After your Loss
By Ayliea Holl
Learning to live with loss, any loss, is difficult. Everyone handles loss differently. Men and women grieve differently. Some will take months to feel better, some may take years. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, nor is there a time limit on grief.
Grief comes in waves and many times it can be compounded by other losses. Other losses can be the loss of another pregnancy, the loss of a spouse, family member, or friend, or even the loss of a relationship, or a job. Many extenuating circumstances can extend our grief, but we need to grieve.
Grief is not something you can skip over, even the hardiest human will have some feelings of grief. Each of us must decide how we will let our loss affect us. It isn’t the loss that defines us, it is how we choose to live our lives after we survive one of the most difficult losses a person can go through.
There are somethings we can each do to help ourselves through this loss. First, allow yourself to feel. We need to be able to release the grief, we need to be able to cry. Crying is a release – one of my favorite quotes is as follows:
“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief…and unspeakable love.”~Washington Irving
Our tears are not a weakness, they are our strength. They show how much we loved our children, our loved ones. They are a necessary part of the grieving process. In order to heal from our losses, we need to grieve.
As time distances us from our loss, the tears lessen. It may be weeks, months or even years before you feel like you can make it through a day, a week, a month – but in the end – you will make it through, and each day will get better. You will find yourself laughing, and may even feel guilty for finding a few moments of happiness again. Don’t.
Every day will be better. Take each day as it comes. Don’t try to do or feel anything that you aren’t ready for. You will know what you can and can not handle. However, if you ever feel like you can’t handle life, please, please seek help. There is nothing wrong with getting help when you need it. Whether that is professional help, or simply the help from others who have been through this – reach out, get help!
Make sure to do the things that you need to do to help yourself. Surround yourself with those who understand and won’t try to rush you or force you into feeling better when you aren’t ready. That doesn’t mean that you have free reign to never feel better, but your heart knows what it needs, listen to it. If those around you make you feel worse, distance yourself from them. Put yourself and your needs first. You can not care for others if you can’t care for yourself, so pay attention to yourself.
Accept that your life will never be ‘normal’ again. This loss changes you. It takes all your beliefs and scrambles them. Sometimes your faith waivers or changes. Sometimes it gets stronger, sometimes you feel you have lost all faith. Nothing will ever be the same because this loss will take away your innocence, your naivety, your belief that every pregnancy always ends well. It’s a harsh reality to face that we chose to let our children go. It is a choice that we have to face, we have to come to terms with it and we have to accept that we did the best that we could for our children. It hurts.
But we survive, and we move forward. We learn to live our lives over again. We learn to live with the loss. We never forget it, we remember our children always. Allow yourself to remember you child, make time and space to allow for the memory of your child in your new life.
With time, we learn to accept the new normal. We learn to live our lives again – after our loss. Some will go on to have a sub pregnancy – we call this a rainbow baby. Some decide they don’t want to try again. Some try again and are successful, some will never have a child to nurture and love. No matter what our new normal is, it is our life, and we need to make it a good one. We only have one life – live your life to the fullest. Your child would want you to.
May you each find your new normal after your loss to be the best life that you can have. I wish you all peace and love.
Ayliea Holl is a contributor to the award winning book Our Heartbreaking Choices: Forty-Six Women Share Their Stories of Interrupting a Much-Wanted Pregnancy, published 2008 by IUniverse. She is also the Lead Administrator for the Heartbreaking Choice Discussion forums, and a contributing author for this website.