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Managing Halloween after pregnancy and infant loss...

Many loss parents find kid-centric holidays a trigger for them. Halloween is the first of the fall/winter kid-centered holidays that many pregnancy and infant loss parents feel triggered by. I mean, it is understandable…we are already living our own unrelenting nightmarish horror story…let’s throw sugared up screaming kids in costumes banging on our doors into the mix…Ugh…NO THANK YOU!

And that is ok. No matter where you are in your loss experience, it is ok to have mixed emotions about holidays that we used to love or look forward to with our families. It is also important to remind yourself that your feelings are “just for now” and as each year goes on your emotions are subject to change..and that is ok too. Even if it sounds like a hot mess. Its only temporary!

So here are some suggestions on how you can avoid the Halloween madness if your heart just isn’t into it this year…

  • Plan a date night out (dinner and a movie, attend a wine tasting or see a comedy show – easy night for reservations!) with your partner or best girlfriends. Don’t come home until after the evening curfew has started.

  • Plan a Netflix and chill night with your partner and watch stand up comedy specials. Laugh, laugh, laugh! Or watch a good slasher flick…tis the season!

  • Plan a self-care night at home! Get your favorite take out, grab a bottle of wine, a good book a face mask and hit the tub or bed. Just be sure to turn off any indoor or outdoor lights that might indicate you are open for trick or treaters. Feel free to put a do not disturb sign on your door! (it’s only temporary!)

  • Plan your weekly grocery shopping that night – Get the pleasure of strolling Target while everyone is home either knocking on doors or opening them. Save your big haul for that night to maximize your time. Treat yourself to your favorite Starbucks drink, buy yourself one nice item (new cosmetics, a new book or new outfit) so you can take your time focusing on nurturing you! Don’t forget to grab a bag of your favorite clearance Halloween candy!

  • Take the day off and take a day trip – Take a ride enjoying the fall foliage in Southeastern Pennsylvania on trip to Lancaster County or down the shore along the Atlantic City Boardwalk where you won’t find trick or treaters.

There are still ways you can acknowledge your baby this Halloween without participating. This includes:

  • Placing a white pumpkin on your porch or doorstep. White pumpkins are a symbol of angel babies during the fall season.

  • Do a random act of kindness in their memory – This could be anything that feels right to you such as buying coffee for the person behind you, making a donation to your favorite charity or handing out small treat bags with candy and a message of love for your baby.

We can anticipate the array of emotions we may or may not feel but what is important to remember is that sometimes what we expect isn’t as bad as it was before or we thought would be. The same is true where we think years later holidays won’t trigger us. Then out of nowhere we feel we are set back years in our healing. If you wake up on Halloween and simply can not handle the day. That is ok. If you wake up surprisingly less emotional as you though, that is ok too. Please try to remember that this roller-coaster grief ride each year brings different feelings. It is important that you just allow those feelings and let them happen, Try not to be waylaid by other’s expectations of you. Trust your instincts and go with them. Truly, only you know what you can or cannot handle.

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