Processing grief will not look like how you might imagine it will. Grief is not something you “get over” in a linear fashion.
Grief is a strange thing.
You definitely do not understand it at all until you experience it, and even then, you don’t get it.
Grief hits you in funny moments.
We tend to expect grief to behave as a physical injury does. We think it will start out as a big gaping wound that will heal over time and then be better.
Once you experience grief, you realize that isn’t how it works.
Grief rears its head at unexpected moments.
With grief, you have the shock of what has happened, but you also have the ache for what never will happen.
This is especially true when you are grieving the loss of a baby through miscarriage or stillbirth.
This week marks 16 years since we lost our son Braxston to stillbirth. He would have been very close in age to Brayden.
>>>Read: Our Baby Braxston
Brayden never did have another brother. I often grieve that loss for him–and he does also. It hits in weird moments.
I expect that sadness around the time I lost him and around his due date, but it can just hit me when I see two brothers close in age together.
When I think about how we would be about to get his driver’s license. When I wonder what his interests and talents would have been. What would he have looked like?
Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything.C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
When you lose someone, that absence is everywhere.
You will one day meet a little child who is the exact age your baby would have been. That happened to me in the year Braxston would have gone to Kindergarten. I met a boy named…Braxston. His birthday was the same week my Braxston was due.
About 6 months after I lost Braxston, a friend was talking about going in for her 20 week ultrasound…it hit me like a train.
Years later, my sister-in-law announced her due date…just a day off of Braxston’s due date.
Little things pop up out of nowhere.
“Sometimes we are simply not ready for a new grief layer to be revealed. One moment you are enjoying life, the next you are wailing on the floor begging for this gut wrenching pain to end.”Zoe Clark-Coates, Beyond Goodbye
I share this all with you so you know that you are not strange or abnormal to have grief hit you in unexpected moments. That is the human experience of grief.
If you haven’t experienced a loss so strong before, I hope it helps you to understand why those you care about who have loss have hard moments. It isn’t because something is wrong with them or because they aren’t “getting over it.”
It is because it is the process.
“A mother’s grief is as timeless as her love.”Joanne Cacciatore
You never stop loving nor missing those you have lost.
A friend of mine recently shared pictures of her deceased mother on Facebook and shared that she seems to miss her more and more as time passes.
Grieving a baby who never lived outside the womb is a lonely grief. You may no even have others to share that grief with if the pregnancy wasn’t very real to them yet. You don’t have memories or stories to look back on fondly.
Maya Angelou said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” That unborn baby is an untold story.
“When a child is born, it is the mother’s instinct to protect the baby. When a child dies, it is the mother’s instinct to protect the memory.”
Healing is not linear and it is never “complete” in the traditional sense. We do get better at handling the pain over time, but it doesn’t go away.
You do need to allow the grief to be felt. Do not try to push it away and pretend it isn’t there. That will only prevent you from really moving on.
Grief is a by-product of love. And it never ends, but it does change. You are not broken when it hits you unexpectedly. You are human.
- Getting Through Your Miscarriage or Stillbirth
- Stillbirth and the Decisions You Will Have to Make
- Processing Pain of Child Loss
- Your Infant Loss Was Not Your Fault
- Traditions for Lost Child’s Birthday
- What To Say To a Woman Who Has Lost a Baby
- Stillbirth: Still Painful 9 Years Later
- I Remember Him Still
- What I Wish I Had Known About Having a Rainbow Baby