We asked our social media followers what advice you would give to a family experiencing their first holiday season after loss, and here's what you had to say.

"Acknowledge the child that is not there, it’s very hard for the parents to see other children receiving and opening presents, knowing that their little one will never be able to do that. As a family, we obviously can’t buy presents for our lost little one,but we have made the decision that every year we will buy a gift for a child who would be the same age as Ayda and donate that to a charity on her behalf."
"That it's okay to do whatever you want to."

"Buy an ornament for your baby. Make it something specific, like my code word for our first before I told anyone was pickle when we referred to the baby, so we got a pickle ornament. Also having a special candle to light for the holiday season so when you are all gathered, you can light it to represent that baby. In Eastern European culture, we also fill a glass for people who are missing from the dinner and keep them on a window sill near the table." 

"This will be our second Xmas without our daughter… last year was beyond painful. Something I’ve learnt over the last year of 1st milestones is to be proactive in your grief, so actually telling people who are important to you how to support you - I know it feels like you shouldn’t have to do this, but I’ve learnt that so many people mean well but still say the wrong thing, or worse say nothing at all. So send a message in advance to say things like please say my baby’s name, acknowledge and include them… whatever it is that’s important to you. With some direction, people can really show up how you need."

"I do have some words and advice for families facing loss this Christmas: To go gently. If you can, try not to make many plans. That way, if you want to stay in bed or not face the world on that day, you don’t have to. Honour your babies and still cherish the magic of the Christmas season. We do this by donating gifts to our local hospital for children the same age as our stillborn daughters would be now. Hang baubles on the tree to honour your babies or children. Light a candle, and say a blessing for the little ones not here. It’s nearly summer, and the sun is shining. Get out in nature. Go for a bush walk. Visit the beach. Swim in the ocean or the rivers. Soak up the tranquillity and beauty of the gorgeous country around you. Give yourself permission to still smile, laugh and still feel the joy of Christmas."

However, you navigate Christmas, know that we are here for you 365 days a year, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Even on Christmas. 

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