your host know that this Christmas is a difficult one and that you will try your best to come and that you may need to leave early; or let them know that you may need to change your mind last minute, depending on how you feel that day.
We can’t assume that our friends or family know what we are going through, and so with intention we can self advocate from a place of strength. Also, find an ally, a friend who can help you advocate and who can save you from uncomfortable situations if you are not ready to share your story with others.
4. Self Preservation
This one was key in allowing me to enjoy my NEW Christmas. If I intuitively did not feel ready to do any major Christmas activities, I didn’t. I also would have a word that I would say so that my husband knew that I had reached my limit at parties or any festive activities, and it was time to leave.
If I wasn’t with my husband, I would have a friend, ‘an ally’ who knew my story and would be there for me. I also would excuse myself from conversations and take bathroom breaks. If I was spending too much time in the bathroom … I knew it was time to leave and go home and rest. An affirmation that helped me was, I am at choice here!
5. Create your new Christmas tradition
My husband and I went away for our first Christmas after suffering the loss of our daughter and it was perfect. We went somewhere sunny and we created our new rituals which honored her and celebrated our love for her and our twins. This year will be our third Christmas without her and our first one with our rainbow baby. We always invite her into everything we do.
6. Have your monologue ready
I remember there were years where I was trying to conceive and had experienced several miscarriages and didn’t tell anyone. So of course we would be asked,
“Do you have children?”
“Will you have children?”
I still can’t believe our society thinks it’s okay to ask such personal questions, but that’s another articIe. I have two to three scripts ready for when I was asked these questions, so that I wasn’t caught off guard. I would also check in with my intention and how I was feeling at that moment. These scripts are so personal and it’s up to you how you want to share.
I do find that with myself and my clients, if we don’t share, our story we start to feel guilty or shameful and we bury our emotions, which isn’t healthy. So, look at your feelings and intentions. You are allowed to choose who you want to share your story with, without feeling guilty.
Read More about Talking about Baby Loss – Miscarriages, Loss and Ridiculous Comments
Take Your Time
Lastly, with rest our heart is able to heal. I invite you to take as much time as you need to rest during the holidays. After we have experienced the loss of our fertility or baby, we change on a physiology level and we don’t have the energy or bandwidth like we did before. Thus, it’s important to check in with yourself before doing any Christmas activities.
This is how I have come to redefine Christmas for myself and how we, as a family honor our lost babies. We have created rituals and boundaries and have special keepsakes to create a Christmas that feels true to our story.
Jenn is a Life Coach who supports mothers through fertility and pregnancy loss with all its overwhelming anxiety and fears, so they feel stronger and braver as they step into their full power. She is an international speaker and writer who speaks on pregnancy and baby loss awareness and support.
She is an NLP, hypnosis, grief and otological coach who holds nurturing space for her clients. She loves to teach restorative yoga, take long walks with her two beagles and is always up for a Sunday roast with her husband. She has been on her fertility journey for 10 years that includes termination for medical reasons (TFMR), a health scare, repeated miscarriages, IVF, egg donor, stillbirth and surrogacy.
She is enjoying being a conscious mom to her son Milo who enjoys watching rugby with his dad. She currently resides in Seattle but home will always be London.
She is available for speaking events, one-to-one coaching and she has several group fertility coaching programs throughout the year. She is also launching online programs to support your fertility and mental wellbeing after baby loss. She has witnessed powerful transformations into conscious parenting with resilience and courage.
Her vision is for all women who have experienced pregnancy loss, to be able to heal from their trauma so that they can live consciously free of fear and anxiety, with joy.