This October, I took part in the Capture your Grief – 31 days of Mindful Grief, Healing and Storytelling for Pregnancy, Infant, and Child Loss Awareness Month 2019 by Carly Marie. I have wanted to take part in this challenge for the last four years but always feared that I lacked the commitment to complete it. This year, though, I made a commitment to complete the challenge and focused on my grief. For 31 days I would use the prompt given, post a picture and speak mindfully about my grief and healing.
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The challenge started easily enough and I was able to complete the daily prompts, but as the month went by, I noticed a few things.
I had to relieve the forgotten moments of grief.
Yes, I know that our grief never fully leaves us, but there are parts of our grief that can fade away like an old memory. Not fully gone but just laid silent. This October, I tore the bandage off it all and dug deep into my grief and I was genuinely surprised at all the feelings I experienced during this 5-year journey with grief. Questions like, did we really receive the best care from our 1st doctor and had we gone to a different doctor, would things have been any different? Did I do something during my pregnancies to cause our miscarriages?
I was transported back to those early days when I would constantly weigh one choice against another, trying to figure out which would have the worst outcome. Should I walk on the left or right side of the road and does it even matter because everyone will die? This was an effect of grief that I had forgotten about, the constant fear that I was not enough and I lacked some fundamental thing that resulted in the loss of my babies. I didn’t get answers then and I do not suppose I will ever get any of those answers, and I know now the answers will change nothing for us. But, as the days rolled along, these were some of the forgotten thoughts that came back to me.
My community is all around me
Like anything done on social media, people would often have feelings about it. What warmed my heart was how supportive complete strangers were. Whether we were connected by common hashtags, images or friends, the support from members of the grief and loss community poured in. I always knew who we were as a community, but it was only when I dug deep and shared my real feelings about loss, not the glossed-over-mother-to-rainbow-babies-version of loss, that I saw the full power of who we are. As we observed a month set aside for just us, I felt so much connection and support with people here in my own country and those much further away.
I am tired
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#captureyourgrief Day 23 – Retreat Because of today’s prompt, I decided to take a mental break. Grief is heavy and even though I would not change any part of our story, I am taking a day off to just be. As important as it is to acknowledge grief, it is equally important to know how to shift focus and protect your heart. #captureyourgrief2019 #day23 #retreat #grief #griefandloss #griefandhope #whathealsyou #mentalretreat #thankyouLord
This is not an easy thing for me to admit. But, I grew weary of thinking deeply about my grief. Thinking about it for 31 days straight made me tired of my own grief, and ultimately, of all the grief that women like me will unavoidably face until the end of time. No matter how well you think you have dealt with your grief, it is still a heavy burden to bear. And, like most of us, I had grown accustomed to shelving my grief away and thinking about it at safe and predictable times. But for this month, it didn’t matter what I was doing or feeling, there was a prompt and a memory waiting for me.
I have grown
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#captureyourgrief Day 16 – Rest from grief There are some moments that I cannot believe how blessed I am. They may demand a lot from me but I am so grateful for them. Its moments like these, I feel a rest from grief. This is my family, they put up with all of me and love me the same. This month has been pretty emotional so far and yesterday was probably the most intense yet so how fitting that day 16 is dedicated to the things or people that bring us a rest from grief. Rest from grief may mean many different things to different people but for me, it’s those incredible moments when your heart is so full of gratitude for ALL the love that you have been lucky to have. #captureyourgrief 2019 #day16 #restfromgrief #griefandloss #griefandhope! #happytearsandrainbowbabies #carlows #whathealsyou #wefittogether #thankyouLord
I remembered the days when I could not think of my miscarriages without breaking into pieces. That is just what my grief looked like at that time. Now, thanks to the challenge, I was able to look at all of my grief and although tiring, it gave me a beautiful perspective on my grief. I am not the same person that I was back then. The more I shared my grief and healing the more grateful I became for the life that developed in between my grief. And that is the beauty of this challenge – it asks you to focus as much on your healing as it does your grief.
I am genuinely happy that I took part in this challenge, even though there were days that I had to do some mental work to steer myself back to the present. I now know genuine hope and healing, and I can put grief in perspective. My miscarriages were the most difficult things I experienced, but they did not break me. In fact, they allowed me to become someone I am happy to be.