How to Survive the Holidays After a Miscarriage

Embracing after a pregnancy loss.

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If you're struggling with the holiday season after a recent miscarriage or other pregnancy loss, you're not alone. Many people feel little holiday cheer after losing a baby, particularly if the loss was recent.

You might feel reluctant to attend gatherings, not wanting to face pregnant relatives or friends with new infants. In addition, you might feel like everywhere you look, you see a reminder that there should have been another face in the family photo or another stocking by the fireplace.

To make Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year's Eve, or other holiday gatherings easier to tolerate while you are grieving, here are several tips to try.

Know Your Limits

If you are invited to a party where you know you will face more stress than enjoyment, maybe you should decline and send well wishes instead. Don't be afraid to bow out of social gatherings if you aren't feeling well after a pregnancy loss. On the flip side, however, consider whether being around friends might help take your mind off things for a little while.

Find an 'Out'

If you must attend a gathering, locate a quiet place where you can step away if you need some time to yourself. Alternately, plan an excuse in advance for why you need to leave the party early in case you feel overwhelmed.

Do a Good Deed

Many people find that doing a good deed during the holiday season brings some comfort. Some like to participate in charity efforts to buy holiday gifts for children in less fortunate families. Others like to volunteer at nursing homes or help serve holiday meals to the homeless.

Share Your Feelings With Family

Remember that a miscarriage is a loss, and it's OK to mourn this loss with family. People can support you best if they know what you need. Remember that people who have never experienced a pregnancy loss may not know what you're going through, and they may be more supportive if you let them know how you feel.

Choose Your Battles

Everyone has one of those relatives who just won't get it no matter what. If you have an ignorant in-law or second cousin throwing thoughtless comments at you, decide whether you want to educate that person or just smile and nod. Remember that even though certain comments can be infuriating and hurtful, the person saying them probably isn't purposefully trying to be insensitive and will most likely change the subject after a minute or two.

Seek Comfort Where You Can

Consider finding online or in-person support groups. If you are spiritual, attend extra services in your faith or say a special holiday prayer for your baby. If you have any worries that you might be clinically depressed, don't be afraid to see a counselor or other mental health professional for advice.

Don't Feel Bad If You Enjoy Yourself

Remember that just as it's OK to not be in the holiday spirit, it is also OK to smile and have fun. It doesn't mean that you're not mindful of the baby you lost. Don't feel guilty for taking your mind off things and living your life.

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