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.