The holidays are a time for family, friends, and loved ones to come together and celebrate life. Unfortunately, that's not always the case for some people—especially those who have experienced loss and are grieving.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- How Might the Seasons Look or Feel After You Experience a Miscarriage?
- How to Cope With the Holidays After a Miscarriage
- How to Help a Loved One Cope With the Holidays After a Miscarriage
One loss that often goes undiscussed is miscarriage and pregnancy loss. Coping with a miscarriage is difficult enough on its own. And the holidays can exacerbate any sadness or grief you’re already feeling.
Holidays after a miscarriage can be difficult—there’s no doubt about that. But there are ways to cope. Whether you or a loved one experienced a miscarriage, you will get through the holiday season. We’re here with some tips and ideas to help you cope with the holidays after a miscarriage—and hopefully, even enjoy them.
How Might the Seasons Look or Feel After You Experience a Miscarriage?
Every person has a different experience with the holiday season. For some, it might bring back warm and fuzzy memories. For others, it may be triggering, or you might feel neutral towards them. When you add in the extra layer of grief, it can complicate things further.
Grief during the holiday season can make the festive part of the year feel triggering, isolating, and difficult to deal with. If you experience a miscarriage before the holidays, you might feel sad, anxious, or nervous during celebrations. Some of that nervousness can come from the anticipation of nosey relatives and feeling like you need to explain yourself. Sadness can arise from being around other loved ones who have babies, children, or are pregnant.
It's normal not to want to celebrate and instead take this time to hide away and rest. You may feel like you need to rest and recuperate and not be around so many people. Maybe you're planning something more low-key or trying to get your family to travel to you instead of going to them.
You might have the opposite experience and are looking forward to celebrating as a way of reconnecting with loved ones and helping you heal and move forward. Sometimes distractions can be healthy, especially when they involve being surrounded by people that make you feel loved and supported.
You might feel any combination of these emotions or urges, and that's fine. When the holidays feel hard, whether it's from a miscarriage or another life stressor, it's OK to take a step back and prioritize yourself. Still, that can be easier said than done. That's why it's essential to have practical tips to help you cope with the holidays after a miscarriage.
How to Cope With the Holidays After a Miscarriage
Your feelings towards the holidays might not be straightforward, especially after experiencing a miscarriage. If you’re feeling nervous or anxious or anticipating unwanted feelings coming up, be sure to have some tips and tricks so that you can take care of yourself.
Are you wondering how to cope with the holiday season after a miscarriage? We’ve got you covered.
You might love your family dearly and still know that they can sometimes cross boundaries and push your buttons. Now more than ever is the time to set clear boundaries so that you can navigate the holiday season with some peace.
What does setting boundaries mean? It can be different for everyone, and it depends on your needs and your obligations.
If you’re deep in your feelings after a miscarriage, try to make an effort only to see people that you feel comfortable being around. That could mean choosing not to go to the big parties or dinners and keeping it as small and intimate as feels comfortable. Your loved ones will understand.
Another way to set boundaries is within conversations. If someone brings up the miscarriage unsolicited, know that you don’t owe anyone an explanation, and you don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to. You can simply say, “I don’t feel comfortable talking about this right now” or “I don’t want to talk about this right now.”
Make it low commitment
Feeling overwhelmed at the thought of big parties? Are you not sure how you might feel but don’t want to make definite plans? Try to keep your plans low commitment.
Grief can come in waves, and you never know when it’s going to hit you. You can do yourself a favor by letting your loved ones know that you would love to come to their gatherings but that you might have to cancel last minute or leave early because of the circumstances.
If you want to go on a vacation, try planning a short road trip and book places with good cancellation policies instead of planning on flying somewhere. Avoid hosting dinner or a party unless it’s something that you really want to do.
The holidays can bring a lot of stress. Try to take the pressure off yourself, and know that you might not have the energy or desire to do as much as you usually would—and that’s ok!
