To my Love during this holiday season,
You look down at your belly and place your hand gently on the slight natural curve. You wonder, What happened? What did I do? Why is there no baby inside? You breathe a deep sigh, which leads to a release of salty water welling up in your eyes, and tears stream down your cheeks. You take another breath and try to keep it all in, knowing that you have other things to get done today. And yet those things don’t even matter, nor do you have desire to do anything besides sit with a warm, bundled-up babe and gaze at the awe and goodness of a miracle.
As you stroll through Target you avoid the section with baby things and make your way to the Christmas aisle in hopes of borrowing some cheer from others or the holiday displays. You hold an ounce of hope but that is too quickly shattered as your eyes happen upon a display of ornaments and focus on the small silver wreath picture frame, engraved with “Baby’s First Christmas.” Your eyes well up and your breathing gets shallow—this is just too much. You have permission to leave all the things in your cart and walk out of the store to your car, where you can release everything. The almost empty box of Kleenex that came home with you from your ultrasound four months ago is in the back seat, on the floor, and waiting to bring you an ounce of soothing.
I am proud of you for mustering up enough energy to decorate your home as a means of going through the motions. You look to the mantle above the fireplace and hold dread of hanging only two stockings up, when you had previously purchased three, with great anticipation of expecting a little one.
It’s just too much.
Don’t even bother with the stockings; leave them in the bin. It’s far kinder to yourself not to place them up and recall every day as what was meant to be.
If attending a Christmas service is something you want to do, may you show up authentically. Give yourself the kindness and honor to have the end-of-a-row seat and let your husband know that if it becomes too much, you are out of there. This escape plan is for your good and is very kind. Listening to the words that describe the leaping of life in Elizabeth’s womb and the miracle of Jesus’ birth for Mary may evoke tears, and it’s okay to let them roll down your cheeks like a river. Just let them roll, my darling.
Christmas doesn’t need to be what it is for everyone else. Be gentle with yourself and may you let me hold hope for you, for what is, and is yet to come. May you experience comfort and perhaps a little joy in the midst of the darkness, grief, and ache. You are being held in love.
Sandhya Oaks is a ministry leader, speaker, writer, and advocate. Born in India and adopted as a Transracial Adoptee in the Midwest, she has been serving with Cru Campus Ministry for more than 13 years and loves developing students and staff. She is the co-founder of The Adoption Triad, a social media group that provides community and resources to those connected to adoption and foster care. Her passion to walk with adoptive families is being lived out through leading virtual Transracial Adoption Parent Groups with Restoration Counseling. Sandhya recently moved to Colorado and spends her free time camping, sipping coffee with friends, and creating tasty charcuterie boards.