A common myth surrounding grief is that you can only be sad, depressed, angry, indifferent - the more negative feelings that typically come first to mind. The myth continues with if you are feeling "good", you can't truly be grieving anymore. But that's simply untrue. You may feel excited but tearful at the same time about experiencing something without your baby, and that can be confusing. It may even cause you to feel guilt. This is where the gratitude part comes into play - how can you be thankful for things in your life when the person you want has been taken away?
Having that mix of feelings is completely normal - there is room in your heart for these emotions to co-exist. You don't have to be just happy or just sad...you CAN be both at the same time. You can be grateful while also being angry. It just takes some time to recognize it's okay to feel that way. Our society constantly pushes these ideas into our heads that missing someone who has died means you can only feel sad and that for you to experience joy again, you have to move on. The reality is that you can miss your baby and still feel the positive emotions.
A question we often receive in our support groups is HOW can I feel grateful again? There's no easy answer for this as it truly depends on the individual - your past experiences with grief, your coping skills, your support system - they all shape how you can move forward in your life without your baby physically with you. And let's be clear - grief involves learning how to move forward, NOT moving on. Training yourself to be completely present in the moment is a suggestion to try, though do not be discouraged as it does takes work. To start, instead of forcing yourself to be thankful for the big things, like your job or your home, focus on the little things. The comfort food from family that has gotten you through the really tough days. A hot shower that melts away your tears. Recognizing a random pink flower that connects you to your baby. A long hug from your partner. These things may seem simple but they add up and they will help you cope as you are on your grief journey.
There is room in your heart for both grief and gratitude.
There is room in your heart for both pain and joy.
There is room in your heart for both tears and laughter.
This is where we share YOUR stories - your loss matters, your baby matters, you always matter.