I scrolled past a post today that said, “It is alright if everything does not feel merry and bright.” I’m not quite sure if it was the pregnancy hormones or because I really felt that, but I found myself tearing up. The holidays can be hard for anyone, especially families who are missing someone dearly – a friend, a parent, and yep, a child. Reading that post instantly reminded me of the stocking under my tree that will forever be empty.

stockings under the tree - the empty stocking

Author’s Personal Collection/Elizabeth Michalski

Teddy would be three years old this Christmas, and I know I should have two very excited boys opening presents on Christmas morning.

Reflecting on that alone just makes my eyes well up with tears. This year is my 3rd Christmas without my beautiful boy, and although I’m so very excited for the joy that will fill our living room Christmas morning, I’m still a little disheartened. I suppose I will always feel that way because my sweet angel isn’t here in my arms, where he should be. Christmas will always feel like it’s missing something. But we will do our best to remember him, as we always do, and hold onto the knowledge that he’s watching over us.

Holiday time can get insane – between shopping, family gatherings, and our own day-to-day on top of it. Personally, it’s been a busy time, running a small business with my best friend for custom gifts around the holidays has kept us on our toes, even more so with the events we attend. Keeping that up while doing our own shopping and managing our kids is a lot, but I welcome the noise. Staying busy helps me manage my grief in general, but has been especially helpful lately. With my anxiety of Delilah’s arrival getting closer, and all my reminiscent feelings from past labors trying to creep back in, having less time to drown in my thoughts has been a weight off my shoulders.

memorial ornaments - the empty stocking

Author’s Personal Collection/Elizabeth Michalski

This post reminded me for a moment that it’s okay that I don’t feel 100% all the time. I’m a mama missing my baby, and I’m allowed to feel that. I’m allowed to get upset that he’s not going to be too excited to sleep because Santa is coming. I’m allowed to get emotional while I fill Nathan’s stocking with goodies and place it next to Teddy’s, which remains empty. I’m allowed to have myself a good ol’ cry as I hang the ornaments we picked out for Teddy the Christmas after he passed, the ones I cried while purchasing. I know I probably looked crazy, but that was no one’s business but mine. And while the holidays are full of excitement and joy, it’s perfectly okay to not want to be holly jolly 24/7.

So, as another mama who is feeling all of her feelings lately, I guess I just simply want to share the reminder from that post I read today: “It is alright if everything does not feel merry and bright.”

Feel your feelings mama, have that cry, remember your baby this holiday season in whichever way feels comfortable for you. There are no right or wrong ways to feel when it comes to losing your child, a piece of your heart. Your angel wants to be with you as much as you do them, and they know we’d give anything to change that.

The greatest gift we could ever receive is our sweet babies who made us parents, no matter how brief their time was with us. Sending warm thoughts & gentle holiday wishes to all the families who have empty stockings under their tree this year.

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