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Grief and Motherhood

What is grief?

According to Google, grief is defined as deep sorrow, especially that caused by someone's death OR trouble or annoyance.

These are the thoughts I have when I hear the word grief, but grief can also be around losing something even if it is not considered sad.

Ever since having babies I have experienced this kind of grief, some of the grief was of course from loss for example, the loss of my life and body before kids, but the other grief was around milestones and around experiences that uncovered deep rooted issues within myself that apparently, I had not been acknowledging.

After Ava and the really hard labor I had with her there was a lot of grief. Grief around not experiencing the labor I dreamed of, grief around not remembering the first time I held her or nursed her, and grief around the long recovery I didn’t know was a thing postpartum. Even though these were all normal grieving experiences, people didn’t really understand.

No one understood that I was experiencing grief from feeling robbed of a better birth experience, the response was always “at least you and the baby are healthy”. That is a given, I didn’t need reminding of that, what I needed was space, time and the permission to grieve. But, in our society you have a baby you buckle down, and you move on.

If you are currently needing permission to grieve something that doesn’t fit into the definition of grief then here it is, I am giving you that permission.

What really was an eye opener was after 10 days of pain meds I finally started feeling better from my c-section and I experienced a sadness, and I didn’t know why. I was getting better, I was able to move around more and not needing as much help, but after some therapy I realized I was grieving the fact that in my mind I told myself “I am better now, I no longer need to be taken care of”, but deep down I still wanted that, I just didn’t know how to ask for it.

This grief really opened my eyes that at my core I didn’t want to always be the caretaker, that sometimes I wanted to be taken care of and this was my first wakeup call that I needed to voice that more. This became more apparent the deeper I got into motherhood and especially after my second. I need to ask for care and help, I didn’t need to do it all and I didn’t need to be sick or injured to get that care.

There is more grief around pregnancy, labor and motherhood that I don’t think is acknowledged and I think as women we suppress it, but your mind and body is telling you to stop and acknowledge the emotion.

It’s okay to grieve the pregnancy that you loved that you will never get again if you are done having kids, grieve that you stopped breastfeeding or that you were never able to. Grieve the fact that motherhood is not at all what you thought it would be. Grieve switching out your kids’ clothes for a bigger size, grieve getting rid of that highchair (I didn’t grieve that one, it was massive, and I was happy to get it out of my kitchen).

This doesn’t necessarily mean you are falling over crying, however feeling sad and giving yourself a moment to just remember all the times you had with these items and your child then do it and if tears feel like falling then let them fall. Your body is having an emotion and it’s healthier to let it out, so you are able to move on with a better mindset about the future and what to look forward to.

Acknowledge that things are changing whether that is a good change or bad change, either way you are having a reaction and sometimes these reactions can help you realize a need you never knew you had. Other times you just need to be sad about the happy or sad moment that is now over and look forward to what is yet to come.

This is the beauty of life, things have an end point so there can be a new beginning.

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