One of my recent blog posts really got me thinking about how similar my experience with pregnancy loss and pandemic has been. So, I started brainstorming about what really helped me during loss that might also help me now. As always, I disclaimer this with “give myself grace” which brings me to my first point.
- I’m not going to do everything right. I’m going to mess up. A lot. I’m going to think things will go one way when they will go in a completely different direction. I’m going to have all the ideas and plans and goals, schedules lined out nicely on paper, only to wake up with anxiety or a headache or my period or a screaming toddler who is having a bad day or a husband who didn’t sleep well because of said toddler, or all of the above. And that schedule is going right out of the window. Or maybe I just lose all motivation to get anything done for no reason at all. It happens.
- But I still need hopes, dreams, goals, and plans. I need something to look forward to each day. Maybe that’s a special face cream or mask after my shower. Maybe it’s a bag of chocolate I break into every day at 2pm. Maybe it’s watching Mrs. America on Hulu every Wednesday (loving that show, btw). For my son, it’s seeing the garbage man pick up our garbage each week. Maybe it’s looking forward to something coming to Netflix next month. Or a long walk on a day after it’s been raining for a week. Maybe it’s a hobby like baking that actually leads to a special treat each day for a week. Whatever it is, whatever it may be, it helps.
- Reaching out has never been more important. When I grieve, I tend to close up in person. Being introverted, I don’t have a lot of energy to interact with a lot of friends without feeling overwhelmed. I tend to spend a lot of time alone. But I still make it a point to write a blog post. To text a friend, or respond to a text, even if it is a few days later. I talk to a professional. I talk to my husband. Even when feelings are hard to unravel, I try to stay present and focus on the feeling I’m experiencing in the moment, even when I can’t find the cause right away. Even though I’m not working my social muscles extremely hard, I’m still finding ways to stretch them.
- I stay as present as I can but give myself grace always. I didn’t really realize when I lost my second daughter that I also quit my job just a day later, and looking back, I can see how a multitude of factors played on my grief, not just the big one of pregnancy loss. Right now, so many people are experiencing various types of loss at the same time. This is hard stuff. It’s a lot to process, even if we don’t realize exactly how much we are processing. And I didn’t learn how to slow down and stay present until I was well into adulthood. I still feel like I’m taking remedial courses in it! But that word, grace. It is something I hold on to fiercely.
Because I need grace. I learned what grace is because of who God is. God taught me grace in the story of his Son. How Jesus interacted with people, saw their sin but extended forgiveness, told stories of hope, and stayed connected and present.
One of the great things about grace is that it allows the do-over. It allows that letting go of the things I held so tightly that are no longer who I am or what my life is anymore. Which allows me to explore the new space of my life as it has become with the hope of a brighter and better tomorrow. I may not be motivated today, but today isn’t forever, tomorrow is a new beginning. With a piece of chocolate and a face mask to help me get through the day, of course.
What is helping you survive?