No one seems to understand. No one cares about my experience. No one, not even my partner or family, feels the depth of this pain. The world just keeps on spinning. Everyone just keeps on living… yet I’m stuck feeling like I’m screaming in the dark and no one can hear me.
Does this sound like you? I bet it does… at least some of the time. Grieving can be an extremely lonely experience. It can feel like no one in the world understands the complete feeling of brokenness that comes when we’ve lost someone we love so dearly.
In a lot of “regular” cases, grieving isn’t necessarily done solo. Communities and cultures recognize the death of a mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, friend, even an older child. In the not-so-regular cases of perinatal loss, community recognition can get a bit tricky…. And by tricky, I mean silent. Or avoidant. Or expedited (hurry up and grieve so we can all move on w/o feeling awkward). This gets even worse when the loss can be categorized as a miscarriage. It’s almost like the more visible the baby is to other people, the more valid that life becomes in terms of warranting recognition of the loss.
Regardless of when you may have experienced your loss, feeling alone in the grieving process is trash (pure hot garbage!); here are some suggestions to combat that feeling:
- Be honest. If you’re like me, you have a tendency to not want to burden others with what you’re going through so, you keep things to yourself. This is NOT helpful and manifests negative effects in SO many ways! Ugh.. trust me. If you’re feeling alone in your grief, tell someone that very thing, “I’m feeling really alone in this.” Make sure that person (or people) is someone you trust to hold some space for you, even if it’s only temporary.
- Participate in that support group. Are you a lurker? Are you a member of pregnancy & infant loss support groups but usually, you don’t post anything or share anything? Well here’s your opportunity to be courageous and invite others to support you. To grieve with you. To acknowledge what you are sitting with. I know it isn’t always easy to do that but you’ll get so much more out of your experience if you support others AND allow them to support you.
- Do some reading. There are tons of books, articles, blogs, etc. out here where people are sharing their struggles with these types of losses. Everything isn’t for everybody so if you’re not seeing something that jives with how you’re feeling, then keep it moving. The point is, don’t stop looking just because someone else’s experience doesn’t resonate with you.
- Ask the hard question(s). Perinatal loss is hard AF to deal with and sometimes even harder to discuss. However, that difficulty is what keeps lots of us feeling alone when we actually aren’t. If there’s someone close to you who has shared in the experience with you, or just knows about it, as them if they ever think about the loss. Ask them if any feelings come up for them about the loss itself, or about how they support you through it. Often times when people don’t have much feeling about the former, they have some feelings of helplessness when thinking of ways they can support you.
- Do a little reality check. Are you really alone in your grief? Are the statements I put at the start of this entry actually true or is that just how it feels? Grief can blind us. It can blind us to the experiences of others and also make your brain function in a way that it limits information received. People grieving differently doesn’t equal not grieving. It also doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in this by yourself.
- Take some time to reflect. Write in a journal or diary, do a video diary, record audio of your thoughts and feelings, draw something, make something, meditate, do something physically engaging with your body and reflect. IMO, it’s totally natural to feel a sense of loneliness when there was literally another person inside you who is no longer there. That is a pain like no other and that specific feeling of loneliness, needs space to be properly acknowledged.
- Allow others to support and connect with you. Often times, our family and friends are trying to reach out to us. Sure, sometimes they may be suggesting stuff you don’t want to do, but they’re trying nonetheless. If the offered suggestion feels like a hard “NO” to you, offer a counter suggestion and welcome that opportunity to connect. Grieving can make you want to crawl into a hole and figuratively, or sometimes literally, want to die. Life ,moving on in the midst of so much pain can make you want to run away from everyone and everything. Fight that! I mean, make a choice to fight it sometimes. There’s value in honoring your need to be away from people too so respect that if the feeling is strong. When that feeling is lower, and maybe you don’t want to do what was suggested but you could do SOMETHING, suggest an alternative.
Your journey is your journey to walk. No one can tell you how to walk it. No one can walk it for you. There will be times when being on your solo-dolo tip will make the most sense and be the most beneficial for your healing. There will also be times when being alone can set you back unnecessarily. This journey is too hard to add extra stuff we could do without.
Sending love & light your way. Hope this list helps someone <3