By: Lindsey Dell
To you. The mother and father sitting at home, binge watching Netflix because you don’t feel like celebrating the holidays this year. It’s ok.
To you. The parents of an angel baby who put on a brave face every day when they go out into the world but are secretly dying inside. It’s ok.
What’s ok, you might ask? IT. IT is ok. Let me explain. Do you ever find it difficult to talk about your grief, or your feelings in general because you’re afraid of the response you might get? It’s ok. It’s ok because you’re allowed to feel that way. It’s ok to want to protect yourself and your heart from anyone or anything that you fear might not feel good.
Don’t feel like getting together over the holidays to celebrate because in your heart you don’t feel super “celebrate-y” at the moment? It’s ok.
Did you allow yourself to “accidentally” smile or laugh at something today, even though your heart is still broken? It’s ok.
Did you let one whole hour pass without thinking of your lost baby? It’s ok.
Did you have four failed fertility treatments after the loss of your baby and now you’re just mad at the world? It’s ok.
Do you feel empty inside when you see parents and children doing all the things you were supposed to get to do? It’s ok.
Here’s what I’m getting at. It’s ok. There is no rule book on grief. There is no list of things you “should be able to do” by a certain time in the grieving process. You do not have to feel guilty because you actually allowed yourself to do something fun WHILE you’re grieving. On the flipside, it’s also ok if you decline or cancel plans because the grief is too heavy on a particular day. Grief does not have a schedule and we are not programmed to pick and choose when we grieve and when we don’t.
It’s also ok if you want to talk about your baby openly and freely. It’s ok if you choose not to. I have been very open about the loss of our baby because it has allowed me to connect with other people who truly understand. If that’s not what “fills your cup,” as they say, it’s ok.
I have also talked semi-openly about our struggles with getting pregnant again after our loss. In the beginning, I talked about it very openly because we had tons of hope. By the fourth round, I had become VERY tight-lipped about it. I was tired of receiving bad news. And I was also tired of delivering bad news. So, I stopped telling people.
But you know what? It’s ok. This final round of IVF I found myself trying my hardest to maintain a positive outlook throughout the entire process. But I was faking it most of the time. Yes, I was hopeful because we were doing some things differently than the previous three rounds. But somehow amidst all the hope, I still found myself doubting everything. And it’s ok. You don’t have to be “Polly Positivity” all the time. It’s ok if you have lost hope for now. If you surround yourself with the right people, they will have hope when you can’t.
It’s ok if you decide to cut people out of your life who are not helpful to your healing (I’m sure there is a “right and wrong” way to do this, but I don’t know what it is).
It’s ok if you are selfish sometimes. Saying “no” to something because you’re exhausted does not make you a bad human. It makes you a real one.
It’s also ok if you teach people how to be there for you. People generally have good intentions but sometimes don’t know what to say. Recently I told a friend about our last failed round of IVF. She said “I’m sorry. I don’t know what to say except I’m here if you need anything.” And you know what? That is the most perfect thing anyone could say. I get it. It’s an uncomfortable topic and I don’t mean to make anyone uncomfortable. It’s ok to just be there.
It’s ok to take a social media hiatus if the constant flood of family pictures is too much for you right now.
It’s ok to be non-committal because you have no idea how you will feel weeks or months from now.
It’s ok to be a blob on the couch all weekend (guilty) because you just “can’t even.”
IT’S OK TO ASK FOR HELP. (I say this to you but also to myself). You do not have to grieve alone, and you do not have to “figure it out” on your own. It’s ok to ask a professional for help. It’s ok to do something that makes you happy. It’s ok to withdraw while you sort out your feelings.
I wish that I could tell you that it’s going to be ok. Yes, it probably will be. But it almost never feels that way in the moment. But what I CAN tell you, with 100% certainty, is that what you are feeling is ok. Don’t question yourself so much. You are probably right. If you feel it, it’s valid.
You are doing everything you can, and that’s ok.
About Lindsey Dell
Lindsey is a mother to 2 angel babies. She lives in Cottleville, MO with her husband Nathan and their 4-year-old Wheaten Terrier, Louie. They are still hopeful that they will have their rainbow baby one day.