The holiday season is upon us. It’s the time of cheesy Christmas sweaters, cookie swaps and pregnancy announcements. I mean what better time to announce wonderful news to the world than on Christmas?
I remember last Christmas we had just started trying for baby number 2. Seeing everyone share their ultrasound pictures and beautiful bumps filled me with a sense of joy and dread. I had no reason to worry that I wouldn’t one day soon also get to share my exciting news, but part of me couldn’t help but to feel like seeing all of these announcements one after the other somehow made me a failure. It was overwhelming.
I started to reflect on my own life and wonder if all of my happy, exciting news had expired. I had no reason to feel this way. We literally had just started trying. I guess even then, I was fragile. I think we all are in a way. Somehow other people’s accomplishments force us to take a real hard look at ourselves. It doesn’t help that everyone seems to be accomplishing the one thing I wasn’t.
This year will be hard and I am bracing myself for it. I think my natural instinct is to be jealous and resentful of other’s happiness. Why do they have what I don’t? I have been conscious about retraining my brain and putting myself back together into a better version of myself. I want to be happy for people and I don’t want it to be fake or forced. I want to feel genuine excitement for them to my core. If I’m anything less than sincere, than its not who I want to be.
It’s been over 3 months since our loss and my husband and I still silently grief. He is a manager at Target and he said that every time he sees a pregnant woman in the baby section his heart caves in. I told him that I know the feeling, but he can’t let jealously or anger strangle his kind spirit. I reminded him that we don’t know her story or how many pregnancy tests she peed on and specialists she saw before she finally got those two pink lines. We don’t know if that baby in her womb has birth defects or some other life changing condition. We don’t know if she’s happily pregnant or supported by her family. All we see is that coveted bump.
Before our loss, I would pray every night for the baby that would complete our family. I’m not religious, but I consider myself a spiritual person. After a while, I started projecting my wishes onto other women that I knew were trying to conceive. I still prayed for my own family, but it felt good to include others that I knew were hoping and wishing for the same thing I was. After our loss, I just couldn’t muster the energy to pray for other’s happiness. I felt so angry and defeated by the universe. For weeks I would lay my head on my pillow and go to bed without so much as an amen. I’ve been seeing an acupuncturist and she has helped to realign my spirit. She reminded me that I need to put out good energy to attract the good. Some days are still very challenging, but I am finding it easier to whole heartedly hope for other’s success. Because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what happened to me, there’s always someone who can use the prayers more than I do.
My experience has stripped me to the most vulnerable version of myself and forced me to put myself back together again. I don’t know if I’ve ever done more self reflection or soul searching. It’s not success that brings out the truth in people, but adversity. I’ve learned so much about myself as well as my husband. I’ve learned that life is delicate and so are emotions. I’ve learned that my happiness shouldn’t be measured by other’s success. I’ve learned that everyone has a story and whether they choose to only divulge the highlights does not mean that they didn’t struggle to get their happy ending.
So to all of you who may be dreading Facebook or holiday get togethers as we near Christmas, please remember that it’s okay to be sad for you and happy for them. Life isn’t easy on any of us. Keep your spirit up and your heart pure.