This blog is my way of sharing positivity and offering support, it’s very much therapy for me to think positively and look forward through my writing – however, one thing I feel like venting today is that not every day is good vibes and rainbows, there are days which are down right fucking hard, and today is one of them for me, so in true Nicole style, I’m writing about it.
The power of grief
If I’ve learnt something on my baby loss grieving journey so far, it’s that when you’re having a bad day, let it in and ride it out. There is absolutely no point trying to mask the pain and put on a smile – it will just build and build until you eventually erupt – hiding pain is no good for anyone’s mental health, so if I feel like not getting out of bed and crying all day, you bet that’s what I’ll do.
I’ve always been an emotional person, I cry at adverts for goodness sake, but the tears and emotions that I’ve displayed over the past 12 weeks since we lost Avery have been something else.
How do I describe the pain of losing a child? Honestly, there aren’t words to put into context. It is literal pain that you feel right down to your core, your heart actually aches for the baby you’ve lost. There’s been times when I can only describe the pain as something close to what I imagine a heart attack to feel like. The world has literally taken something from me, and so at times that pain genuinely feels like a part of my body has been ripped away – dramatic I know, but it’s true.
Someone recently told me that my body has been through the equivalent of being hit by 20 double decker buses, both physically and emotionally, and you don’t get over an incident like that overnight, it takes months of pain, tears, therapy, rehab and working towards finding who you were again.
I’d hate to think of people putting pressure on themselves to get up and smile for the world when they don’t want to, I did it at first and it held me back from recovering. People say I’m strong and brave and a warrior, and you know what? I am, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have days where I physically can’t pick myself up off the floor, because I do! I howl, scream, throw things – I’ve done it all, and trust me when I say it’s therapy in its self letting it out.
I tend to torture myself when I’m having a bad day, I look at photos and videos of Avery, I listen to her heartbeat until I’ve physically got no more tears left in me, because the more I watch and listen, the easier it gets for me until I’m through my episode. I’ve spent the past 3 hours today in my pyjamas sat on Avery’s chair cuddling her ashes and her heartbeat bear – it’s a sad thought, but it’s my way of feeling close to her and it calms me down – so find your comforting space and go there when your having a bad day.
So, how do you cope after losing a baby? I’m sorry to say there’s no quick fix, it’s fucking hard. But, with each week that passes, the episodes become farther apart and the time spent howling gets less, and eventually the pictures and videos make you proud and happy rather than heart broken when you look at them. There’ll always be a part of me missing because I don’t have the baby I bonded with anymore, but she’s with me in spirit carrying me through the bad days.
Coping with grief
My midwife described the pain quite well to me recently and I thought I’d share the wisdom. She described the pain as a tennis ball, at first imagine the ball (pain) is in an eggcup, bulging over the sides and consuming the cup, next it goes into a mug, it’s still big but a bit more manageable to carry, and slowly over time the cups start to become bigger around the ball and so the pain gradually gets smaller and easier to manage. There will be days when the bucket reverts back to the eggcup, but soon after the cups get bigger again and the pain becomes easier to live with again.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve, only waking up each day and taking it as it comes. Not being embarrassed of the emotion and most definitely not feeling guilty for forgetting the pain and starting to resemble the happy person you used to be – you will find your new normal, I am. I’m not quite the person I was, just a stronger, wiser, braver and more loving version of her.
One day at a time .. XO Nicole