Why Mothering The Grieving Mother Is Important

Originally posted in Still standing Magazine

Mothering your child after they’ve lost a child must be one of the hardest jobs. You are grief-stricken from the loss of your grandchild and so broken from witnessing your own child’s heartbreak. But your job is so important.

This is when your superpowers have to come out—muster all the love your heart holds and pour it into your broken child. You need to see them as the baby you birthed, the fragile little being, and hold their heart as carefully and as lovingly as you once did all those years back.

They are changed. Their strength will return one day so don’t fear that, but until then, show up. Mother them in all the ways you know how and maybe research other additional ways. They need you to be their protector.

No one ever stops needing a mother but the needs often change as we mature and evolve with time. Losing a child brings us back to needing our mothers as we once did when we were young. Now, once again, we are so vulnerable: we are fragile; we need to be fed, to be told it will be okay, to be loved fiercely, and to be physically held.

We really need to be completely supported and mothered.

Not all moms are great in times like this. When a mom fails in their role of support after a loss, it really complicates grief. It can highlight all the cracks in the relationship. Being human you probably won’t get it all right, but it is important that your child knows you are trying your best and that all your love is theirs to hold onto.

Grief can break us. In the early days, it is all-encompassing and we need help. Grief-work is exhausting and never-ending. Grief changes as we walk through life; different milestones, events, encounters, and experiences will evoke different emotions, and all that will require the grieving to work through them.

It is in these moments that we need our moms to notice and extend the loving hand.

Emotional support not easy for you? Then bring food, do some yard work, watch the other children, help around the house.

Grab them groceries so they don’t have to bump into everyone at the store before they are ready. Or just go for a quiet walk with them.

Don’t live in town? Go visit, stay in a hotel to give them space, and help with the above.

Send them care packages.

Hire someone to clean their house.

Call and text them regularly even if it is to let them know you love them.

Simply, love your child through this in all the ways you know how. Your baby needs you. Your heart is the place have always called home, so make sure they know they are always invited in.

Just do your best and make all your choices from a place of love. Be gentle with yourself and your child. Your job is tough and so important.

Myths Of Child Loss Grief: Time Doesn’t Heal

Originally published in Still Standing Magazine

Time doesn’t heal. It gives you space to find healing. Time can feel like a gift and a thief at the same time. It gives you the opportunity to do the work of filling in some of the gigantic hole left in your heart with peace, yet as it keeps rolling on, it can also feel like it is stealing all that should have been.

I hated when people would tell me to give it time, or when they would say time heals all. Frankly, it isn’t true: time doesn’t heal. I have found healing on this journey, but it wasn’t time that gifted it to me. I had to construct a toolbox, and with time I had a better idea of what tools needed to be in it to survive this. I had to use these tools to relieve the pain, to find peace, to find purpose, and to discover who I was after it all.

It was never one thing, and it still isn’t. Personally, I need to write, I need to see a counselor, I need to see a shaman for energetic healing, and I need to feel connected with God. I found different healing with each, and I am not sure how it would have unfolded if I wasn’t able to use each one. None of these tools can be used by someone else doing the work for me. The workload is completely on the grieving, and not even time can fix it.

No two people will have the exact, same recipe to survive. We are each unique just as our circumstances are all unique, and therefore our needs will all be different. But I do believe we all need a toolbox. Grief is exhausting; working your way through it is equally tough work. Grief has so many layers. Once you find some peace with the loss of your baby, there is a whole other layer of work learning to be okay with all of the secondary losses.

I want to encourage everyone to find their medicine and use it. It could be gardening, running, yoga, crafting, writing, group grief meetings, energetic work, faith, meditation, traditional counselling, or anything else that can lift your vibration and leave you feeling lighter. Listen to your heart and your body—they will tell you what feels right—and then keep doing it. The effects aren’t often immediate; sometimes, you need to sit in the emotions that were brought to the surface and work through them. It is hard work, but you can do it. The hole left may never completely be filled, but peace can fill some of the open space. You can feel lighter, you can welcome joy, and you can still have a lust for life, but it takes work, and we cannot only rely on time to heal.