Monday, December 10, 2007

Uncomfortable Christmas Tidings

Christmas time means different things to different people. Long before I was born, people talked about the commercialization of Christmas. No one has really said anything about the commercialization of Thanksgiving. I mean, people aren't upset about turkey farmers making a few extra bucks in November. Or how cranberry bog farmers make most of their money in one week of the year. But on the fat man's holiday, people are concerned about commercialization.

When I think of Christmas, I often wonder about Mary, the mother of Christ. We don't know exactly how young she was, but she was probably a teenager. Joseph was a great deal older than she was, and here she is scared, pregnant and wondering, perhaps, if Joseph will stick around. I mean, really, how many guys would stand by their woman if they said they did not have sex and were pregnant? So when I think of Christmas, I often think about Mary. And Linus talking about Christmas.

Well, several years ago, I was talking to a friend between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and she recalled a very difficult time in her life.

You see, she was pregnant, a few weeks from her delivery date, and "complications arose." She went to see her doctor when the baby stopped moving. Well, the baby died – which she tells everyone, was a good thing because the baby would have had multiple physical problems after delivery. Still, understandably, she was crushed.

But that was not the worse part of the story. No, my dear readers, she still had to deliver the stillborn. So over the next few days, in the shopping malls, at the grocery store, wherever she went, people would comment on her baby and ask excitingly, "How many days?" or "Boy or girl?" or some other question about the baby. These were innocent strangers, happy to see an expectant mother, and their questions reminded my friend about her loss.

She stayed inside four days before the procedure, and the baby was buried by himself. Yes, some family-members questioned her. "After all, it was not really a baby." "She did not love it like one loves a baby." To this day, she will tell you she had three children, two a married with kids of their own, and her little boy Joshua is with the Lord. She chose Joshua because she had to be reminded that God is her salvation. She anticipated that she would have doubts, already cursing God after hearing the original news.

I was chatting with a woman in the UK named jeepster, who had a similar experience. In her own words, much more powerful than mine, follow:

I knew my baby had died long before I did anything about it. I went to see the nurse and told her that I hadn't felt the baby move and she listened for a heart beat, couldn't find one but told me not to worry!!! WTF!!!

I went home and kept it together in front of my husband and at work and all that was going through my mind was: If I tell someone, they will take my baby away from me. I was 7 months pregnant. Eventually, and It must have been 3/4 weeks later I just couldn't do it emotionally anymore. When she was born, she was all curled up in a ball. Like a baby bird that had fallen from the nest.

I had 4 miscarriages after Tegan and now I have two kids but I say I have three. She was very real, she had a beating heart, I held her, I had a funeral she is still with me.


Christmas is a joyous time, but there is also, for many, reminders of tragic events. And it can be a lonely time as well. I know so many people who have lost relatives around Christmas.

So when you are elbowing the pushy brunette while getting that last toy, elbow with care. She may be packing heat. No, no, that's not what I wanted to write. Be compassionate, think of others, and watch sappy Christmas movies.

15 comments:

Prata said...

Or...you know...don't let Christmas be an excuse for being a normal member of the society you live in.

Be a normal member of society (by doing right) simply because you are a member of society..or perhaps...because you're a human.

But whatever ;)

LarryLilly said...

Yeah, my annual posting to my blog represents a milestone, for I USED to sense the personal loss with Christmas.

This year I have let it go. In whatever way it can be. I am heading to Orlando next week for the first time reunion with family, the first since my daughters funeral back in 92. I also get to let my current wife enjoy being a kid she wasnt allowed to have.

And when she was 16, and had a child (many decades before we knew each other) she lost her only child in early December as well, and yeah, together we can talk about holiday losses, and how with life, there is a bitter with the sweet.

Grant said...

Not only that, but the groceries quit carrying my beloved boiled custard in favor of yucky egg nog. Egg nog is just a way to ruin a shot of rum. Plus one of my neighbors filched my keyring, so I'm having to have my locks changed and I'm half hoping they don't take my car, although I don't really like it that much. Hannukwanzaramadamasux greetings and all that.

