Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It's ok to cry

Simply said, I am going to school to be a therapist. I have one semester left until graduation! Can I just take a moment to sing "HALLELUJAH!" This school year was the first year I have actually been doing formal counseling. I mean the just you with the client sitting on a couch telling you their problems kind. I remember my very first day with my second client ever. She came to begin the grieving process. After the session when my supervisor read my notes she commented that she was impressed with my ability to handle the situation as well as the comments and advice I gave. I told her that was probably because I am well acquainted with the grief process and have been doing a sort of grief counseling for years. (She knows I am a birth mother).

The fact about grief is that it is hard. Grief that comes when you have lost something or someone so important is a life long journey. You will experience times of grieving that loss for the rest of your life. That does not say you will be sad all the time for the rest of your life. What I mean to say is immediately after the loss yes, it is normal for you to be sad. And possibly for a very long time. But eventually the pain begins to dull. That happy face you've been faking is not so hard to fake anymore. And sometimes you aren't even faking it. You develop the strength to get up and keep going. You don't move on from your loss. Moving on implies that you are leaving that loss and subject of that loss in the past and in a way, forgetting about it. Lets be real people. You never forget about it. You never forget about that person who means so much to you. That person, the loss, is a part of you. So rather then "moving on" after you feel your world has been shattered, you pick up the pieces, and I mean all of the pieces with that loss included, put one foot in front of the other, and move forward.

After you feel like the days have allowed you to breath again and you are doing ok, it is so common and normal to be sad and have hard days. It's ok to take out that blanket or those pictures and cry again. Even years later. I have found that happens most often at the hallmarks in life. I mean at births, baptisms, graduations, weddings. That person was supposed to be there. Your father was supposed to be at your wedding. You were supposed to be baptizing your child. You were supposed to have children before your younger sister. Sometimes you are sad and you don't even see the connection. You are just sad. It's ok.

As a birth mother, and actually with all types of grief, it feels like NO ONE but some one who's gone through the same thing can understand your pain. No one but a birth mother can understand. Other people don't know what to feels like to go through life knowing your child is taking his or her first step, saying his first word, and going to school for the first time and you aren't there to see it. You aren't the mama he is referring to when the name first crosses his lips. It's hard sometimes to feel that alone. Especially when you are in the middle of grieving...and grieving hard. You want to share that burden with someone else, but when you look around there is no one to share it with.

Something that I tell birth mothers and I told my client on our first day is that it is ok- It's very important actually- to let yourself feel. It's okay to feel whatever you want to feel. Don't worry what other people say. Don't listen to them when you get the, "But think about the wonderful gift you gave! Think about how happy you just made Bob and Jane". If you want to think about that and be happy, do it! If you want to be sad and hurt even though Bob and Jane are happy, that's ok! Do it! Other people may put time limits on you. Don't let them. You might hear, "You are still thinking about that?" or "It's time you stop being sad." Don't listen to them. You get to be sad and think about it for however long you want. And after five years when you feel like you have healed but suddenly you begin crying for that person again. That's ok.


Mary said...

My favorite sentence of this post: " So rather then "moving on" after you feel your world has been shattered, you pick up the pieces, and I mean all of the pieces with that loss included, put one foot in front of the other, and move forward."

I strongly agree that loss must be acknowledged and not ignored in order to "move on".

Monika said...

I say that all the time. I have a relatively new birthmom to whom I've become a sort of counselor (though I'm only about a year ahead of her in this journey of birthmotherhood) and I tell her all the time it's okay to be sad occasionally and to give herself a break. There's no timeline for the stages of grief, and it's okay to revisit them too. Great post!

Lavender Luz said...

Wonderful thoughts on grief. I bet you are a fantastic counselor.

Alli & Davin said...

I love this! I dislike when people tell BMom's that they should have "moved on" by now. It's been 6 years for me and I don't think I'll ever "move on". It will always be a part of me. Sometimes a happy part, sometimes a sad part...but a part of me that I love either way!