Our first Christmas after loss – Danielle’s story

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After Danielle’s baby Hamish was stillborn weeks before Christmas, that first holiday season was unlike any other. Since then, remembering and including Hamish at this special time of year has helped Danielle and her family cherish their memories of their firstborn baby.

After Danielle’s baby Hamish was stillborn weeks before Christmas, that first holiday season was unlike any other. Since then, remembering and including Hamish at this special time of year has helped Danielle and her family cherish their memories of their firstborn baby.

I was bursting with excitement when I fell pregnant for the first time, and we couldn’t wait to share the news with our families. The first twenty weeks of my pregnancy went by smoothly. But at the 20-week scan, I was referred for hospital care. Hamish had a low growth rate. Our little boy’s movements slowly decreased. Until finally, he stopped moving.

Our Hamish was stillborn at 21 weeks and five days in November 2019.

Hamish’s little nose and fingers were so beautiful. I remember lying next to him in the hospital and admiring them. It should have been a time of Christmas and holiday events, filled with preparation and anticipation to see friends and family.

Instead, we planned a funeral and endured a heartbreaking journey home from the hospital with empty arms.

Empty.

Without Hamish, that’s how our first Christmas felt. The joy others were exhibiting was unbearable. We decided not to attend any Christmas events that year and stayed home together. We held off making the decision, thinking that maybe we’d feel less apprehension with more time, but we didn’t. So we did what felt right for us.

It was vital for us to acknowledge our feelings and permit ourselves to do what felt right. We needed space to grieve and remember Hamish in our way.

Our first Christmas after Hamish died was so hard.

I know this decision was right for us. I can see how others might have found attending Christmas events a welcome distraction. A way to surround yourself with people who understand and support you. But we weren’t ready.

For us, it was a good decision to opt-out of celebrations. It was an act of self-preservation.

The right way to spend Christmas Day looks different for everyone. I’m lucky to have supportive friends and family who respected the decision I made.

Sixteen months ago, we were fortunate enough to welcome Hamish’s little sister, Matilda, into our family. Expanding our family hasn’t meant we’ve forgotten Hamish. He remains and always will be our firstborn, and we ensure his inclusion in our celebrations. Including Hamish in our Christmas plans is essential as it helps us stay close to him.

We have little rituals. Hamish has a stocking and an ornament on the tree. We also give him a gift that he shares with Matilda.

At this time of the year, we remember our beautiful baby boy. His birth, his appearance, and how we chose his name. Our love didn’t die with Hamish, it is boundless, and we love to talk about him.

He’s our firstborn. We’ll never forget him.


Last reviewed: 20/1/22