Go ahead and cry. Go ahead and scream. Go ahead and crawl in bed. Go ahead and hide. Go ahead and not be okay. It’s okay. You lost something. Something that was a part of you, someone that will always be. What you thought you knew is no longer and your world has been turned upside down in a matter of minutes. It’s okay to be angry and it’s ok to ask why.
I know right now it seems impossible. One minute you start to feel like your normal self and then the next you are hit with a flashback or memory and find yourself weeping on the floor again. I know sometimes getting back out with your friends or family just doesn’t feel right. Whether it’s been 30 minutes or 30 years, the pain of losing your child will never go away, nor will the love you have for them.
However, despite what you are feeling right now, you will be okay. You will learn that you can limp with grief and dance with joy, all at once. You don’t have to choose. You will weep and smile in the same moment. Two emotions you once wrestled with, will become deeply webbed inside of you. No longer opposites, they will act as one.
The healing process after the loss of a baby can be very difficult and everyone’s journey is different. Your timing is your timing. Opening yourself up to the journey you are on and embracing each moment is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. You are worthy of giving yourself time to heal.
Each person’s healing journey is unique to them and encompasses different elements. Here are some self-care tips that I have found helpful in my journey.
Be Gentle and Patient
Being kind to yourself is one of the most important things you can do. It allows you to accept yourself with a radical acceptance. This kind of self-love gives you the freedom to feel your emotions, let go, and heal without judgment.
Journaling allows you to process your emotions by putting pen to paper. Some people find they can express and process their emotions more clearly through writing.
Trying Something New
Losing a child will change you. Going through a deep healing journey will change you. The person you were before and the things you enjoyed before, may no longer align with who you are now. Be open to exploring new activities and hobbies that make you feel whole.
Join a Support Group or Seek Individual Counseling
Surrounding yourself with a community that understands what you are going through and can come alongside you in your healing journey is crucial. Everyone walks their own path, but having support whether that is through a group, therapist, or coach can make a huge difference in your journey.
Taking time each day to center and ground yourself through prayer and meditation allows you to feel like you aren’t walking through life in quicksand. It gives you a foundation and something you can turn to during moments when you need to calm your mind, spirit, and heart.
Listening to Soft Music
Listening to soft and calming music can nurture the soul. What we listen to shapes our thinking and mindset. It’s important to fill your mind with things that evoke a sense of calm.
Honor and Remember Your Baby
Honoring and remembering your baby is important. Taking time to remember and celebrate their life, even though it was short, can be very freeing. Allowing yourself to celebrate and honor their life also allows you to process your grief.
Create Mementos and Keepsakes
Creating mementos and keepsakes, like a memory box, is a great way to honor their life and keep their memory close.
Do What Feels Right to You
This is your journey, and your body and soul will let you know what is right and works for you. Be okay with whatever that is and looks like for you. Be kind with yourself and set boundaries when needed to allow yourself to grieve and heal in the way that is best for you.
Incorporate self-care into your daily routine. Remember, grief and trauma show up in our bodies as physical symptoms. I can attest to this. Allow just as much time to heal and restore your body as you do your mind.
While investing in yourself and your healing journey is the most important thing you can do, many are also walking this journey alongside their partner. These are some things I found helpful for couples as you grieve together.
Open communication is key as you process the loss together. Be open and honest about your thoughts, feelings, concerns, and needs.
Respect Each Other’s Process
Each person grieves differently. Don’t expect your partner to process the grief the same way that you do. I learned this firsthand.
Spend Time Together
Find activities that you enjoy doing together as a couple. Spending time together and remembering the foundation of your partnership is key while grieving the loss of a child.
Write to Your Baby
Write a song, letter, and/or poem to your baby and read it out loud to each other. This can help you connect with your partner and see where they are at with their emotions and feelings.
As we close out National Pregnancy Loss & Infant Loss Awareness Month, I hope to meet you where you are and hold space for your grief. I hope you know how brave you are. You are still here. Still breathing. Still standing. I’m so sorry you are here. I hope you know that you are not alone, and you are so loved.
*In honor of National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, we recognize and honor every parent who has lost a baby to miscarriage, stillbirth, and/or infant loss. We also remember the babies who left us way too soon, not only for the month of October but each and every day! We will forever and always remember our sweet little angel, Brevyn.