Christmas 2014 was the first time I felt the real weight of pregnancy after loss. I had lost three babies that year and was pregnant with my fourth. That year we opted out of Christmas. In fact, we packed a small bag and spent the entire week at my husband’s aunt’s house. My aunt, who didn’t and still doesn’t care much for Christmas, had no Christmas tree or decorations at her house which allowed me to spent most of the time locked in our bedroom pretending that Christmas was not happening at all. I didn’t visit my family or go spend time with friends, and I didn’t cook and bake to my heart’s content. It had been a devil of a year and getting into the Christmas spirit was all too much.
Being pregnant, while grieving, at Christmas was too much and I longed to be done with 2014 and embrace the promises of New Year.
This year though, I have been having a hard time getting into the Christmas mood. Too many similarities to that other Christmas I suppose. I am not pregnant but the isolation from family and friends, the uncertainty, and a desire for the year to be over feel really familiar. But unlike that year, I have two very excited children who are eagerly looking forward to Christmas. And I can’t lock myself away as I did then.
Being a rainbow mother means that even when all I want to do is hide away, I have to show up for my children.
Today my daughter realized that there were only a few more days until Christmas and her squeals of excitement reminded me that Christmas is so much more than the way I feel. It is a celebration that holds worldwide significance. Listening to my daughter go on about her love of Christmas and her excitement over her upcoming (virtual) Christmas concert, I remembered how magical Christmas is to a child.
When I was a child, I took part in my church’s Christmas program where we, the children, sang a song called “Christmas is a time to love” from Psalty the Singing Songbook. Even saying that name aloud already makes me smile. I remember being so proud to be a part of the whole production, learning the words to the song, getting dressed up, and the food and fun with the other children. Mostly I had forgotten about the song and the memory of that Christmas concert, in fact, I hadn’t even heard that song in very many years. And while it certainly is a beautiful song, this isn’t a story about how a childhood memory saved Christmas for me. I may never fully recapture my love for Christmas, and that is okay.
But what I do know is that my children will have wonderful memories of Christmas this year.
And as I bid farewell to 2020, I understand that all I have is right now. I don’t have my past and the future does not belong to me, so for right now, I will rally all my resources and give my children the best Christmas that they can have. I do not know what the coming years hold for our family. I pray that they are kind to everyone but if they aren’t, I want my children to have memories of magical Christmases. Memories of a home that was transformed, of pretty dresses and handsome suits. Of Christmas services and concerts, of presents and food, of us, telling them the story of Jesus and of course of their mother, happily looking on as they dance and sing.