We all carry a similar burden at Christmas. Sadly, many of us rarely talk about how we feel following the loss of our baby. Sometimes it can seem as though society accepts our grief for a while and then doesn't want to hear about it anymore. I know baby loss to be an exceptionally lonely, relentless journey. Bumps along the way, Christmas included, can hit hard.
Fellow baby-loss mama, I recognise the bitter-sweet taste of the pill that is Christmas. While I delight in sharing good tidings and joy with my other children and loved ones, my heart beats stubbornly with love and loss for the little person who isn't here, but should be.
I lost my second daughter, Grace, when she was one day old. She never enjoyed a Christmas. She didn't even take a solitary breath without the aid of a ventilator. So many of you, I know, were denied even a few precious moments together. You never met your little angel at all.
And so, in the absence of memory, we delve into the unchecked realms of our imaginations. We picture the extra presents under the tree and the hands opening them, trembling with excitement. We imagine the missing, beloved face around the Christmas table and the little body huddled with the others under a blanket, watching the Snowman. I can only dream about Grace's small hands clasping my face in delight as she says, 'Merry Christmas Mummy!'
This Christmas, dear baby loss mama, I urge you to allow yourself to feel your feelings. When sadness penetrates the joy and happiness surrounding you, don't feel the need to reject it. Christmas, a time of family togetherness, can be unforgiving. But we make it more so if we try to deny our grief.
As we grow older, we find most people have lost a loved one along the way. Grandparents, a parent, a sibling or a child – loss will eventually catch up with us all. The best gift we can give each other and our missing loved ones this Christmas, is the ability to talk freely and the freedom to be sad. At a time when we feel real pressure to be happy, it's ok to tell the truth about how we feel. It's more than ok actually; it's essential.
We will feel happy, sad, joyful, guilty, proud and grief-stricken all at the same time. It's a strange cocktail of emotions and one we have to swallow every day. Christmas is the great intensifier and acts like a giant, merciless cocktail shaker. It leaves us feeling jumbled and confused.
As I approach the fifth Christmas without my angel, the feelings may be less raw but the heartache and loss remain. Christmas is so hard without her.
If you do just one thing, please reach out and share your feelings. Trust me, dear baby loss mama, you are not alone. And so I send you nothing but love, compassion and understanding this Christmas.
Aimee was selected as a BISS guest blogger after entering our October linky. For your chance to write for GoodtoKnow, check out our Because I Said So platform.