#1228: Miscarriage and The Holidays

The letter is behind a cut for people who don’t want to read past the subject line rn. ❤

Blanket The Holidays™ Reminder: If you are dreading your usual winter holiday celebration for whatever reason, you can change it/cancel it/stay home from it/DEFINITELY NOT HOST IT. People might be disappointed. So what? I read somewhere that once upon a time there was a family who hoped for a comfy hotel room and ended up in the barnyard. Disappointing! And yet, the world kept turning.

Hey, Cap.

My husband and I have been trying to grow our family and it hasn’t been going great. 

We began trying officially on our honeymoon in feb. nothing “stuck” so to speak until the second cycle of trying. Many “first try” jokes were had by all. Pregnancy had been confirmed by medical professionals and we were gearing up to tell close family members when the worst happened— I miscarried in May. Not just in May— I literally spent our first wedding anniversary in the emergency room , losing our baby. 

It was a lot, Cap.

Getting through (past? Over?) this has taken all of my strength since then. Maybe more than that because I’m still not through (past? Over?) it. It’s been hard on husband too, but there’s a certain private grief to this. 

Now, the “empty” due date would be December 22, which we are barreling towards with alarming speed. The past several years, husband and I have hosted Christmas Eve and since last year I’d made many (loud/opinionated/aggressive) noises about hosting the whole dang Christmas because splitting time between the families was fraught and stressful enough to render the entire holiday un-enjoyable. So here we are in October and I honestly don’t want to see anyone the whole week. I mentioned it to husband just tonight and the most sincere thing I could say was, “I want to go hide in the woods.”

I do not like the woods. I am not a woods person. 

I’m unsure if I should make myself so busy hostessing that my grief is concealed from even me or if should beg of sick and hide under the bed crying for a week about what might have been.

How do I explain what I’m mourning? How do I avoid everyone after demanding custody of this already emotionally charged holiday? Can I just pretend I won a contest to send me alone on a cruise and hide under my bed?

I’m still not pregnant and the family that knew I miscarried knows I’m not. Part of My me feels like if I had a private joy growing inside right now this would be a bit easier to bear. 

It’s all bullshit Cap, it really is.

How can I convince everyone to let me hide in a broom closet on Christmas and then resume hostessing duties in a year? I like hosting. And cooking. And the whole nine. Just not this time-not the first time. How do I navigate? Help?


Not Enough Egg Nog in The World 

Hi Not Enough Egg Nog In The World,

I am so very sorry. That all sounds like the worst.

My suggestion is to deputize your husband to call/telegram/email/text all affected parties about whatever portion of the news you feel able to share – and, I cannot stress this enough – CALL OFF HOLIDAY HOSTING THIS INSTANT. If he’s willing and able, let him be the buffer/filter for everyone’s logistical concerns and feelings for now.

Possible message script:

Hi family, we’re writing to share some sad news and let everyone know we’re going to need a very quiet [Holiday] this year and won’t be able to host like we planned.

[Insert whatever info about the pregnancy loss you are comfortable with sharing, even something as simple as “We were about to spill the exciting news about a pregnancy but unfortunately [LW] suffered a miscarriage and while everyone is physically recovered we’re still grieving.” You do not need to be more specific about timing or anything else.]

We’re not sure yet whether we’ll be able to join you for celebrations or if we’ll try to get out of town for a few days, we’ll have to play that by ear, but we wanted to get the word out that we’re not hosting so people could make other plans.” 

Then let your families handle it from there. You don’t have to “convince” anyone of anything, you just have to take care of you and grieve as you feel necessary. Where everyone eats Christmas dinner is INCREDIBLY NOT YOUR PROBLEM this year, if you feel like company you can join whatever someone else arranges this year (or not) and resume hosting next year (or not) as you wish.

And you don’t have to answer one single intrusive question from a relative about your reproductive situation. Honestly, if anyone tries to make you feel weird about literally any of it, let me know. If they’re within an hour of Chicago I will fight them in real life. 

Wishing you healing, and peace, and every good thing while you’re stuck in the woods and again when you’re ready to come out.