Christmas (and other major holidays) as a birthmother is tough. You can almost physically see the missing chair at the dinner table. You know where your child’s stocking should hang on the chimney. You are keenly aware that holidays are a time for families to come together, but you aren’t your child’s everyday mother, and you are missing out. This can be a tough reality making the holidays a dreaded time of the year for many birthmothers.
The good news is you can survive the holidays and hopefully enjoy them a little bit too! Below are some ways to help you get through the holidays.
• Allow yourself to grieve the loss you feel. Even if placing your child for adoption was your choice, it is still a loss. It’s OK to recognize that and to grieve.
• Let yourself enjoy the holidays. It’s OK to laugh, smile, and have a good time with your family. If you get lost in the moment, that’s a good thing!
• Take care of yourself. If you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed with the busyness of the holiday season, take some time for yourself. Give yourself a night off, treat yourself to a pedicure, bake your favorite holiday treat, etc. Just do something nice for yourself.
• Journaling does wonders for me at this time of year. If the loss of your child is feeling especially heavy, try journaling to purge your emotions.
• Try and do something to honor your child during the Christmas season such as purchasing him or her a special gift, making him or her a Christmas ornament, or making a donation to a charity in his or her name.
• Keep in mind that you are not alone. Many people have a tough time with loss during the holidays. Consider reaching out to others who can relate to what you are going through. If you feel alone or feel like no one else understands your loss, reach out to other birthmothers who can relate to what you are feeling and experiencing. Check out organizations like BirthMom Buds and Big Tough Girl for birthmother support.
• If the grief becomes too overwhelming, please reach out to your adoption caseworker, counselor, or therapist.
Wishing each of you a peaceful holiday season!