In just a few weeks we are celebrating the tenth birthday of our stillborn daughter, Lauren. I’ve noticed a heaviness leading up to this important milestone and I wanted to share with you how I handle waves of grief. Whether you are deep in the storm of fresh loss or a little further out you will be able to be kinder to yourself and have a plan for how to deal with grief waves. We know that they will come, but it’s a lot less scary when you are ready for them.
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Photo by Britanee Jean Photography
Music by ZingDog on Pond5
I have a really special episode for you that you are not gonna wanna miss. What I’m gonna do today is I love sharing tips and all the things you can do to manage life after loss, but sometimes you just need examples and you just need to know what it’s like when you’re in the middle of it.
And I am in the middle of it right now, and so I’m gonna share. In real time, what I am doing to take care of myself as I navigate a grief wave. As my daughter’s 10th birthday is coming up, it’s so hard to believe. I just have to say before I dive in, I am so grateful for you because we have just passed 20,000 downloads and.
That number means a whole lot of grieving hearts who hopefully got some comfort and some direction and some help along their path. And I wanna thank you for being here. I want to thank you for sharing the podcast. I want to thank you for writing reviews, and I hope you’ll continue doing that. My goal is to help as many lost parents as I can to really find the hope they need and to have the tools and the, just the perspective that they need to know how to do this, how to live life after loss and not just a less than.
Sort of sad life without their baby, but a beautiful life where they get to reach their dreams in honor of their baby, even though they aren’t physically with them. So again, I thank you and I ask you, will you please write a review? Will you tell your friends? Will you share an episode that you have really loved and that has helped you?
Um, that. Just such a gift, and I’m so grateful that I get to share the things that I’ve learned in the past decade to help you along your way. So here’s what’s happening. I noticed. A few weeks ago, just a little bit of heaviness coming up and was thinking a lot about my daughter. Um, her birthday is in the middle of March and she would be 10 years old, like I said, and I have learned a lot along the way, but my goal with this episode is to really keep it short and sweet and real.
For you because if you are going through a grief wave or you’ve got something coming up soon that you feel like might kinda be building into a wave, you don’t need a whole lot of advice. You just need a few simple things to hold onto. Um, we don’t need to overwhelm ourselves with self-coaching or trying to do models or trying to do this perfectly.
We just need to take care of ourselves. And so I’m just gonna give you a little bit. , you know, my ideas of what helps and also share what I’m doing. And I hope that you’re really gonna love this and take something away from it. I always say just, just one thing. If there’s one thing that I say that helps you, next time you’re in a grief wave, or if you’re in a grief wave now, That is what I’m here for.
That’s what I want for you and that’s what I want you to choose on purpose to take away. Cuz this is a process and there’s lots of time for you to figure everything out as you go. So the first tip I have is you wanna recognize your grief. Like I was telling you, I knew this birthday was coming up, but I was really busy.
You know, it’s life is. A lot. I have a big family. I’ve got a husband with a busy job. I’ve got lots of stuff at church that I do and, and running my business, but I just started noticing grief. And for me, what that feels like in my body is I feel a heaviness kind of at the bottom of my heart. Like I don’t even know.
In my heart, like when you feel your heart just swell with warmth, when you’re, um, in love or excited or whatever, it’s almost like lower than that. It’s not in my throat, it’s not in my stomach. It’s just this kind of emptiness around and below my heart, and it’s just slowly vibrating there. Um, if it had a color, it would probably be like a dark, a dark blue maybe.
I haven’t thought of the color, but this is something you can do. It’s like just describe it. Um, but it’s definitely a heavy cool energy. And then I feel it under my eyes almost in. You know, where you put, um, concealer under your eyes so you don’t look so tired. I feel it there. And I felt that a lot in my early grief was just, you know, when you’re crying all the time and you’re feeling like you might cry all the rest of the time.
And so it’s just kind of under there. Um, it’s almost like a hollowness. That’s there when I close my eyes and feel it. It’s just there. Now, I have learned over the years that this is what grief feels like to me. This sometimes sneaks up on me. I’ll just notice like I feel really tired. I kind of like feel heavy and I feel a little more emotional than normal, like what is going on with me?
