Why do we compare our grief to others and feel unworthy of feeling what we feel?
I took part in a bauble making workshop on Sunday. I spent four blissful hours dedicated to making something in memory of Daisy and it was just beautiful to give her that time. Spending that time with other bereaved parents, who understand this whole sorry journey, is quite frankly, priceless. Creativity is such a great way to be mindful, and I love being creative, and mindful! It was a beautiful afternoon at The Riverside Hotel in Kendal, Cumbria, and I cherished every moment, thinking about Daisy. Yes it was emotional, and yes it was a little distance to travel, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Then there was the lady who got upset and was worried she hadn’t processed her loss and kept saying she should be over it by now. Should you? Who says? I’m not even going to share how long ago the loss was or what gestation, because it’s irrelevant!
What leads us to think like this? Is it an internal acceptance as in I can’t accept that I’m still grieving? Or is it forgiveness of ourselves and others for what we have experienced? Although I completely understand that this can be a hard one for bereaved parents, I feel, forgiveness of yourself, no matter the circumstances or reasons, is absolutely key to the healing/grieving process. Acceptance and forgiveness are the two hardest things to process during any grief. And what if you don’t even have a reason as to why you lost your baby. Or what if the reason is because of something that did or didn’t happen during pregnancy?
Is it the way the medical profession or society handle it? If you have a loss under 24 weeks there isn’t a birth certificate provided, there is a huge definition between the types of loss. There is less done in terms of support through subsequent pregnancies after miscarriage, even in some instances after multiple miscarriages. And as a society we almost adopt this “well it wasn’t a developed baby” attitude. Yes, but it was developing and growing, there was a positive pregnancy test, Mum could feel changes to her body, and may have seen a heartbeat on an early scan. There was a life growing, along with the first day at school, proms, graduation, marriage, not to mention Christmas’ birthday’s family days out, holidays…I mean the list is endless.
When I lost Daisy at 25 weeks, she was perfect. I was amazed at how developed she was, and beautiful of course. And I have had the ultimate privilege of having photo’s shared with me by lots of bereaved parents, from all stages of loss, and I would challenge anyone to think that these babies weren’t babies, partly because of the love and attention given to these beautiful little souls.
Add in some pressure from family and friends wondering when you will be back to yourself, suggesting that maybe it’s time to go back to work, or to stop being upset… And then your employer expecting you to return to work before you feel able to. And we begin to wonder if there’s something wrong with us because we are still upset. And so we go in search of others who may feel the same. And we compare, we ‘should’ ourselves and we start putting expectations on ourselves.
One thing I have learned is allowing myself to be with my feelings and emotions. And so I spent time exploring the emotions that I felt on Sunday. Because one thing is for sure I don’t want to hold that inside at all. I have learned to look inwards and not outwards to make sense of my feelings. It’s something I’ve had to learn to do, and it doesn’t feel comfortable. There are times when I feel so wretched and heartbroken when I do it, that I feel like I’m transported right back to the time I lost her. But I also know that holding on to that emotion and those feelings, for me, manifested itself as a physical and emotional illness (another blog post, for another time). And I feel so amazing afterwards as though I’ve shed that layer of feelings and I can think clearly again. I have decluttered my wellbeing!
Please don’t compare yourself or put pressure on yourself. We are all allowed to grieve and do that on our own terms, there is no time limit, no right or wrong way and it absolutely doesn’t matter what the next persons experience was. The only thing that matters is that we find comfort in each other, with the one thing that has brought us together, our babies.
In the quiet, there you are
In the beauty of nature
You fill me with wonder
Everywhere I go
I see you