Be with people that make you feel good
You might love your family, but they might not always make you feel great, especially when you’re healing from something like a miscarriage. It’s ok to spend the holidays with different people this year, people that make you feel good and supported, and that you don’t feel like you need to explain yourself to.
Who makes you feel the best? Your partner? Your best friend? Your dog? Your cousin Sam? Your mom? Throw out the need to be diplomatic. It’s ok to be a little selfish and prioritize yourself right now.
Have an emergency exit plan
So you decide to go to your work's holiday party or your friend's New Year's Eve extravaganza. You may feel like you have it in you and want to go, or maybe you feel like you couldn't get out of it. No matter why you're choosing to go, it's a good idea to have an emergency exit plan.
Even if the idea of a big party sounded fun, sometimes things can be too much, and you might need to leave in a hurry. Even your most-loved family members can feel overwhelming at times, or you don't have the energy to have fun with your friends. In any case, it's okay.
Here are some emergency exit plan tips:
- Have someone on standby: Whether that’s your partner, a friend, or a family member, have someone who knows that you might want to make an emergency exit there to help you if need be. This person will quickly wrap up whatever conversations they’re having while you wait in the car. They’ll drive you home and help you decompress, and make sure you’re comfortable with all the snacks your heart desires (pro-tip, sneak some from the party you were at).
- Drive yourself: If you don’t have a partner in crime who is also driving for you, it can make a world of difference to drive yourself (as long as you’re not drinking). This way, when you’re ready to leave, you don’t have to worry about coordinating with someone else or calling a car to pick you up on a busy holiday weekend.
- Tell the host: You don’t have to say goodbye to everyone, but try to tell the host ahead of time that you might need to leave in a rush. That way, if you’re feeling triggered, you don’t have to worry about explaining yourself; you can simply go.
Remember that your well-being comes first. If a gathering is feeling like too much, it’s ok to leave and go get cozy at home.
The holidays can be overwhelming, especially after a miscarriage. You’re not only healing physically but emotionally as well. It’s essential to take time to practice self-care so that you don’t get burnt out from the holiday festivities.
Here are some self-care tools for the holiday season:
- Take alone time. Away from family and friends. Even if it’s just a few minutes.
- Take a bath.
- Bake or cook your favorite treats.
- Spend time outdoors.
Self care can be big or small. However you practice it, know that you deserve it, and need it.
How to Help a Loved One Cope With the Holidays After a Miscarriage
It can be so hard to watch a loved one experience a miscarriage. You might feel helpless but don’t know what to do. While you can’t fix what they’re going through, you can help them deal with the wildness of the holidays.
Here’s how to help a loved one cope with the holidays after a miscarriage:
Make their life easier
If your loved one is usually the planner and doer, it’s your turn. What can you do to make their life easier so that they can relax?
Do you do the cooking or order take-out so that they don’t have to? Can you be on gift duty? Even the most minor things can make a difference, like going grocery shopping for them, cleaning up around the house, or helping with kids or dogs so that they can get things organized or just rest.
Be a good buffer
Many people may bombard your loved one with questions and concerns, which can be overwhelming and triggering, even when coming from a well-meaning place.
When at a gathering, keep an eye on your loved one. If you see someone overstepping a boundary, like a nosey aunt digging for details, step in and relieve your loved one from having to explain themselves. Maybe you come up with a secret hand signal or code word beforehand so that you know if they need you.
Try to make their lives easier at any gatherings you may go to by being the buffer between them and anyone who brings up uncomfortable feelings. It can be as simple as having a funny story on standby to use as a distraction.
Dealing with The Holidays After a Miscarriage
The holiday season after a miscarriage might not be easy, but it doesn’t have to be complicated either. Switching up or canceling plans for one year does not mean you’re a bad family member, it just means you have to take care of yourself right now. It’s ok to be a little selfish and focus on you right now.
So remember to set boundaries, practice self care, and focus on what and who makes you feel good. You can and will get through this. One day, and holiday, at a time.