Saturday, December 6, 2014

12 Days of Christmas: Day Six

Welcome to Day Six of the All That Love Can Do 12 Days of Christmas! You can read all about this online event HERE. If you'd like to catch up on all the posts from this event, you can find them HERE

Facing the holidays without your baby, or when you know your baby's life is going to be short, is overwhelmingly hard. Please, above all else, be gentle with yourself. 

If you'd like to connect with other loss families facing the holidays without their children, you can join the private group on Facebook, HERE

We hope you find peace and healing in the days to come <3.

~ ~ ~
Day Six: On Luna and Being Merry

Our daughter Luna died last year, on the night of Winter's Solstice, in a loving and peaceful planned home birth. We knew, from the very first time we glimpsed her little body on a ultrasound machine, that Luna would not be staying on to live with us. We knew, on through to the day she died at 26 weeks and 4 days gestation, that we would share life with her only while she lived inside my body.

We chose to live Luna's whole life with her because we had that choice, because it was what we wanted to do, what we felt in our hearts. 

Every day she was alive was a gift.

We chose to have a very intimate home birth, to greet her and then let her go, to let her body guide my body in birth as it had in her life.
Life after Luna died and was born is sometimes lonely, sometimes sad, sometimes so brimming over with love and the need for her, to hold her, to see her face. I wonder what her voice would have sounded like. I wonder if she'd by chubby. I wonder what it would be like to have a daughter I can kiss every day.

Life is so much more authentic now, having known her, so much fuller, more vibrant. The pain and the love, they are like two sides of a coin that is constantly flipping, light as air. We are learning to flow, to let ourselves be guided by this love and whatever it brings.

The holidays were hard last year. Luna's first Christmas. With no stupid pictures and no stupid cute outfits or nothing. The holidays are always a little difficult for me. There seems to be a lot of emphasis on being merry and joyous, a lot of emphasis on buying things and having things. And a whole lot of dark and cold days. Although I do try to be a bit less consumerist, I do not personally have any qualms against merriment. But last year, I did not feel merry. I also did not want to make the holiday season sad for my two older boys.

What we did, instead, was make the holidays season about the kids, like always. Christmas was a celebration for all three of my babies. It was Luna's first Christmas, after all...

My first action for survival was to let myself off the hook for pretty much everything. The big Christmas celebration, where we live, is on the 24th at night. I wanted to spend that night at home, with my husband and our boys and Luna's godmother and her little family. So we did. We got together with the rest of the family the next day: christmasy enough, but not as emotionally charged for me. And people just dealt with it. I was on survival mode, here.

My friend brought over most of the food. We exchanged homemade presents. She got me a moon shaped rock that so, so touched my heart. I actually spent the evening in sweatpants (they were black, which is somehow fancy. And I wore a nice top, ok?). Sweatpants are not required, but for me, it was a social sign of nonconformity, a sign of mourning. My sweatpants were the all-black attire that people wore a hundred years ago in mourning after a loved family member died. It was my social signifier of love and grief and mourning and survival. My grandmother got married in mourning clothes because her father had died the year prior. That was sweatpants for me. But by all means, do be fancy. Fancy is good too. Find the merry wherever it speaks to you.

And the boys. Well... we had a very crafty holiday season. We bought clear tree ball ornaments. We filled them with little notes for Luna and hung them on our tree. We made our own holiday cards with stamps we created out of erasers and foam... they had pine trees and a beautiful moon on them. We painted jars and made lanterns- we painted our family, the moon, hearts, everything love (as well as dinosaurs, whales, trees and knights of course). We made homemade cookies and cut out the shapes we love. A lot of cookies were cut by hand, in different sizes, for each member of our family.

Luna was there.

It was her first Christmas, and it was beautiful.

If this is your first Christmas without your baby, you don't need me to tell you that it will be nothing like what you had dreamed. It might be a kick in the gut, it might leave you breathless and a mess of overwhelming tears hiding in the bathroom while others unwrap presents. It is a time for peace, and a time for love. And you, sweet mamma with the broken heart and empty arms, need all the peace and love around. 

Be kind with yourself, be gentle and undemanding. You can do this, you already are. You are love and your child is love. 

Find that love in the quiet, in the loud... give yourself whatever you need to feel the soft glimmer of your baby's love this Christmas. Wherever the holidays find you, I wish you peace, and a moment of connection with your beautiful child.

~ ~ ~
I am Cheli Blasco. I was born in Argentina. Later, I moved to NYC to get a degree in Comparative Literature and, ultimately, a husband. In Madrid, Spain, I became a mother and a doula. My two homeschooled boys keep me happy and partly crazy. Our third child, our daughter Luna, was born at 26 weeks and 5 days gestation. From the very beginning we learned that she had a syndrome that, in her case, was incompatible with life. She was born at home in a beautiful and loving birth that was heart-wrenching and healing. My blog is dedicated to her, and to everything that I am slowly learning as I mother her pure soul. 

Cheli is also a regular contributor for Still Standing Magazine


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