Recently I had a reader of my blog reach out to me and and I wrote her an email. Below you can find her email (published with her permission, thank you KC).
Upon writing my response (see further below) I realised that her questions were so universal and pertinent to the experience of loss and baby loss in particular that I wanted to share it here:
I just wish to know how to deal with the days when I feel hopeless. I know that I have to go on, I’ve still here after losing my baby and without his father. It’s been almost 2 years and I still struggle. I went to my doctor and I do have support from friends and family members but sometimes it just isn’t enough. It’s like I’m experiencing everything all at once and some days I’m very happy but most I am not. I truly want to die. I just want to know how mothers do it, I mean moms who’ve lost a baby and still go on and at some point seem normal? I want to stop thinking so much, is cause all the time I think how my life would have been if I had my baby. And I think about what I did that maybe caused harm to my baby. Doctors say it was just a “defect” but I just want some advice of things I can do. I admire your strength to share your story, because when I wrote mine I broke down and I think it saddened me more. And I keep on reading it and just makes me cry.
Thank you for your email and the courage to reach out.
I will share from my experience, which is obviously different as from when I had my twins and when Amya passed away I had another baby to care for, to get up in the night to feed… No matter how down I was feeling, I had to. I also had a lot of support, from my family and, as soon as I was able to get out of the house, I went to see a psychologist.
Even though I’m a therapist myself I knew that no matter what I had to find someone suitable for me to support me through and with this. So I’d have to say, getting professional support is No. 1
Generally speaking (from my experience) society is not well equipped to deal with loss. I knew that from working with my clients. I find it therefore of utmost importance to find a support group, for example mums who have experienced baby loss. We also went to a support group at the hospital for some time. There is a huge support network out there online, on blogs and on FB. You might however also like to find a physical support group in your area.
Grief is a very personal journey and it does not usually help to compare yourself to others who seem ‘normal’. Finding my ‘new normal’ was and still is a journey with ups and downs. My friends wanted me to feel better, which for some meant not to raise the topic and for others it was that they didn’t contact me at all. Few of them were and still are able to ask questions and I’m grateful to them. I also know I cannot expect everyone to always react in appropriate ways. I didn’t even know what the appropriate way was before my own experience and remembering that what would be appropriate to me might not be for someone else.
Acceptance – I find grief is a huge experience in acceptance, acceptance of the reality of having lost our daughter, also acceptance of me in whatever stage I was and am in and acceptance of other people’s reaction. Even acceptance of not being able or not wanting to accept…
Grief in itself is a journey through huge emotions, which is unavoidable. That’s why support is so important. There are no shortcuts, it’s just experiencing again and again… If you have read my blog, you might have seen that my mother committed suicide 4,5 months after my daughter’s passing. This brought on huge amounts of anger (which is also part of the grief cycle) to the point where I was so exhausted, and yet I was able to go through the experience of emotionality and now, almost 2 years later, I am at a different point. Yes, the anger is still there sometimes but not with the extent it was then.
In terms of writing your story: psychological studies have found that when you write things down, when you let them out, when you write it down from your soul you allow your being to process and release. This might mean sadness and tears. Most times I write a blog post that comes from the heart, as well as when I compiled the video, I have tears streaming down my face and I wouldn’t expect any thing else. I do also know that with every tear I give time to the ongoing process of grief.
Feeling guilty is also very much part of this grieving process. No matter how many doctors or friends told me ‘it was nothing you could have done differently’ I had to and still sometimes have to find peace in the question of guilt. The mind is tricky like quick sand – you might think you found some stable footing and then it gives you some more thoughts which lead to doubt. Don’t trust quick sand…
You are asking yourself the questions that I have, you are tired of life, as I was at times. This is normal AND I congratulate you for reaching out. Search for like minded people who accept where you are at in your process, people who understand. At the same time continue to reach out.
I hope this has helped you.
All Love, Nathalie
Great resources online: