Thursday, February 28, 2013
What Are You Feeling?
To help you express your emotions and share your story with others, it will be helpful to identify and define what you have lost and how you feel about it. Follow these steps:
1. Identify your loss. What did you lose? This seemed so obvious to me when I first went to write my response to this post...I lost my son, twin brother to my youngest child. But then I realized that I lost so much more. I lost my naivety about pregnancy, I lost my innocence. I lost friends. I lost the respect of some people (thankfully I gained it by many, many more people)...I guess I lost a big piece of myself.
2. Determine your specific feelings about that loss. Initially I felt intense sadness and much confusion. I just didn't. understand if I wasn't meant to bring two babies home from the hospital then why did I get pregnant with twins in the first place. I felt guilty for not being overjoyed at the news that I was having twins. And then I felt angry and bitter. Those feelings came later, after the boys were born. They tied into the loss of friends and respect. I was so angry that the life I knew was gone, that people couldn't understand the new me, that people would judge me...but most of all I felt angry that this was my life...that I was to be the mom of an angel twin.
3. Tell someone: "I'm feeling —— because of this loss." I didn't do well at expressing some of this but I think I shared bits and pieces of it with others and never kept it inside for too long. Unfortunately the people I told were somtimes very unsure how to react and sometimes were judgemental. Loss of a child, especially in a still birth situation, is such a hard thing for people to know how to react to...what to say, what not to say. Validation for the loss was so important from everyone for me and I didn't get that from some people....I still don't from some people.
Dr. H. Norman Wright says, "What you need is more public affirmation and recognition of the fact that what you went through is a very legitimate loss, and you need to have grieving opportunities for that."
I never wanted people to have to go through the pain that I went through but part of me will always wish I could put them in my shoes so they might be able to understand and would then recognize my loss as significant, recognize Cole's life as significant. I think in time that has happened...as I could show how Cole inspired change in me and inspired me to do things for others, to fundraise, to raise awareness....I think as those things became more apparent then my loss was more validated.
Identifying your losses and your feelings is an important step to take at the personal level, but it is also important to share these feelings with another person and receive his or her affirmation.
I have an online friend, one of the very first who I met in the TTTS world, who lost her son about 18 months before I lost Cole. She has never been public in her loss, she doesn't say much outside of the TTTS world about him, she rarely speaks his name. She is still grieving so badly and finds it so hard to move forward.
I, on the other hand, needed to learn to stop talking about it at times...maybe I still do. I don't pick up on cues that others don't want to hear me talk about it...actually I don't really care. Why? Because I feel I am honoring my son's memory by mentioning him and by sharing what he has inpsired me to do. Obviously I had not been inspired to do much in the first few months but even then, by sharing Cole and our journey with others I think I helped myself move on and find acceptance. I didn't hide my emotions, I didn't hide my son.
"Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God" (Romans 15:7)
Righteous God, thank you so much for helping me to understand what I was feeling, and finding those with whom I could share my feelings? Continue to make this clear to me, and give me the courage to follow through. Help me to be that person for others, the person that they can share with. Help me to help them.