Behind the cut, TW for pregnancy loss and grief discussion.
The most helpful thing anyone has ever said to me while I was grieving was simply this:
“I can’t possibly know exactly what you’re going through. But it is clear that you are devastated, and it’s okay for you to be sad right now. I’m here for you.”
You don’t have to be okay right now. You don’t have to “get over it”. All you need to do is keep taking one more breath. One more step. It’s okay to stop and cry.
If you absolutely must function, take all the feelings and put them in an envelope or a bucket or an ocean in your mind. And say, “I will come back for you when I’m done.” Then do what you need to do, and when you’re done, pick them back up.
At some point, the amount of time you spend holding your feelings will lessen. You’ll never stop feeling them. This doesn’t go away. You don’t “get over it”. But it stops being every breath, every moment, every day. You start setting aside time for it rather than setting aside time to NOT.
Another wise thing someone once said was that right now, in the thick of it, there’s not really a wrong way to grieve, to feel. Maybe that means some days you don’t get out of bed much, and that’s okay. If in six months you’re still not getting out of bed, it might be a problem, but there are traditional grieving/healing periods of 1 month to 6 weeks (40 days sound familiar) in many, many cultures and there’s a reason for that. During that time people might be expected to wail and cry and eat specific things or fast part time or tear things. It’s not expected to be a normal time.
Our culture tends to underestimate the impact of miscarriage and pregnancy loss, but know this: You are not alone. The majority of women who are ever pregnant will lose one or more babies. It doesn’t mean you’re broken or bad, or that you did something wrong. The process by which conception and birth happen are intricate and complex and have many potential failure points. Half or more of conceptions will not result in a live birth. Most of those are lost in the earliest days after conception, but many, many women lose babies after the so-called “safe” zone. It’s a club no one wants to join, but has so, so many members.
By taking time out to grieve, it sounds like you’re handling things in a nearly ideal way for a really terrible situation. I know that’s hard to think, that this is “good” somehow, but you are taking a grieving day. You’re talking about it. You’re asking for help, and you’re walking through it. This is objectively hard. Objectively sad. It really, really sucks, and no amount of “I’m sorry” will bring your babies back, and it’s okay to be really angry about it, or not–your feelings are yours and they’re not right or wrong, they just ARE.
It’s okay to even want to be sad. I didn’t want people to cheer me up when I lost a baby. My grief was the only thing that made it feel real. One day I woke up and didn’t want to be sad. Then I was angry because I was still sad. Grief is a really bizarre process sometimes. Eventually life moved on.