So here’s the thing. I love Christmas. Always have. The overeating, the prosecco, the festive knitwear…all of it. And this year is no different, except it’s like someone multiplied my feelings by 100. I’m finding myself completely overwhelmed and welling up at Christmas songs I don’t even like. I just feel so incredibly happy and excited that I get all tearful and for a couple of weeks I haven’t been able to figure out why, and then it hit me.
This time last year, we were counting down until 23 December and our 12 week scan. I was terrified, as are all pregnant women. But for us, it wasn’t our first 12 week scan and sadly, the previous one hadn’t ended with a happy announcement and healthy pregnancy. So I was doubly terrified. To be honest, even once we had the healthy scan and saw our little baby wriggling away, it took months for me to accept that this was going to happen and I could start to enjoy it.
So last Christmas was hard. Every Christmas song, every party, every film had me start to get excited, only to have the sensible, protective voice in my head tell me to stop being happy, to brace myself for the horrible, emotional reality that only bad things were going to happen to us. I pasted on a smile for the entire months of November and December and struggled hugely with severe anxiety. Barely a day went by without tears – and when a tiny smear of pink appeared on Christmas Eve, our festive period was a write off (to clarify, our little baby was fine. But there was no support on hand except A&E over the bank holidays so we decided to sit it out in awful, tearful, terrified suspense and tell almost no-one).
Fast forward a year to me sitting in the Bluewater food court playing with our daughter, with tears in my eyes because Wizzard is playing, and it suddenly all makes sense. I can’t quite believe my luck. My baby-sick-covered, exhausted, stinky-pooey luck. She’s here. She’s healthy and a real person and a challenge and a love and just our absolute everything. All things I was 110% certain would not happen for us if you’d asked me this time last year.
So I apologise if you catch me with a tear in my eye during the Christmas songs on the radio, or as we pass a choir singing in the street, or if my voice breaks when the John Lewis advert comes on the TV. I’m just feeling all the festive feels you’re supposed to feel, magnified by 100. I am grateful, and feeling lucky, and I want to hug everyone I love.
And to those currently feeling like we felt last year; I can’t know for sure where your next year will go or what else you might have to struggle through. But I can tell you that whatever life has in store, you will survive. It’s a cliche, but it will make you stronger and leave you with an incredible gratitude for the important things. You’re not alone – there are people everywhere who on their Christmas-jumper-wearing surface have not a care in the world; but who bear the scars of painful Christmases past. We’re here for you, we understand. Be kind to yourself and know that one day, with a mince pie in hand, you’ll find yourself once again enjoying the festive feels.