And then I’ll just realize, oh, there’s this reminder, there’s this milestone. Or I’m just thinking. My baby’s more and there’s nothing wrong with it. You just have to get to know your grief. And that’s something I think is so important cuz if you don’t know, and it might evolve over time, so you gotta keep paying attention.
But if you don’t know what it is, you might just think there’s something wrong with you or people might even notice, um, that you’re just a little bit off. And. And a lot of times you can’t tell on the outside so much, but it’s almost, it’s just inside. It’s a heaviness. Um, and that’s sadness and just missing your baby.
And so when you can learn to recognize it, that is just, it’s so good. And then you just say, oh, that’s grief. Of course. , I am more emotional. Of course, I feel tired. Of course, I feel heavy. Of course, I, I feel myself pulling back. I noticed that a lot this time. I really pulled back and I didn’t wanna be on social media as much, and I wanted to just make space in my life for that grief.
And so when we recognize the grief, we just say, oh yeah, that totally makes sense. Why I don’t wanna be on social media, or why I don’t wanna be going out on the weekends, or why I. Just wanna, you know, kind of cocoon yourself and, and it could be different for you, but that’s what it is for me. Um, so I notice that, I recognize that, I say that is grief.
It’s really that simple. But it just takes practice and it, it just takes work. Um, and to be able to recognize it and get to know it and how it manifests for you. And if you are in deep grief right now where everything is grief, like you almost have to recognize when you’re not grieving, that’s okay too.
Just take some deep breaths and you can still name it, still recognize it, still feel it in your body and learn about it. So, Can get to know it. It’s so important. Okay. My second tip is to embrace the grief. If you are feeling a grief wave coming on, a lot of times people want to push it away. They wanna swim away, swim away, like get away from it.
Um, numb it with eating, drinking, scrolling, your phone, whatever it is. We’re like trying to avoid it. , but we know it’s coming. Just let it come. Embrace it, pull it towards you. When you’re not afraid of grief, when you know grief, you can embrace it. The reason I think a lot of people don’t wanna embrace it and they wanna push it away, number one is we dredge our grief.
We think we should be over it. We think this thing shouldn’t be bringing up a grief wave. We think that all these things we just judge ourselves and we. We wanna push the grief away, we wanna downplay the grief. Um, we don’t like it. And then we also get really afraid of grief. Like, well, if I embrace grief, I think I’ll just climb into a deep, dark hole and cry and never come out of it.
And that’s not true. It’s really not true. The opposite is true if you say, oh, I feel a grief wave of coming on. I notice myself feeling this way. I know what this feels like. , that’s what it is. It’s grief, and I’m gonna embrace it. I’m gonna give it a big old hug. I’m gonna bring it along with me wherever I go, like a big teddy bear.
It’s gonna feel so much better. It’s gonna feel so much peace, more peaceful because you’re not fighting it, um, you’re not putting that extra layer of pain on by judging your grief or wishing it was different or trying to put it away. What happens is it’s like pushing a beach ball underwater. You’re just going to have to take so much energy to keep shoving it down and shoving it down and shoving it down.
But if you just give it a hug, it’s actually gonna help you, right? It’s gonna make you float. Um, it can help you get to shore. , and that is really, really important. And then my last tip is just to take care of yourself. Now, this looks different for everyone, but for me this time as I come up on this pretty big birthday, um, like I said, I stepped back a little from social media.
Uh, there’s other things that I’m saying, and no too, like a friend was just telling me that. Child wants my child to play spring soccer, and I’m like, I just don’t. I’ve got a lot going on and I don’t know if that’s where I wanna put my energy. I don’t know if I can handle that. I, I like to give myself space and I like quiet.
I am an introvert, like through and through, and so that’s what I find myself doing and I’ve done that ever since. Like the beginning, I feel like, and especially I remember Lauren’s first birthday, we actually went out into the mountains. We had no cell coverage, we had no people, just our little family.
And we brought cupcakes and we went camping and it was perfect. And a lot of times that’s what I want to do is I want to get out and get away into nature. Get quiet this year. We are like under piles and piles of snow. So I don’t know what it’s gonna look like in a couple weeks, but if I can get outside and just get some fresh air and some peace, that’s what I’m gonna do.
