My baby is just weeks away from turning one, making this year the slowest fastest year of my life. I feel like the days leading up to his December 21st birth were only moments away, but I also feel like I’ve aged 10 years since then.
Even though we are uprooting our whole life right now, I feel so much more zen than I did when I was gestating what felt like a pachyderm 365 days ago. I remember this time last year being so hard. I was beyond uncomfortable, I was paralyzed by anxiety, I was overwhelmed, I was EXHAUSTED, and I felt so much guilt over not being able to or even wanting to make the holidays magical for my other kids.
We had THE worst Christmas morning ever. I sobbed while I held my 4 day old newborn. I hated the entirety of the holiday season last year, except, of course, for that part when I had a beautiful baby boy.
Now, with hindsight, distance, and fewer hormones, I can look back and tell you that even though it was pretty awful being so very pregnant during December, and even though last Christmas was a disaster, it’s fine. It’s all fine. It was always fine.
My kids haven’t once uttered to me that they are hoping I’m less cranky and more excited about hanging ornaments this year. They don’t seem to remember that we didn’t go look at Christmas lights because sitting upright in the car was torture. They haven’t talked about how sad they still are that we never decorated cookies together. They seem to not remember last year as the dumpster fire I do.
It’s hard to be pregnant during the holidays. I’ve been both very pregnant (twice) and newly pregnant with morning sickness (and the flu), and smack-in-the-middle pregnant with my first. There’s a good chance you’ll be pregnant during the holidays at some point. That’s just how the calendar works. So I want you to know this: IT IS OKAY TO HATE THE HOLIDAYS BECAUSE YOU ARE PREGNANT. It is okay to opt out of baking and wrapping and it’s totally fine to tell your kids that your Elf On The Shelf has the chicken pox this year. (Yes, that is a lie you can tell because that’s the beauty of elves and their entire existence.)
It doesn’t have to be about grand gestures and twinkle-lights this year. It doesn’t have to be about thoughtful gifts and beautiful wrapping. It doesn’t have to be about traditions or even visiting family and friends. Strip it down, keep it simple, ask for help, lower your expectations. Make it about calm and quiet. Be intentional about nesting in practical ways, not creating messes to then clean up when you’re even more pregnant or tending to a newborn.
You do not owe anyone manufactured magic. Find the magic and wonder that is already there, and focus on that. There is time for elaborate gingerbread houses and themed Christmas trees in years to come. It’s fine. It will be fine. You can hate this, and it will be fine.