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There is No Deadline for Grief

I was an assistant principal on my way to serve my lunch duty when I lost our first baby. Here I was about to enter a kindergarten classroom when a sudden wrong feeling left me rushing to the bathroom. I sat on the floor and balled, but then I stood up and resumed my day. I had a job to do and that was my focus. I didn't have time to grieve so would make sure I did later. Fast forward to the next day when I was still miscarrying, and even though I stayed home to mourn, I was still texting my staff while they were on a field trip. Once again, I didn't have time to grieve. Weeks passed and life continued. I kept promising myself I would process what had happened, yet continued to choose everything else. I thought I could skip past the grief and continue to live my life, but grief wasn't having it and a year later, peeped it's ugly head in a big bad way.

One year after that first loss, everything I should have allowed myself to feel when it happened consumed me. I yearned for what could could have been. Our sweet baby was gone and nothing was bringing her back. I named her Josephine and pictured this brown haired, browned eyed girl making an impact on the world. I missed her and still touched my stomach thinking I could will her back. It felt ridiculous given it was something that happened a year ago, but that year meant nothing to me. I felt like it just happened. By not allowing myself the time to grief this devastating loss, I delayed the grieving process and therefore extended it. All of this taught me that choosing to not let it effect me just to force a good mood was unhealthy and detrimental to truly moving forward.

I learned a lot from that first loss and when my extremely difficult fate would bring us another loss, I handled this one differently. The second loss was harder than the first because we were pregnant even longer. We had an ultrasound with proof of a living being inside me. Again, we envisioned this beautiful life this baby would have. Which made it that much more devoting when we lost them. I refused to push my sorrow down so gave myself the chance to feel what happened.

I'd like to say feeling the loss helped me move on better than the first, but the feelings I had were dark. I felt everything all the time. Talking about it was new for me but I couldn't stop. When people would share pregnancy announcements, I inserted my loss. I wanted them to know I had been pregnant, too. That baby was real even though they couldn't stay. People were so supportive and let me talk, but as time passed, I felt like my story was getting old. I put this pressure on myself to move on because who wants to hear about the sad, barren woman who keeps losing pregnancies?

This notion is widely inaccurate and if you feel like your people are sick of hearing about your loss, then you need new people. We have to stop having these unstated timelines associated with being sad. Each person is impacted differently and if they need to talk, that's ok. Grief doesn't just go away in a few weeks. It hangs around longer than we'd like, but we also have to love ourselves enough to do exactly what our hearts need. This may mean a few weeks but could also be years. Whatever that timeline may be, the importance lies in allowing oneself to grieve for as long as the heart needs.

It won't be easy, but it's needed.

For support after a loss, please consider joining our infertility and loss support group,

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