Some other things I have done is just to. Like I said, slow down. I also let people know, like the people who need to know, I’m gonna tell them. And that takes practice and that takes courage. Sometimes when you’re navigating this and saying, is it okay to even say, Hey, I’m feeling a grief wave today and I wanna work from home, or I’m feeling a grief wave today.
Um, can you come get my other kiddos so I can just rest? Whatever it is you need to do. Like, can you tell people, tell the people you care about, tell your partner, tell your family, um, tell the people at work. And that’s what I did was I told my colleagues and I tend to kind of power through and I, I handle things pretty well and like I, um, I really am fine.
I just notice that heaviness and that tiredness and so I let my colleagues know I work for another. A little bit, and she’s been so great to just really be supportive of any time that we’re struggling. And it’s so amazing to work with someone like that. I just try to be really, really aware of where I’m putting my energy in.
If it’s summer, I want to put it, and I think this is really important, um, when you’re in a grief wave, you gotta go back kind of into that survival mode, not in the sense that you’re like, Curled up in a corner like starving in whatever picture we get when we say survival mode. But I, I think this is just something that our bodies do, that our nervous systems do, that our, that our energy, like it knows when the grief is hitting hard.
You gotta get rid of the fluff. Like we don’t do the fluff, we just do the essentials and we really take care of ourselves. And it might be taking a bath or whatever, like pampering yourself, but to me it really means that you. You pay attention to your energy, what you really need. What do you need coming in to replenish you?
What do you need to stop putting out that you just don’t have right now? Um, so that you can really take care of yourself? And I want you to know that crying is okay. Losing your temper is okay as long as you’re like not assaulting anybody. Um, you know, whatever you need to. Do it and do it on purpose. Do it as caring for yourself.
Instead of saying, oh my goodness, my grief is so heavy today. I just like, I can’t go to this birthday party. You just say, I choose not to go to this birthday party because I am taking care of me and I’m in the middle of a grief wave and that is the best thing for me to do. Um, and then we’d be really honest about what’s going on and just leave it at that.
And we don’t worry about, you know, what anybody else is thinking, what they’re feeling. We just take care of ourselves. Um, and. That little shift is just so powerful. So when I say how do I deal with a, a grief wave, that’s what I do. I recognize that it’s a grief wave, right? I recognize the grief because I know it because I’ve made it into my best friend.
I embrace it, I bring it closer, and I just say, I’m gonna have a couple weeks where I’m going to need to take care of myself, and I’m gonna take really good care of my energy and I’m gonna do everything that I absolutely need to do. But if there’s stuff I don’t want to do, I’m gonna choose not to do that.
This is what I work on with my clients all the time because as you listen, you’re thinking, yeah, this makes a lot of sense. This sounds really helpful. But sometimes implementing it is really hard, especially when maybe we’ve never done this before and we do have people around us, so we’re not sure how they’re gonna react, and we have a lot of judgment about ourselves.
Whether we’re doing grief right, whether we’re doing it wrong, what’s gonna happen if we decide to take care of our grief that we’ve kind of pushed down for a really long time? All of those things are things that I will help you with when you work with me. You will learn how to embrace your grief, how to recognize your grief, and how to take care of yourself, and everything is gonna get so much easier when you work with.
Because I’m gonna be there to cheer for you and to help you, and to guide you through all of this as you figure it out for yourself. So you’re gonna figure it out a lot faster. You don’t have to wait a decade. Um, come and talk to me. My packages are three months long to begin with because I think that’s a perfect amount of time to really dive into what you’re struggling with, figure out a solution and start implementing it, and then.
Every time we start something new, there’s gonna be all these obstacles that pop up, and so I’m gonna be right there with you all the way through it. If you want to know deeply, truly, and confidently how to navigate grief waves now and for the rest of your life, go in the show notes, sign up for a connection call.
I have got you into everyone listening. Again, thank you so much for being here. I love you so much. I think you’re amazing and valuable, and I appreciate you more than I can express. I’ll see you next time. Are you tired of feeling like your baby’s death was somehow your fault? Go to Smooth Stones coaching.com and get my free mini course.
How to Stop Blaming Yourself After Loss.