As a grieving mother, I know firsthand the struggles that come with losing a child. The pain is indescribable, and the emotions that come with it can be overwhelming. In this blog post, I want to share my own personal experience with grief and the challenges I've faced and how I've learned to handle them.
1. Overwhelming Emotions
Losing a child can trigger a range of intense and overwhelming emotions. My emotions became a rollercoaster. In the beginning, I was drowning in sadness and was easily angered. I also felt immense guilt for not being able to prevent my daughter's death and jealousy towards other luckier families.
To cope, I've learned to give myself permission to feel my emotions, even the difficult ones. I've also found it helpful to talk to other parents who have experienced a similar loss, since they can understand the depth of my emotions in a way that others cannot.
2. Sense of Identity and Purpose
Being a mother was once the defining part of my identity, and now that role is split in two: parenting my living, breathing son and being a bereaved parent of a 17-year-old daughter who is now in heaven. It's hard to know who I am now that I'm not a mom in the way I thought I would be.
To handle this challenge, I've been exploring new hobbies and interests. It's also helped to find ways to honour Katie's memory, such as creating photo books or starting a scholarship in her name. These actions give me a sense of purpose and help me feel connected to Katie.
3. Changes in Relationships
After losing Katie, some of my relationships changed. Some people were incredibly supportive, while others didn't know what to say or do. This can be isolating and difficult to navigate.
To cope, I've learned to communicate my needs to those around me. I've also sought out counselling and created a community of other grieving moms. It helps to connect with people who understand what I'm going through and can offer empathy and compassion.
4. Difficulty Adjusting to a New Normal
Adjusting to a world without my daughter has been one of the hardest parts of my grief journey. I had to learn how to navigate life without her and find a new sense of normalcy.
To handle this challenge, I've created new routines and rituals that honour Katie's memory. I also try to focus on gratitude and find joy in small things each day. It's a slow process, but over time, I've found that I've been able to adjust to this new normal; as much as one can after child loss.
5. Mental and Physical Health Challenges
Grief takes a toll on both mental and physical health. I have experienced physical symptoms like loss of appetite and insomnia, as well as mental health challenges like anxiety and depression.
To handle this challenge, I've prioritized my self-care. I go to therapy, practice meditation, and exercise regularly. I've also found it helpful to take breaks and give myself time to rest when I need it.
6. Spiritual and Existential Questions
Losing a child can raise deep spiritual and existential questions. It's been hard to make sense of why this happened to our family. Why my child is something I used to ask a lot.
To handle this challenge, I've turned to spiritual practices like meditation. I also find comfort in talking to other parents who have experienced child loss and in sharing stories about Katie.
7. Fear of Forgetting
One of my biggest fears is that the world will forget my daughter. Sometimes I want to scream "My daughter existed! Please don't forget her!".
To handle this challenge, I've created a memorial space in my home where I can go to feel close to my girl. I also try to incorporate Katie's memory into my daily life. For example, I might wear a piece of jewelry that belonged to her or post photos on social media. This helps me feel like Katie is still a part of my life, even though she is no longer physically here.
As a grieving mother, I know that there are no easy answers or quick fixes when it comes to handling grief.
By acknowledging my emotions, staying connected with others, and finding ways to honour Katie's memory, I've learned to live again and even find joy and purpose. I've also learned that it's okay to ask for help and to take things one day at a time.
If you're a grieving mother, I want you to know that you're not alone. There are others who have gone through what you're going through, and we're here to offer support and understanding.
Don't be afraid to reach out and ask for help if you need it. You deserve compassion, love, and care during this difficult time.
If this blog resonated with you, you might also be interested in this blog: 18 Things I wish Someone had Told Me about Grief.
Walking beside you,
PS: I have also created a list of over 80+ ways to get through your child's birthday, Mother's Day, Christmas, and all the other significant days of the year. Each holiday has mix-and-match ideas. You can read more about it HERE.