Ian Lidster said...

Very poignant, Leesa, and it's well to be reminded That is why so many people find Christmas difficult -- reminders.
As for the sad tale of the lady and her baby. The same thing happened to my cousin's wife. It was very difficult for her. Fortunately, later she gave birth to two healthy sons.

RWA said...

That is a sad story, but it does remind us that the holidays aren't pleasant for everyone - and it's not just because they're being a "Scrooge" or a "Grinch."

Leesa said...

Wow on Jeepsters words.

And I'll pass on shopping, I do it all online :)

Leesa said...

prata: not sure Christmas is an excuse. It is a contemplatative time of the year, to be sure.

larry: it is a very brave thing to let it go.

grant: love the line, "Egg nog is just a way to ruin a shot of rum."

ian: this lady had two happy births afterwards as well.

rwa: Scrooge is hopeful. He changed. So did the Grinch.

leesa: Yeah, she has some amazing words.

Prata said...

Oh sure it is. What makes Christmas any more contemplative than the second Tuesday of the month? Or today for that matter? What about yesterday? How about January 22nd? March 4th? Any day of any month?

Christmas (the day or general time period) isn't a special day for people to be contemplative....that's an excuse. People should be contemplative of their life...their actions...and their effect upon others and doing right every day...anything outside of that is just an excuse either to be abnormal or normal in the society in which we live. I can't understand how it can be any other way. If you choose to contemplate your life during Christmas and decide to have a better effect upon the world, that's your choice...you're choosing to do that. You're choosing _not_ to do it everyday. Choosing not to have a more positive effect upon the world or even your very localized area of life each day. That's what I mean..and it's demonstrable by how people choose times to contemplate what is or is not going on in their lives during holidays or some other artificial reason for making or doing things to "improve" themselves. Lent, Christmas, New Years, etc.

Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

I couldn't have done what jeepster did...I would've fallen apart.

And that little statement right there INFURIATES me..."After all, it was not really a baby."

What the hell? I lost my baby at four months and was DEVASTATED. I mean, as soon as you find out your pregnant, you start planning and thinking and discussing names. You get morning sickness and your boobs hurt and you get all emotional...why? Because you're carrying a BABY. It's not like ordering a friggin' pizza....you make PLANS to bring this new little one into the world, you know? How can some people even think like that???

Leesa said...

prata: there is a difference between an excuse and a milestone.

stacey: when we were trying to get pregnant every month, occasionally I would miss a period and then several weeks later I would have a really heavy period. I always knew I was pregnant, but with a non-viable pregnancy. And that hurt. I can't imagine what you and others have gone through.

Prata said...

Milestone? I think you are under the impression I was responding to the "tragic events" you wrote about. I wasn't. I was responding to the last bit, because the "tragic events" are not something I shouldn't be commenting on as I did not go through them.

That bit was...."So when you are elbowing the pushy brunette while getting that last toy, elbow with care. She may be packing heat. No, no, that's not what I wanted to write. Be compassionate, think of others, and watch sappy Christmas movies."

Hope that puts it into perspective for you. Armed with this I believe it makes much more sense why I said excuses..you'll note you didn't mention anything in this paragraph about milestones...people shouldn't be kind and elbow with care just because it's the holidays...they should be doing it everyday...^_^

Leesa said...

okay, I completely missed your point the first two times. And I was trying to be funny - pointing out that we seem to find more pushing and shoving in between wishing people a Happy Christmas, as the British say.

Prata said...

Well do a better job, damnit....and obviously I missed your point the first time around too..so...I blame umm...Grant.. It's his fault. *nods*

Leesa said...

prata: I sort of thought it was either Grant's fault or Satan Claws's fault. And they may be the same person. Grant knows a lot about him and I have never seen both in the same place.

Prata said...

That's a very good point. Hmmm...we must investigate this, and by we I mean you, because I'm not letting him kill me first. hehe