long distance

Our plan for Christmas was to stay here and wait for the babies to be born. Even with a late February due date, a transatlantic flight did not seem like a good idea for this time. Now that everything turned out so differently from what we hoped, we’re back to the question of to stay or to go – or to go somewhere else entirely. And it is not easy.

After A and C were born, both H’s parents and my dad offered to come. We declined. We felt that we’d need time for just the two of us. Our apartment is small. Given the distance they’d stay for at least 2 weeks*, and that just seemed more than what we could handle.

But of course they need to grieve as well, and they want to comfort us. We’ve been talking and emailing, which I think has helped everyone, at least most of the time**.

We’ve thought about flying over for Christmas. It might help us process the experience some more, it might help them, and perhaps we could begin the new year with hope for new things to come. Not that we’ll ever forget A & C, but we would like to be hopeful again.

But then there is the high potential for more insensitive comments. On my side of the family, Christmas is a difficult time to begin with – our family cohesion has really suffered after my mom’s death, one of my siblings isn’t even coming home any more because of a quarrel with my dad’s wife, and this whole situation doesn’t lead to happiness under the tree.

We’ve thought about going to Hawaii instead. We certainly need a vacation, and one for just the two of us. But somehow this doesn’t feel right either. We worry we might not be able to enjoy it, between the loss of A & C and neglecting our families back in our home country. Plus, it’s much harder to look over other people’s big baby bellies in a bikini than it is when they’re underneath thick winter coats…

We could just stay here, of course. That would be a very lonely and sad Christmas. Which somehow feels the most appropriate – but it probably isn’t helpful when thinking about healing, about becoming hopeful again.

Now we actually bought flights – on somewhat inconvenient dates, but those were the least outrageous prices. When we made the decision we figured we’d be sad wherever we were, so we might as well try and make our families a bit happier. Yet, booking these flights released much more raw sadness than I expected – on the last trip (less than two months ago!) we were so confident that the next one would be with our babies. It is so hard to face the reality that this won’t be the case. And as soon as we had bought the tickets we doubted it had been the right decision. And we’re still in that undecided spot. Haven’t even told our families about the tickets. We don’t want to go, we don’t want to stay… the one thing we would want is, sadly, impossible.

* I imagine my dad might actually just stay for a few days, but the inviting one party and not the other would have led to jealousy and other complicated feelings that we didn’t want, either.
** MIL, who is devastated by our loss, has made a number of really insensitive comments – apparently it is not obvious that someone else’s pregnancy announcement is not what we need in the week after our babies’ death.

13 thoughts on “long distance

  1. I am so sorry for the sadness you feel, which is so understandable. I hope and pray you will find peace, comfort, and healing in this time and over the holidays. I was missing my little nephew this week and I can’t imagine how much greater that feeling is for you as the mother of your twins.
    What is your email? I would like to share something with you if you would like :)
    Hugs to you and your hubby and the rest of your family!

  2. We have the travel dilemma too, as we always have to split the holidays between our two families who live really far apart from each other. It’s never fun to decide, and especially not for you now that you have so much else to deal with. Don’t feel guilty for cocooning, if that’s what you need this year. It’s not about the others, it’s about you guys and your well being right now.

  3. Oh, what a tough situation, CC. As you said, it seems like there is just no good option. No matter where you go, the Holidays will probably be sad and difficult. It’s a matter of where and with whom you want to be sad, which is just incredibly unfair and terrible and just NOT want I wanted for you. I think the hope will come back. I don’t know when and I don’t know if it will be at Christmas, but I think the hope will come back.
    Thinking of you

  4. I’m so sorry you’re needing to navigate this. Though you’re kind to be thinking of others in your family, I think you should focus on your own needs and being as kind and gentle to yourselves (you and H) and not worry about anyone else. I know that may not offer much guidance, though, if you’re not sure where you most need/want to be, given the availability choices.

  5. Oh what an awful, heartbreaking decision. It certainly sounds like a case of whatever you guys choose will be the RIGHT choice, and as you say, there’s no possible option that won’t be filled with sorrow. My hope is that if you choose to be with family, they will help you heal as you help them heal.

  6. Our first Christmas after Oscar and Bella were born was horrible. Our due! date was January 1, so we were in a similar situation…we wouldn’t have been going anywhere for Christmas, but then they were born and died. Jon and I struggled with what to do. We ended up going up to my hometown on Christmas Eve and left unexpectedly, because of some family comments, after Christmas dinner. Some of my family was supportive, but the people that weren’t tipped me over the edge. So, Jon and I drove back home (3 hours) on Christmas Day. I called my mom from the car (she was the most supportive person) sobbing because I didn’t get to say good-bye to her and tell her how much it meant that she let us grieve how we wanted.

    Since you’ll be flying, heading back home if things don’t go well doesn’t really sound like an option. I would suggest you come up with a Plan B and a Plan C. Maybe find a hotel that you can stay at so that if you need to leave, you have a safe place to go. Maybe come up with a code word used only between you and your partner so that you can easily signal when you need to get out to take a breather.

  7. We alternate which of our families we spend Christmas with and which we see after. This is my parents’ year for Christmas – only I guess that means more just my dad’s. I know just what you mean about knowing exactly what you want and it’s not being an option. I’m so sorry.

  8. Thank you all! It’s good to be reminded that we need to take care of ourselves.
    Brianna, the emergency code sounds like a good plan, we will think of one. We’re also visiting different family members so, if one party is unsupportive, we can move to another. Of course, if it all becomes too much we’ll have a problem…

  9. I’m sure no matter what you do will probably be difficult, but as you said, you will be sad no matter what. Hopefully you will be able to find comfort amongst family. I’m so sorry you have to have this debate and sadness at all. Xoxo

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