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Festive season plans

(11 Posts)
literaryone Thu 29-Nov-12 11:56:01

I had a second-trimester stillbirth at 19 weeks, a little less than three months ago, in early September. I was at my parents' home when this happened, in another city (1000 km away). Around a month back, I had to make some decisions on what to do over the festive season. We usually celebrate Christmas with my parents (my husband's family doesn't celebrate it at all). I was not very comfortable with the idea of being there for the celebration -- extended family with babies are bound to be around, and on the whole, the symbolism of a baby and hope is kicking me in the gut. So I told my parents I was going to be away (in a third city) spending time with a friend who is soon moving out of the country. However, I did say I would probably be at their place for a couple of days just before the New Year.

Fastforward another month to today, and I am just dreading the thought of going there at all. My parents are terribly sociable and usually have a dozen people come over for something or the other on any given day. This means a lot of encounters with people I am not necessarily comfortable with, who know what has happened. I frankly feel more comfortable in my own space, where I can meet people I choose to meet and avoid others I can't cope with, or at my friend's house, where the same is true.

The only problem is that they took it for granted I'd be there. Further complicating things is the fact that they have a landmark anniversary coming up in mid-January. They've said that it's okay if I skip that small celebration, as I will be around just two weeks previously. But I don't know if I want to be.

I don't want them to feel like I'm rejecting them or avoiding them but I actually am, because in some odd way, I can't cope with their grief and disappointment. They were grieved and very traumatized. It can't be easy having to stand by helplessly as your daughter gives birth to your first grandchild, knowing that he's already dead. It's strange, but I feel like I let them down in some terrible way. Phone conversations with them have never been as stilted and monosyllabic as they are now. I don't dare cry on the phone with them because it upsets them, but I don't feel cheerful.

And I still haven't quite gotten over the fact that I should have been heavily pregnant for both Christmas and their anniversary and we had made plans months ago around that fact.

Sorry for the epic, I'm partly just venting. What would you do? Go there or just skip it? I could deal with having them at my place, but they won't come here for either celebration.

CupcakesAndMulledWine Thu 29-Nov-12 12:09:07

Literary I am so sorry to hear about your baby. I have no personal experience of what your going through but didn't want to leave your post unanswered. I think you should explain to your parents how anxious you are feeling about visiting. You are all still grieving, hopefully they will understand and support you whether you manage to visit or not.
Maybe they could come to visit you instead? This must be very difficult for you with Christmas & your due date coming up.

Have you got support at home? Do you have a partner/DH?

I think it's totally understandable that you are worried about having to socialise with people you barely know. I have been trying to conceive for a long time & on my darkest days get very stressed about going out/meeting people especially if they know anything about our infertility. I feel like a shadow of my former self & feel like I'm being fake by trying to laugh & joke with people.

You have got to be kind to yourself. If you don't feel you can manage it, do not go.

Wishing you all the best

CupcakesAndMulledWine Thu 29-Nov-12 12:14:17

Sorry I've just re read your post and see you mention your DH & that your parents won't come to you.

I just want to reiterate that you must do whatever you and your DH feel comfortable with. If that means you don't manage to visit them then so be it. I'm sure your parents will not want to cause you any distress at this time.

Lots of (((hugs)))

literaryone Thu 29-Nov-12 12:31:09

Thank you so much for the sympathy and advice, Cupcakes. My husband is very supportive and has told me to do whatever I'm comfortable with. He started celebrating Christmas only a few years ago when we got married, so he's not fussed about it. Unfortunately, his relationship with his parents is quite different from mine with my parents, so he doesn't always understand how fraught these decisions are!

What kills me, some of the time, especially with people I don't know too well or people I know well who have children or are expecting them, is that I can make out that I'm an object of pity and horror for them. A "there but for the grace of god go I" sort of thing. There'll be a lot of that around if I do go to my parents'. Sometimes I'd rather that people just don't say, "but how ARE you?" in quite that way!

CupcakesAndMulledWine Thu 29-Nov-12 12:47:12

Oh I know Literary it's hard but most people don't know how to react/respond in these situations. I can imagine how difficult it is to grin and bear their "sympathy". Im sure the majority of people would be mortified to think they had caused you any distress.

I am sure that unfortunately that if you go you will probably be exposed to some insensitive comments/looks. It's human nature I'm afraid. I guess you will have to deal with this at some point whenever you next choose to visit. However it's completely up to you when you feel ready to. Hope you come to an agreement with your parents. I meant to say before you have in no way let them down. I'm sure that things will improve over time, they are probably worried about saying something that might upset you. Phone conversations can be really difficult when dealing with sensitive subjects. Let me know how you get on x

literaryone Fri 30-Nov-12 06:51:35

I've decided I probably won't go there at all but will tell them to come visit here instead, maybe in January or February.

Thank you, Cupcakes, for sharing your thoughts. xox

sleeplessinsuburbia Fri 30-Nov-12 07:39:03

I'm sorry for your loss, I have also had a stillbirth after 23 weeks plus a couple of miscarriages in the second trimester and it changes you. I also avoided large gatherings for a while but my advice to myself (not you) is now to get out there. I had family tell people I didn't want to discuss it and by large most people won't anyway. You may get a few "I'm sorry about your loss" comments but they just need a nod a thanks and move on. I found I was dreading the worst but it was a relief to move on.
If you're not ready though then you just have to wait it out and tell your family you're still not ready. I'm now pregnant again and still have random breakdowns so it will take a while. Good luck

literaryone Tue 04-Dec-12 08:51:27

Thanks for your insight, sleeplessinsuburbia. I know it's important to get out there again but I don't feel ready just yet -- I'd rather be in environments where I can control who I meet than be somewhere else where I can't.

literaryone Tue 04-Dec-12 08:52:08

Congratulations on your pregnancy and wishing you a healthy and uneventful time of it! smile

sleeplessinsuburbia Tue 04-Dec-12 11:33:03

Thanks but there's always a shadow. All the best.

literaryone Tue 04-Dec-12 12:23:36

I'll be thinking of you.

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