Hi my readers.
Today’s post is one of the most difficult ones I have written yet and probably will ever write. I will be talking about dealing with loss and in order to do so, I will share my biggest loss with you today. I thought I owed the truth to you guys to explain why there will be no motherhood posts now. At least not until next time, that is.
As some of you may have read in my posts on The Bump and After, I was pregnant and I was packing my hospital bag in the last post. I went into labour on the 9th of November, 2016. Everything was normal up until my baby girl’s heartbeat dropped. Not once, but twice. I was immediately taken into the operation theatre for an emergency C-section. I had a baby girl on the 10th of November in the a.m. I’m not going to go into much detail here but she was in critical condition and was in the NICU for 60 hours before she left us and this world. There was no warning and no apparent reason as to why it all happened. I lost my first child and I lost myself with her. I had her a day before my birthday and I lost her a day after. Mine and my husband’s lives have forever changed.
I considered myself very fortunate for never having to go through the death of a very close loved one yet. Someone whose loss would affect my every day life. So when this happened, I completely lost it. I don’t think there is a relation closer than a child to a mother and for her to see that child taken away from her forever, trust me it’s more unbearable than you can even begin to imagine.
It hasn’t been all too long since everything, but even in these past few weeks, I learnt so much about grief and dealing with it. Here, I am reflecting upon some important points I feel everyone grieving over someone’s loss ought to know, because believe it or not, people have a tendency to give you a whole ton of crap advice that you definitely need to ignore.
Your grief is yours alone. No comparison, no judgement.
The aftermath of death is a process, one that every individual handles differently. Their experience is personal, and no one can be judged by the amount of grief they exhibit in public. Same goes for you. Don’t compare your grief to the way others handle theirs. I found that I was having a harder time handling myself than my husband. And he was the only one who was going through the exact same thing as I was. I would be crying everyday all day and he would be handling me. Sometimes I thought to myself, ‘Am I overreacting? If he can be strong, can’t I?’
That’s when I realised that everyone deals with this process in their own way. Some can’t seem to control themselves at all, some cry silently to themselves at night, while some don’t cry at all. If they are silent it doesn’t mean that they are not grieving and if they are out of control it doesn’t mean that they need to shut up.
So when people tell you to get a grip on yourself, you really don’t need to. The sooner you realise this the better. Keeping things bottled up inside will only make you explode more in the end.
Allow yourself to grieve.
You need to give yourself time and space. You need to let it all out. If you feel like crying, cry. Don’t feel like talking to people, don’t. Not ready to face the world, stay in. Just don’t force yourself into doing something you or people think you should be doing. Know that the only way across the mountain is to climb it. So go for it, cry it all out and allow yourself to be sad. You are not expected to be cheery. You are allowed to be f-cked up.
When you’re ready, talk about it.
For a while in the start, I tried to avoid as many people as I possibly could. Even though I appreciated all the people coming to visit (whom I never went in front of), the messages (that I replied to days after) and calls (that I let someone else receive), it was like a hot iron rod twist down my chest. It was a reminder that no, it wasn’t a horrible dream and yes, it all happened. I’m so glad my family and husband understood that I needed time, so I kept myself hidden. I allowed myself to be vulnerable and it seemed to make it easier. You have already been through a lot, trust me, you don’t need anyone to ask you questions and make it any worse than it already is. People also need to understand that, but you can’t stop everyone. You need to stop yourself.
Talk about the incident with loved ones only when you’re ready. It makes a difference to share your emotions and feelings, but only when you are ready to hear what the other person has to say. Talking will start your healing process. Opening up and being honest does not mean you are weak, but that you are strong enough to talk about it.
Let your friends be there for you.
For what seems like the longest time, I did not talk to or meet my friends. After some time, I started meeting and talking to family and relatives, but not my closest best friends. Only because I knew I would break beyond repair if I saw them. My dearest friends are the ones who have seen me be happy from day one of the pregnancy. I shared everything with them, from my doctors visits to my shopping, the name, everything. And they were almost as excited as I was, obviously. So I knew if I met them, I would not be able to control myself.
When I was ready, I did meet them. And it helped. I have great friends so they did not utter a word about the whole thing and took my mind off of it.
Find your rock.
My husband. I’ve said it countless of times, but I have the best husband in the world. I don’t just say it, I mean it. We have not been married for a year (anniversary coming up January 1st) but in this short time, he has become my rock. He is my constant, my lifeline, my strength. In him, I find solace and when everything around me fell apart, he was my wall of shelter. I could not have done this without him.
Find your rock, the person who will be there for you no matter what. Whether it be your partner, a friend or parent, someone who is easy to talk to and someone who will listen. It’s comforting to know that someone constantly has your back. Someone who will love you at your worst.
Take your time.
There’s no hourglass that’s running out. There’s most definitely no pressure on you to heal before you do. Take your time. When you’re ready, you’re ready. I know that it’s not the healthiest to be crying myself to sleep each night till now, but it’s the only way I can stay somewhat sane throughout the day. It’s the only way I can put a smile on my face and be strong for my family. It’s how my mind and heart are coping with the loss. People will say what they say and they won’t be shy in telling you how to deal with the loss. But it is NOT their loss. It is YOURS. So stop giving a crap about what others say and deal with it in the best way you can. Be your own help. Because at the end of the day, only you know how deeply scarred you are.
When you lose someone, it’s like there’s a hole in your chest, like your love for them and where they lay in your heart has been ripped brutally out of you. And the truth is, that hole can never be filled. No matter how many more children the Lord Almighty blesses me with in the future, no one can replace my baby girl Irhaa. She will always be my baby, my first child and my entire life. It may get easier eventually, but there can never be a day I won’t think about her. There will never be a time when I won’t be sad about her being gone. But hopefully I won’t be crippled as much. That’s what I am aiming for and that’s what you should, too, if you’re going through the loss of someone. You can never be fixed, but it will get better. Hopefully one day I can also heal as much so I can smile when I think of her and truly appreciate the fact that she is in a much better place than this world and that she is waiting for me in heaven.
Please remember my family in your prayers.