Monday, 21 November 2011

Our first Post-Pip Christmas

Every story has a beginning and an ending. Most stories usually have one significant event that changes the course of the lives of all affected by it, or many little events that make up the story itself. Whatever the story, I think that most stories also have a "pre" and a "post" and so it is that our story of Pip has a pre and a post to it also.

I've always loved Christmas. There really is no two ways about that, Christmas has always been an event in our household ever since we were married. It's a time when our family comes together, or while we were living overseas, it was a time we spent with close friends usually alongside a Christmas feast which takes almost ten times as long to cook and prepare as it takes to eat it all. We love our presents, not for what is contained in the gifts themselves, but mainly for the fun of going out and picking or making something that will give the other person joy, a laugh or two and something they may even treasure for a while.

All of the above is of course Pre-Pip.

I remember hoping last year when we'd first started trying for a baby that I would have some lovely news to share at Christmas time. What could be a better gift than knowing that a beautiful little person is growing inside you and will soon join your family? December 2010 came and went without that news I was hoping for, but despite the disappointment we had a great time together as a family and I took it in stride. 

So when I found out that we were pregnant in July this year, I was so excited about what this Christmas would be like with our little one this time. If everything has gone well, I'd be around about 5 months pregnant at Christmas time. It would also have been around the time when our baby would have started to move, dance and kick in the womb. I couldn't wait to feel that for myself and I know my family would have fawned over every little thing with this baby. 

In a Post-Pip world, Christmas will come and go as usual. There will be the usual Christmas feast with the usual suspects. But there will be one little person missing from the picture. I don't think Christmas will ever be the same again for me. For the first time in what feels like forever, I'm not looking forward to Christmas. At all. Where before there was a feeling of excitement and anticipation, now there only seems to be an empty bleakness.

Loosing Pip was like being hit by the grief and loss freight train. Most days I'm surprised that I have barely survived. At first there is nothing but numbness. Then comes the incredible pain which is all consuming. Then slowly by slowly I've started to learn how to take that pain and live with it. Now I feel like I'm getting ready to start doing all the things I've done normally before, only knowing that life will never be the same again. This is my new normal.

And so as Christmas rolls around this year, somehow quite by accident I've just realised that I'm part of 4 different Secret Santa's. One for work, one with a bunch of my special girlfriends and the other two are for two separate baby loss networks I'm a part of. The handmade holiday gift exchange with the girls at Grieve out Loud (GOL) and the other is a baby loss mama's group on facebook.

The handmade holiday gift exchange appeals to me because it's handmade. These past few months have had the recurring theme of handmade. Pre-Pip I'd lost my connection with handmade, but Post-Pip I've slowly started to rediscover that connection and how much I truly love making things with my hands. 

Now I'm both excited and scared about what I will be making to exchange which I joined at the last minute by the grace of my lovely penpal at GOL. But therein lies the miracle. Where before I wasn't looking forward to any part of Christmas, now there is a little glimmer of hope and something different. Maybe Christmas will never be the same again, but maybe like my new normal, it may just take a little bit of getting used to.

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