I know I’m late. The 4th of July already passed and that’s when I was thinking of writing something about freedom but just couldn’t get past the hypocrisy of the holiday. Anyway, I started thinking more and more about liberation and the importance of freeing yourself from things that ail you. It’s been a minute since I’ve given you all 7 new gems so check out my list below and get free!
- As Iyanla would say, “call a thing a thing!”
I can think of so many popular sayings that suggest this as part of your healing (“knowing is half the battle”, “the first step is admitting you have a problem”, etc.) yet, this is one of the hardest things to do. Personally, I believe its our ego that gets in the way. We don’t really want to admit what’s going on. We don’t want to say out loud that we’re struggling because, well because that makes it real. Then we have DO SOMETHING about it and who wants to do that?! Ok, I know it’s hard and scary and maybe even a little embarrassing for some but seriously, it’s important. Name IT! If it’s anxiety, name it. If it’s depression, name it. If it’s OCD, name it. If it’s urges to harm yourself or someone else, name it. The only way to move through whatever you’re feeling to healing is being honest with yourself and others.
- Pssttt… Psssssstttt! It’s ok to have a little fun. It’s ok to enjoy something once in a while. You’re not dishonoring your little one. You’re not miraculously 100% healed. Most importantly, you’re NOT DOING ANYTHING WRONG! The first time I enjoyed something after losing Jora & Aviva, it was really shocking to me. I was immediately filled with guilt and I think, that actually made me feel even more sad. It took a while for me to remember I can live in the both/and. It doesn’t have to be either/or where either I’m sad OR I’m happy. I allowed myself to laugh, well actually, it came out unexpectedly and I was reminded of the constant all-ness of life. We exist here in the very complex states full of all kinds of emotions and that is OK! Eat that favorite snack , get on a rollercoaster, go to a comedy show, watch that film you’ve been wanting to see, get your makeup or hair or nails done and enjoy it for all it’s worth. You deserve it.
Give Yourself Permission
- This is either going to sound like a no-brainer or be the worst thing some of you can imagine: give yourself permission to miss a ritual. There are times when we hold so tightly to a particular thing we do in honor of our little ones that we put an insane amount of pressure on ourselves. I can remember being on vacation last October and not having any matches to light candles for my ritual. I tried to light the candle on an electric stove and it just smoked. Y’all! I CRIED MY EYES OUT THAT NIGHT! I was devastated and I seriously think I cried myself to sleep that night. I may have even written about it in my post titled “The Happiest, Saddest Place on Earth”. Check it out HERE if you haven’t read it. It took me awhile. I still have some angst about it if I’m late lighting the candles but I had to eventually give myself permission to miss this ritual. The reality that there will come a time on a Wednesday night where I will not be around candles or matches is just as important as remembering that my girls are always with me in some way. I’m always connected to them… not just on Wednesday nights.
- Did you have a name for your little one(s)? Did you call them something even if you didn’t have a name picked out? If you didn’t, consider thinking of one now and referring to them that way. Saying your llo (lost little one) name is important to honoring their memory. I think of it like Coco & the whole concept behind Dia de los Muertos (goodness get the tissues! I cried for HOURS watching that); talking about the one who has passed keeps them alive/present in a way.
It also can help to validate your experience and remove some apprehension others may have about discussing them. I say Aviva and Jora’s names all the time and sometimes, it’s still a little weird to hear other people say it. You know what though, whenever someone else does, I smile and my heart flutters in response.
- I’ve mentioned this before but you can never say it too many times: Say NO! Take care of yourself and sometimes that means turning down invitations, telling people what is or isn’t ok to say to you, deciding on what will be your internal cue to get the hell outta dodge (where does that saying come from anyway..?), etc. Setting boundaries is one of the greatest forms of self-care a person can employ. Know that setting boundaries is something you’re doing to take care of yourself so do not let anyone make you feel bad about that.
Ask for Help
- Are you a type-A personality? Do you like to do things on your own? Do you believe that people will judge you or do you a disservice if you reach out? You probably answered yes to one (or all) of these questions and guess what, I’m right there with you! What I will offer is that sometimes, you can (and likely do) handle things on your own. On the other hand, there are times when we all need some help and honestly, dealing with perinatal loss is one of those times.
This is the kind of traumatic experience that rocks you to your core and many, many, many people do not know how they’re going to get up again. You need help. I needed help. The kind of help you need will be different for everyone but know there are support groups (in person and virtual), blogs, therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, walks, etc. for you to connect with when you’re ready. I’ll offer something else; do it before you think you’re ready because the sooner you connect, the more support you’ll receive.
- Perinatal loss is a doozy. It’s one of the worst things that can happen to a person, couple or family IMO. As loss parents/angel parents we’re able to find every reason in the book for why this happened to us. We question every decision, every action, every physician. We blame ourselves, we try to bargain with the universe or our higher power… we ask “why did this happen to me?” We usually don’t find an answer that satisfies us. Let’s face it, I don’t know ONE angel parent who would experience their loss all over again if they could choose not to. There are no “good” reasons for losing children. One thing I have learned though is that sometimes, the loss gives you a new sense of purpose. It gives you a voice you didn’t know you had, a strength you didn’t know you possessed, a connection you didn’t know you could make, a friendship you would otherwise not have had. When we can embrace this silver lining and use the experience to honor our lost ones in some way, there is incredible beauty there. Find a way to use your grief (which is just love with no place to go) for something positive. Put that love into something you’re passionate about and do it in their honor. They’re so proud of you.