We got our first taste of what holidays are going to be like without Ava on Halloween yesterday. I really didn’t think Halloween would bother me too much since I’ve never been a big fan of the holiday anyway. My goal over the last month has just been to get through October 25th; Ava’s due date. Part of me believed that once I was past the day she should have been born that a small weight would be lifted off my shoulders, and at the very least I could stop falling apart every time I heard of a pregnancy or saw a pregnant woman. I guess my rationale was that I would be able to tell myself that I shouldn’t be pregnant anymore and maybe that fact alone would help me find a little bit of peace when I was faced with news of pregnancies and big bellies. It didn’t happen. I still fall to pieces and break down sobbing every time I see a new pregnancy announcement. I still avoid pregnant bellies like the plague. And what’s worse is that now I know that every waking moment should be a moment spent taking care of Ava, and no task or busyness takes that pain away. I woke up yesterday morning imagining what it would feel like to go and pick her up from her crib and snuggle her next to me on the couch. I imagined holding her little hands and talking to her as she smiled back at me. It’s true, I shouldn’t be pregnant anymore, I should be home adjusting to caring for my sweet baby and soaking up every moment with her. Instead, I spend much of my time alone, dreaming about her, wishing there were a way to bring her back, trying to fill the time until Ryan gets home from work so that I have someone to talk to who “gets it.” For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been in the process of looking for another job. I currently am employed at the hospital where I delivered Ava, and the thought of walking back in that place for work gives me extreme anxiety. I’m so fortunate to have a husband who works extremely hard to make ends meet while I search for a job that will fill my heart and honor my baby girl.
Anyway, Halloween was crap from the moment I woke up. Everything that could anger, frustrate, irritate, or cause me to break down happened all in one day. Things that had nothing to do with Halloween sent me over the edge. I couldn’t get over the fact that I should be taking photos of Ava in her first Halloween costume. We had to leave during the time our neighborhood was doing their trick-or-treating because I couldn’t bear to see all the kids dressed up at the doorstep where we should have been handing out candy with our baby in our arms. I was sad because I felt forgotten. I felt like Ava was forgotten. My expectations can be unrealistic at times; but I just wanted everyone and anyone to ask what we needed to get through our first holiday without her. It broke my heart to know that Ava’s aunts, uncles, and grandparents were probably spending the evening with their dressed-up children or grandchildren and Ava couldn’t be a part of it. Not to say that anyone did anything wrong. I wouldn’t expect other family members not to celebrate holidays with their kids; it’s just painful to be on the other end. To be honest, I’m scared to death of the emotions that Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year are going to bring. I know that, by choice, we are going to be alone. Our hearts can’t handle holidays with family this year. I know that we need to have a plan, because I know that it’s not anyone’s responsibility to have one laid out for us. And I know that without a plan we are headed for disaster. I just wish we didn’t have to. I wish there were a way to hibernate through all of the holidays and wake up next year; which is such a strange thing for me to say because I normally love the holiday season.
I wish I could say that things are getting better, but it wouldn’t be true. In some ways things are worse, and in other ways they are just different. Some days can be okay, and other days feel like day one. It’s something that you really do have to take day by day and accept the moments as they come. If anyone has any suggestions for getting through the holidays after losing a child, I’d love to hear them.