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How Do I Live My Life Now That it Feels so Different?

How do I live my life after baby loss?

How Do I Live My Life Now?

This topic is a common one that I work on with my clients. It's a feeling of "Now what?". And I remember feeling it myself. Now what do I do because my whole future was supposed to be different than what it is? Now how am I supposed to enjoy my life when I feel like I'll never be okay again? It feels like in an instant everything in your life has changed. You look at life differently and you are essentially a different person. So how do you navigate that? These are questions that come up and can keep a person stuck in a loop of sadness and depression without any help.

Losing a baby is one of the most devastating experiences anyone can go through. As a mother, the dreams you had for your child and the life you envisioned are shattered. It feels like a piece of your heart has been taken away, leaving you to navigate a world that suddenly feels unrecognizable. Life is different now, and the question that often lingers is, "How do I live my life now?"

Allow Your Grief

First and foremost, you have to acknowledge your grief. Losing a baby is a tragic loss, and it's okay to feel all the emotions—from sadness and anger to confusion and numbness. Grief is not a linear process and I'm not a huge believer in the stages of grief. I think there is no graduating from one stage to another leaving the previous stage behind. In my 24 years so far as a baby loss mama, I can tell you for sure that the phases of grief come and go and sometimes at the most unexpected times. Some days, you might feel somewhat okay, and on others, the pain may feel unbearable. Allow yourself to grieve in whatever way feels right for you. There is no "right" way to mourn the loss of your baby. Cry when you need to, talk about your baby, write down your feelings, or simply sit in silence. Your grief is unique, and it's valid.

Find Support

You don't have to go through this alone. The feeling of isolation is real and can be lonely and scary at times. Surround yourself with people who understand and support you. This might include family and friends, but oftentimes it doesn't because you may feel misunderstood or your grief might feel discounted in their attempt to make you feel better. It could also mean joining a support group for mothers who have experienced similar losses. PS I have a new group program where we do just that in a way that's healing. Beware of the ones who keep you swirling in negativity and pain. Talking to others who have been there can be incredibly comforting. They understand your pain in a way that others might not. You may find that you need a therapist to help in healing. Many specialize in grief and loss and are wonderful, but my clients sometimes report that there was a missing piece and lack of understanding if they hadn't experienced this type of loss personally. And just for reference, a therapist deals with helping you examine the past to get to the root cause of your pain in order to understand your current behaviors. A life coach takes where you are right now, determines where you want to get to, and helps you create the actions and behaviors to get you there. In a nutshell, it's dealing with your past vs your future and in many cases both a therapist and a coach are necessary.

Honor Your Baby's Memory

Finding ways to honor and remember your baby can be a healing process. This could be through creating a memory box, planting a tree, or writing letters to your baby. Some mothers find comfort in celebrating their baby's birthday or due date with a small, personal ritual. Whatever you choose, these acts of remembrance can help keep the connection with your baby alive and give you a sense of peace. Some of my clients have hosted fundraisers and one of my clients created an organization that provides gift boxes to new loss moms. The possibilities are endless and can be a great way to honor your baby and allow others to help you celebrate them.

Rebuild Your Identity

After the loss of a baby, many mothers struggle with a sense of lost identity. You might feel like a different person, and in reality, you are. The experience of loss changes you. Take time to rediscover who you are now, and do it without judgment. This experience may cause you to have a negative body image or frustration with yourself so beware of those thoughts that are self-defeating. Take some time to discover what you might like to do now. You see life differently after loss and your priorities may have changed so be OK with that. Maybe you'll find some new interests, reconnect with old ones, or simply allow yourself to be in the present moment. Remember that it's okay to change and evolve. Give yourself permission to redefine what it means for you to be a mom who has suffered a loss and is reimagining life afterward.

What it Means to Move Forward

Grieving can take a toll on your physical and emotional well-being. It’s crucial to take care of yourself, even when it feels difficult. Try to eat nourishing foods, get some rest, and engage in anything that brings you comfort. Taking care of your body and mind doesn’t mean you are forgetting your baby; it means you are giving yourself the strength to carry your grief. Moving forward doesn’t mean forgetting your baby or the love you have for them. It means finding a new way to live your life while carrying your memory with you. Don't allow yourself to feel guilty about finding happiness again and dreaming new dreams. Your life will be different, but it can still be beautiful. Take small steps each day, and be gentle with yourself as you navigate this new path.

It's Okay to Feel Joy Again

This is something my clients always feel guilty about. Sometimes even smiling or laughing will trigger so many emotions of guilt. They feel like every time they get a feeling of joy it's one step further from remembering their baby. Some even dangerously keep their emotions in sadness anger and grief as a way to honor their baby but it's not helpful or healthy. Your baby needs you to take the memory of their short life and this experience to appreciate life and find joy again. Little by little, allow yourself to notice and embrace small moments of happiness. It might be the warmth of the sun on your face, the comfort of your partner or a pet, or a kind word from a friend. These small joys don’t erase your pain, but they can coexist with it. It’s okay to smile, to laugh, and to feel moments of peace.

Focus on Your Relationships

Speaking of your partner, grief can put a strain on relationships, but it can also bring people closer together. Communicate openly with your partner, family, and friends about your feelings and needs. Let them know how they can support you and don't be shy about asking for what you need. Remember that everyone grieves differently, and it’s important to give yourself and others grace during this time. Strengthening your relationships can provide a solid foundation as you navigate your grief.

Give Yourself Time

Healing is a long and often slow process. There is no timeline for grief, and it’s important to give yourself the time you need. Some days will be harder than others, and that’s okay. Be patient with yourself and recognize that it’s a journey. There is no rush to “get over” your loss; instead, focus on finding ways to live with your grief and integrate it into your life.

Find Meaning Where You Can

I'm never going to be that person who will say "I'm glad this happened" in regards to my twins' loss, but I do think if you can find some small glimmer of how it caused you to live your life in a more positive way, it can make your healing so much easier. Many mothers find solace in creating meaning from their loss. As humans, our brains are constantly looking for reasons why things happen. Whether you know the reason your baby didn't survive or not, see if you can find some peace with what happened. I have a new small group program called Finding Peace because I remember as a new loss mom that's what I searched for the most. I knew if I could find a way to make peace with my loss I could begin to move forward with my life again. For you, it could be through advocacy, volunteering, or supporting other mothers who have experienced similar losses. Finding a sense of purpose can help you feel connected to your baby and provide a way to honor their memory. Your experience, as painful as it is, can become a source of strength and support for others as it heals you.

Now That Your Life IS Different

Living life after the loss of a baby is an incredibly challenging journey. It’s filled with pain, but also with the potential for healing and growth. Jennifer Senn is a Grief Coach for Stillbirth Moms and helps women let go of the blame, process their grief, and figure out what’s next for their future. You can learn more at Your baby will always be a part of you and their love will continue to guide you as you navigate your baby loss..


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