Learning to live guilt free after loss
Walking and getting out into nature has been a helpful way to search my heart and ease my grief. I'm so thankful to live in a place where nature walks are just a short drive away.
On one of these walks with my husky/malamute Chaos, I found so much serenity and peace. I took my time and wandered by a creek. I absorbed all the sights and sounds and tried to breath. Quite often these deep breaths become sobs. I'm letting that be ok.
I let myself remember the last time I took this path and how I imagined showing this world to Henry. I let myself feel that loss.
I remind myself that he is with me still. I tell him how much I love and miss him.
I let myself enjoy each moment. The sun on my skin, a strenuous uphill hike, a cool breeze.
As I drove home that day, singing along to "Hooked on a Feeling", with vineyards to my right and the nature park to my left, a simple thought entered my mind:
"I am so lucky to live in such a beautiful place"
And then it hit me. The all too familiar guilt.
When you experience a loss your grief can come with an element of guilt. This is especially true for pregnancy loss. In some ways we as women are done a disservice. We are told of all the little lifestyle changes we can make (don't eat turkey, don't get your hair colored and don't even think about soft cheeses). When a loss occurs it's only natural for women to look at their habits and ask "what did I do wrong?"
The guilt can present itself in other ways too. We feel like we shouldn't be happy. What kind of mom let's herself laugh when her child is dead? Who am I to allow myself joy when I am in mourning?
Dear mama, these are lies.
If I've learned anything it is that joy and sadness often mingle. Yes, we have experienced a loss. Yes our hearts are broken. Yes, we would give ANYTHING for our children to be with us. This does not mean we do not deserve joy.
On that drive the guilt hit me hard. "How dare you feel fortunate? How could you allow yourself to feel joy?"
Every time I feel the guilt I imagine Henry. I picture him watching me from above and I ask myself "how would he want me to feel?"
He would want me to live!
Baby Hank does not want me to live in this self-condemnation. He does not want me to feel burdened. He doesn't think I deserve to be sad. Henry knows I love him and he wants me to feel joy.
I allowed a second thought to nestle itself in my brain:
Let the Good be Good
There are good moments and there are bad. If we don't let the good moments have their fair share we will only live with the bad. Let's let each moment be what it is going to be.
There is no need to punish myself. I am allowed to feel joy. There is so much good in this world and I am going to experience it. Henry would want me to.
If you are struggling with this guilt, please know that you are not alone.
Your child loves you so much. They want you to feel joy.
We are in this together sweet mama. You are so strong.
In love and goodness,