When all you have is a teddy bear or maybe an ultrasound picture of your baby, you can still grieve. It doesn’t matter that you never spoke her name to her. It doesn’t matter that you never laid eyes on him. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t know your baby. You still grieve.
Most of us have this belief that you can’t grieve someone you haven’t met. I’m not sure where it came from. But my friend, Kirsten, at TLC Life Coaching reminded me not too long ago that it happens more often than we realize.
I associated it only with baby loss. But think of the wave of grief that touched so many hearts around the world when George Floyd was killed.
Kirsten reminded me of Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash. His death impacted so may in the basketball world. Many who never knew him.
For me, it was the death of Princess Diana. I remember the day she died and felt a lot of sadness at her passing.
Kirsten went on to say that celebrities connect with us. They are tied to certain memories or moments in time for us. And while the grief you feel at their passing can feel confusing, it’s actually quite normal.
I liken this feeling to the way you feel after a miscarriage. It IS a bit confusing. I never could have imagined I’d feel grief at the loss of a baby I’d never met. And even at the time of my miscarriages, I told myself this isn’t worthy of grief.
But now I know that’s not true. When you lose a baby, you also have memories connected to that baby. The moment you found out you were pregnant. The conversations you had with your husband about names and plans. The moment you told your mom or sister or best friend about your pregnancy. There are so many memories associated with that tiny being.
With a miscarriage, there’s also the dreams you had. You also associated your future with that child. And you mourn the loss of that future.
If you’ve been telling yourself that you can’t grieve someone you’ve never met, it’s actually a way of invalidating your grief. A way of avoiding it. Pretending it’s not there.
And of course, this isn’t working. Your grief just keeps cropping up whether you like it or not.
You’re confusing your soul by not acknowledging it. By not validating it yourself.
If we want others to validate our grief, then we have to validate it ourselves.
Allow yourself to feel the emotion. Remind yourself that it is normal to feel grief after a miscarriage. Be kind to yourself.
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References from this episode:
Podcast episode 16 with Kirsten Frey: 6 Myths That Prevent Healing From Miscarriage