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When Grief Comes Back
A Facebook friend recently commented on grief. She expressed frustration that you can be going along fine and all of the sudden be completely upset again, seemingly out of nowhere. I totally understood her comment and I think it's especially true regarding the grief of pregnancy or infant loss.
I too have noticed that sometimes grief seems to jump out from around the corner and ambush you. A few years ago, after my miscarriages and losing my daughter I can remember I expected Mother's Day to be difficult for me. It was but I was sort of prepared. That same year, I had no idea what so ever that Easter would be trying as well. It wasn't any specific incident that triggered my sadness that day but just when I felt I was beginning to get a handle on my losses, I was suddenly feeling overwhelmed again.
The process of grieving can be particularly difficult after miscarriage. You probably don't have many (or any) keepsakes of your baby. If your loss occurred early in the pregnancy, other people might not have even known about it. Plus, our culture really encourages women who miscarry to just “get over it”. You might get some sincere sympathy for a little while but then some people will actually ask why you're still upset about it.
The combination of these factors makes it so that many women who suffer miscarriages don't effectively deal with their losses. But grief is a process. Sometimes it's an incredibly long process. It doesn't just go away. Eventually, it will pop up in some area of your life. I can still remember when an 80-year-old family friend shared the story of her miscarriage with me. It had happened over fifty years before yet tears still came to her eyes in the telling of it.
So how do you cope? Don't try to put a time line on grief and don't let anyone else try to hold you to one either. Obviously, if your loss is preventing you from functioning in everyday life over a period of time, you should probably seek out some support and help. But for grief that pops up randomly, you can accept that it does happen. It's not always something you can plan on.
Try not to run away from your sadness when it does come up. Our first instinct is to avoid anything unpleasant but you can't outrun a loss. Eventually, that grief will show up somewhere in your life. Being present and mindful when it does happen may not make it more pleasant in the moment but it may make it better in the long run.
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