Grieving the loss of a baby is such a deeply private experience. It's not something that can be explained... only lived. I find myself looking to others for validation and acceptance. I've learned that pregnancy loss is also an extremely lonely process and that I can look to nobody but myself for how I should feel. A friend recently told me that when remove all the "shoulds" in this process I would finally begin to heal. That is difficult to say the least... I'm a people pleaser by nature and want to feel like what I'm experiencing and the way I'm handling it is "normal". What I'm discovering is that there is no "normal" in grieving the loss of your child. Family and friends can offer suggestions on what might help me to move forward but ultimately healing will happen in my own time, which is not something I can even define.
My goal this week is to begin to put one foot in front of the other... waking up in the morning instead of staying in bed all day, taking a shower and getting dressed. Mom has suggested I get in the car and go somewhere, perhaps the beach or the mall and take a walk, something. I'm still on a leave of absence from work and don't feel I'm equipped to get through the workday at this point. I've really beat myself up for being out of work but I'm realizing that all the time I spend beating myself up is time NOT spent grieving the loss of my sweet little baby, which means it's time not spent IN the healing process... only analyzing the healing process. In a sense I've stunted my own healing growth by all the "shoulds" and "shouldn'ts". As I said in my first post... this is a "learn as I go" experience since I've never been through this before.
Learning to trust myself means allowing myself to grieve without judgment and without feeling guilty; trusting that I'm handling this in the best way that I can and that there is no "wrong" way to handle the death of my baby.
I began seeing a new therapist today, as the first one didn't prove to be at all helpful. He was really quite good and I think our sessions will be productive over time. He was extremely sensitive to my feelings of grief and depression. He acknowledged that this is a profound loss and that my absence from work and time spent grieving and crying and thinking things over and over are completely appropriate. He encouraged me to write about my feelings so I think this blog will be very helpful in the long run and my hope is that it may help someone else along the way.
As I sit here and type I'm feeling tempted to bring this post to a close because it is getting so long but I still have more to say... so I will continue to write.
I thought I might list some things that have been helpful for me in the last couple of weeks.
~ allowing myself to be alone in the beginning and now as more time is passing, allowing (and often forcing myself) to be around other people... I usually don't feel like it but often I'm glad I did spend that time with someone else.
~ allowing myself to distance myself from people who have made insensitive comments about my loss... being around or talking to people who love me and truly care about what I'm going through.
~ reminding myself that before this happened I myself couldn't understand the impact of miscarriage so I can't expect other people to understand unless they've been through it - I've had to learn to be patient with people around me who think I should be able to move on more quickly
~ talking to other women who have been through the loss of a baby --- this one I cannot stress enough! This has been one of the most helpful things for me to do. Since this is such a lonely process it helps to know that even though you may feel alone, you are not.
~ getting help from a counselor - the first one I went to wasn't helpful but I didn't give up until I found one that I knew I could connect with.
~ writing about my loss and the feelings associated with all that it entails
~ reading other women's pregnancy loss stories
~ talking with a friend who has been through the loss of a baby - she understands what I'm going through
~ purchasing a "memorial necklace" in honor of my baby and to honor my grief
~ I have a history of depression so I have begun taking my antidepressants again... I haven't noticed a difference yet but I'm hoping this will also be helpful
My mom has been my biggest supporter through my grief. Even though she herself has never experienced miscarriage, she has educated herself on what to say, and more importantly, what NOT to say. (I may do a post on what not to say another time because I feel it is so important)
She has been a great sounding board as well. She's okay to sit with me in silence and just let me cry or she's okay to sit and talk with me or just listen to me talk. If you have someone in your life you can talk to, use that person. Talking about your baby can be helpful by giving a voice to your pain.
In the end... I think the most important thing we can do as we suffer the loss of our children is to be gentle with ourselves. I'm still learning how to do this but I'm working at it everyday.
Mommy misses and loves you PJ!