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One of the biggest misconceptions of grief, especially in the western world, is that it is something to get over. While in reality, we all know that grief never ends, but it can change over time.
Families who suffer from the loss of a pregnancy and baby are often hit with cliches and religious platitudes such as "everything happens for a reason", "God has a plan", "at least you can get pregnant", and you can "always have another one". While often said with good intentions, those of us in the thick of grief know just how untrue and hurtful these statements can be. Additionally, then can hinder our personal healing because we are left to question our feelings, our experiences and how we help ourselves heal and make sense of how our family and futures have change.
What most people do not understand is that no two pregnancy losses are the same as we lost our own unique and special child, even if others did not have a chance to see or bond with them. This makes healing very isolating and a one step forward-two steps back process. While unfortunate, this is often normal.
So, how do we begin to heal ourselves when everyone around us culturally sees this experience as something to just get over and move forward from?
1. Take as much time as you need. There is no endpoint to grief. Some days may be better than others, but our experiences never leave us.
2. DO NOT APOLOGIZE for your feelings. Even if the ones closest to us do not understand, there is a community of other families walking similar journeys that can and will understand and support you through your grief. Three Little Birds offers a Facebook Support Group to connect local families to support one another.
3. Do something in honor of your loss. As our family and friends surround us, they are often times unsure of how to approach or remember your baby. This could be an annual gathering, a craft or project that can help another family experiencing a similar situation or joining our organization as a volunteer to help #shatterthestigma of pregnancy or infant loss. Some ideas include:
Remember, Three Little Birds Perinatal is here to support your needs. We provide empathetic and knowledgeable support to families in our local area at no cost. You are not alone.
Kristen Samuelson, SBD, Founder & Director