Invisible Mom: Overcoming the loss
Navigating my way through an unbearable loss and finding ways to cope with my grief.
It has been over two months since my last blog post… YIKES!
My apologies to my readers. I dropped a heavy post, received a ton of heartfelt messages and responses, then went dark! There have been so many changes in my life since that post, which I will touch on in the coming weeks.
Circling back to the last post (link to post here), I wanted to share the steps I took to heal from my loss and the other factors that helped me along the way.
I had to let myself grieve and feel everything I was going to feel. Anger, heartbreak, grief, physical pain, unbearable sadness, and shame. No matter how you experience a pregnancy loss, your hormones don’t just go away. Everything you were experiencing during your pregnancy, you experience for some time after. Only there is no longer a beautiful life to look forward to bringing into the world. When you experience a loss from termination, there is a lot of physical pain that you experience. It was probably two weeks of feeling the ups and downs of the hormones that were slowly but surely, leaving my body. It was also a solid two weeks of not leaving the house. Barely being able to move from the bed to the living room.
ASK FOR HELP
The moment I realized I had been abandoned, my mom immediately came to stay with me. She never left until the day I told her I was genuinely okay to be alone. There was one night in particular that I remember hitting my absolute lowest moment. I was lying in bed alone. I had told my mom that I was having a really hard time. She came in and laid down with me. She asked me a few different questions, just trying to figure out where I was emotionally. At the end of this brief line of careful questioning, the following sentence came out of my mouth… “Mom, I don’t want to do anything to harm myself but I need you to know that I no longer want to be alive. I know this feeling is strong and I know that I need help.”
I cannot imagine what was going through my mom’s mind when I said this to her. My heart breaks knowing that at that moment, she was probably terrified to leave me alone. I knew I wasn’t going to do anything to hurt myself. I have always been well in tune with my mental health and pride myself on knowing when I need help, whether that is medication, therapy or to step away from something. After I said this to my mom, she contacted a friend of mine who works in the mental health field. She advised she take me to the emergency room and have me evaluated. All of my personal belongings were taken from me, I was instructed to remove my clothes and put on a gown, and needed to wait to be evaluated. Thankfully, my mom was able to stay with me the entire time. The sweet woman who came in to evaluate me assured me that I was in no way a harm to myself, but was very depressed and needed to see a therapist ASAP.
The next day I was connected with a licensed therapist and immediately began weekly sessions. I was also put on anti-depressants. My mood was improving and so were my dark thoughts. The only thing that was not changing was my need for acceptance. I was struggling to accept myself and forgive myself for the decision I had made. The therapy was helping tremendously, but it wasn’t helping me move forward.
My mom, in a desperate attempt to do everything in her power to make me whole again, was researching was women have healed from termination. She came across an organization called Rachel’s Vineyard. The organization aims to provide support to those affected by abortion. This can be the woman who was pregnant, the partner, a parent, a grandparent, or even a sibling of an aborted child. RV has even been a place of peace for those who work for organizations that offer abortion.
Interestingly enough, RV is formed by the Catholic Church but is a non-denominational organization. While prayer is a part of the retreat weekends, they focus mainly on shared experiences, the grieving process, and finding acceptance within yourself and all those involved. My retreat weekend was one I’ll never forget.
I will not share much from that weekend as I want to protect the privacy of everyone there. What I will share is this. Our ages ranged from 25-60+. I had experienced my abortion almost two months prior, while some of the other retreatants had been carrying this pain with them for decades. The courage these women had to go there that weekend and speak their truth, was unbelievable. It gave me strength.
The part that brought me the most closure was at the very end of the weekend. The volunteers who organized this weekend put together a final dinner for us and anyone we invited. My mom and my best friend joined me. After dinner, the entire group made our way to the chapel. Each retreatant gave a name to their child, wrote a letter to be shared, and was given a certificate of life for their child. As a symbol for our child(ren), we were given a small doll to place in a cradle and be laid to rest. It was a beautiful memorial service and the perfect way to end our weekend. This brought so much peace to all of us women. Oftentimes, when you experience an abortion you are never given permission to grieve your loss. This memorial service is a unique opportunity for women to give honor and dignity to their children.
I will always be a huge mental health advocate. I continue to take medication to help with my anxiety and seek therapy when needed. There is no shame in addressing and taking care of your mental health. There are so many options to get the help you need:
Suicide Prevention Hotline
Bottom line… ASK FOR HELP! Lean into family, a friend, or even your doctor. I didn’t want to burden anyone, but I knew I needed help. The burden of grief is far harder to bear than helping someone move through their struggles. If you know someone struggling, help them and keep helping them. Get them as much help as you can no matter how hard they fight you. They will thank you one day, I promise.
Let your sun shine ☀️