Today I noticed a headline on a national news website, even though it was listed under Parenting and then – warning - featured lots of happy photos of the author with her family. The article is called “Rediscovering joy after baby loss” and was published in recognition of Baby Loss Awareness Week this week. It comprised an excerpt from a new book, “Your Soul is Wintering” by Annie Anderson, telling her own story after losing babies in utero.
The excerpt itself doesn’t go into any details of her losses, though maybe her book does, or her other children (two of whom look young enough to have been born afterwards). Instead, it talks about her grief afterwards, turning to others who had experienced similar losses (as we have all done here), and observing that whilst some people had recovered and were full of joy and gave her hope, others gave the appearance that they would never recover, and implied that there was nothing they could do about it. The excerpt notes the debilitating experience of being told that life being “bearable” was the best she could hope for after such a loss, and when she realised that she wanted to be happy, and her fear that she never would be.
Grief, as we know, can be different for everyone, but I also see so many similarities too, regardless of the type of loss. The author gained great hope from this quote:
‘I am convinced that life is 10 per cent what happens to me and 90 per cent how I react to it. The same is true for you.’ Charles R. Swindoll
Although I might quibble with the exact numbers, I like the idea of the overall quote. Ultimately, how we react influences our future happiness. I touched on this last week here. Attitude, perspective, acceptance, and approach can also influence how we can recover, and long-term, how we might bounce back from setbacks, the occasional ouch moments, or hurtful comments. For me, as I often say, learning to deny those negative questions, learning to show self-compassion, knowing that I am more than my loss or childlessness/No Kidding status allowed me to feel free to embrace my new future, and allows me to continue to do that every day.
Anderson also talks about another key feeling that motivates me too. She wrote,
“I was deeply moved by a strong urge to live a life that honoured our babies, not defined by our suffering but by our love.”
I’ve used very similar words. We can, I think, all relate to this sentiment. Because whether or not we suffered a pregnancy loss, we all suffered the loss of the children we had wanted, the children we already loved so much. Honouring our love for them by living a good life can give us meaning. It honours the difficulty of what we might have been through. It makes us think of love. And it allows us to hope again, and feel true joy. I, and so many others, can attest that it is worth it.