“Am I pregnant with grief?”

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You can’t identify grief with two pink lines, but your body does give signs of its presence. Grief, like pregnancy, is an experience that changes us entirely. It changes our mood, the way we sleep, how we eat, and how we see ourselves.

In pregnancy, a woman is a mother. She and her child are two separate entities, and although hers encases his, the mother and the child are not the same.

While pregnant, the mother anticipates what life will be like for her once she gives birth.

Contractions come and go. They build on one another, and they move through her. The wise mother claims her response to them. She anticipates them and embraces them. She moves through them. She allows them to transform her experience and she engages in the act of labor.

In this way, the mother prepares for her birth.

Grief is the invisible pregnancy.

Giving grief a whole new perspective by compariting to to pregnancy, we have opportunity to allow our grief to enrich us, to give us back something powerful that we once felt robbed of us. We have the gift to nourish our grief into healing.

Could I possibly be?

I try to peer into my soul to see if it will reveal any indication to me.

I hear the words for the first time, and something stirs from within.

Ami I pregnant with grief?

A mother’s birth story is very important and powerful to her. It is her account, of her own life events. It is her interpretation. It may not be her complete assimilation of the experience, but her documented thoughts can in fact help her to begin to assimilate what is a monumental event in her life.

Going back, what was the event that propelled you into grief?

Was it the birth of your deceased child?

If your baby had a difficult diagnosis, did you experience “anticipatory grief” while still pregnant? HHow did this impact your birthing plans?

Maybe your event was hearing the confirmation from a medical professional that you are infertile.

Perhaps there doesn’t seem to be an intitial event at all, but just a slow, mysterious deepening.

What was the event that initiated your grief?

Spend some time this week with those initial feelings; journal about the birth of your baby.

Preparation

Choose a private place where you feel comfortable and will have no interruptions (turn off your phone, and let others know not to disturb you).

Set aside enough time to do the activity so you do do not feel rushed.

Plan to do something relaxing or enjoyable after you have finished the activity.

Try to relax with slow breathing and clear your mind of other concerns before starting the activity.

The Activity

You can type or handwrite, depending on your preference.

Do not be concerned with spelling, grammar or punctuation.

Write your account in the first person (use “I” statements).

Write your account in the present tense (as if it is happening right now).

Include as much sensory detail as possible (sights, sounds, smells, textures, etc).

Include any thoughts and feelings you had at the time.

Even though it may be painful, don’t stop yourself from feeling emotions.

Keep writing until your account is complete, even if it takes awhile.

Feeling Safe

Try not to stop halfway through to process a specific memory. Keep working through it if at all possible.

Remind yourself that this is just a memory and that you are in a safe place.

If you become overly stressed, you can choose to take a brief break from writing, but should continue as soon as possible.

Identify a couple of strategies that will help you to feel safe and reduce anxious feelings (slow breathing, having a glass of water).

Identify two people you can contact immediately if you need help.

When You Are Finished

Take time to congratulate yourself on revisiting these feelings.

Treat yourself to something relaxing or enjoyable.

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