I have a question for you:
Do you ever notice that you feel bad for feeling better?
Like, If you catch yourself laughing? or having too good of time? Or if you realize that you haven’t been thinking about your baby until something suddenly brings it all back? This is the conundrum that we often encounter as we navigate life after loss.
Feeling bad feels so agonizingly awful, and yet, feeling better feels kind of terrible too.
Here are some of the ways I’ve heard this idea expressed by other mom’s of lost little ones about this phenomenon of feeling guilty for healing
- I don’t want other people to think that I’m “over it”
- I don’t want to give the impression that our loss doesn’t matter
- I worry that people will judge me
- It feels like I am betraying my baby when I’m enjoying life without them
- My pain is the only thing I have left of our baby, so I’m afraid of what will mean if I let the pain go
The effect of this can be this:
- We stop doing self-care activities, like going to yoga or getting outside for a walk
- We punish ourselves with negative self-talk
- We avoid going to therapy
- We accuse ourselves of being “a bad mom” to our lost little one
- We pick fights with our partners without realizing the real underlying reason
- We decline invitations from our friends to go out and do something fun
- We stop essentially ourselves from healing
(check out this video here for to dive into this topic a bit deeper)
This my friends, is Resistance.
What do I mean by resistance?
Resistance is that thing that holds us back when we begin to enjoy some part of life agin. It’s all the thoughts, actions and behaviours that gets in the way whenever we think about taking some self-care or participating in some healing action.
Resistance often shows up as:
- that voice that tells us to just go back to bed
- aimlessly scrolling through social media instead of actually doing something that might make you feel better
- saying “I’m fine” instead of being more honest in a supportive conversation
- binge watching Netflix instead of seeing your friends
- avoiding investing in your own wellness & therapy
- overeating, chain smoking, or attempting to lose yourself in a bottle of Pinot Grigio
We all experience Resistance.
And it can run wild if left unattended and take over all of our decision making and healing.
So here’s what I suggest:
Let’s get it out into the daylight so we can deal with it more directly. That doesn’t mean we need to try to do a rush job of our packing away the pain, or that we should try to outrun the parts of our grief that need our loving care and attention. It means we empower ourselves to participate more fully in our own healing & growth & to make more conscious decisions about our grief and our little one’s memory.
Consider what it would mean for you to honour your lost little one with your tears, as well as with new Joy.
Here’s what I want you to do:
Grab pen & paper and answer the following questions, quickly, without censoring. Just write down any and every thought that pop into your head.
The part of me that wants to stay in the darkness says….
The part of me that feels guilty says…..
I believe that my lost little one would want me to experience life again because….
The part that wants to return to life reminds me that…..
I am need to be present in my own life because….
I can honour my baby with new joy today by….
Then, get out and do some act of self-care, right here, right now. Get outside, call a friend, stretch, make a tea.
You are doing brave & powerful work. Keep going.
I hope you found this useful, and if you did, I would be grateful if you shared this with a friend. Thank you!