Move forward, not on

This TED talk on grief moved me to tears. As Nora states, what you’re experiencing is not a moment in time, your loss will stick with you for the rest of your life. You became the person you are right now, because of what you’ve been through. You don’t move on from your grief, you take the experience with you and move forward. Future decisions will probably be made based on this experience.

After losing two pregnancies, my personal experience with grief is that sometimes I almost felt even more hurt by the things people would say to me, than the loss itself (I’m exaggerating of course but you get my point). People mean well, but they seem to have absolutely no idea of the impact of their words (‘at least you know you can get pregnant’, ‘this is not the end’, ‘it’s for the better, there must have been something wrong with it from the start’, ‘I know someone who…’ etc etc.). It all painfully emphasized what I had lost.

Dreams I hardly dared to dream were smashed to pieces. I thought I would be too old to even get pregnant. Or that this wasn’t meant to be for me. Once we found out I was pregnant I was very afraid of letting hope in. Didn’t dare to believe that I would actually be lucky enough to have a baby. Only after 11 weeks I allowed myself to buy some books about pregnancy and I started reading like a maniac. And then one day before the ultrasound (after which it would finally be safe to tell our families), bad luck struck us. I had an extremely traumatic experience and by the time I got home from the hospital, literally empty, I finally realised how badly I had wanted this for a long time. All the little fantasies we talked about, all the things you imagined doing with your little one, the whole future you had in mind. ALL OVER in just one afternoon.

The feelings haven’t worn off the slightest bit in almost two years time. Holding my head up high but I’m crying on the inside when I hold other people’s babies in my arms. There is a sadness I will carry with me forever and I’m not ashamed of it. As Nora explains so beautifully and accurately, the feelings you have about your loss are not necessarily interfering with positive feelings. They co-exist, are ‘strands to the same thread’. I’m still happy for other moms to be, sad for myself though. However, I will not defend my sadness for something that is real to me.

Not all wounds are meant to heal.

Nora McInerny on grief

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