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Express your emotion

November 21, 2012

In addition to their loss, some women will suffer the indignity of mastitis, despite taking the anti-milk tablet. It feels so cruel, having lost your baby, to have your body betray you and continue producing milk. The advice given to me was to express some of it, to relieve the pressure, but only a small amount.

When it comes to emotions, many people seem to take the same approach – you can talk about your loss, but only a little bit. However, your second grief task is to express your emotions – ALL of them.

The more you suppress your grief, your emotions, the worse it is. Not only can suppressing your emotions result in you becoming physically ill, but it makes your grief journey longer and more painful to bear, because you’re in it alone.

There is wisdom in the (Biblical) saying that trouble shared is trouble halved.

Many well-meaning individuals will try to help you move on by saying the most painful things. They are genuinely well-intentioned. They genuinely want to help. They just don’t have a clue how their insensitive comments actually make things worse.

“It could be worse…”

“You’re still young – you can have more.”

“At least you have your first/ other child/children.”

These sorts of statements only result in denying that you are grieving, that you have lost a child. Part of the reason people say these things is because they don’t know how to deal with emotion. This may be because they have their own deep-seated emotions that they can’t express (for whatever reason, and they could be on something completely unrelated). However, seeing others’ deep emotion makes them uncomfortable because they start to tap into their own pain, and they don’t know how to deal with their own pain.

You can help them by being honest about what you feel, and about what you need from them.

Scream, cry, rant, rave, break plates, write, draw, paint, run, swim… do whatever it is that gives you that emotional release.

If you struggle to do this in the presence of others, or if doing so really does create difficulties that others can’t deal with, then do it alone. Go away for a few days to a B&B and allow yourself the space to express what is inside you.

Initially, it may feel as if you’re going to get stuck in this grief task, as if your pain will never end. You may find yourself thinking that it’s not possible to cry as much as you have – can there possibly be any water left in your body to cry out?! It may feel as if you’re falling into the deepest, darkest pit, with no stairs and no rigging to climb out. The depth of your emotions may be scary to face, which is why it’s helpful to have someone else around.

But this depth of emotion, this depth of pain – it does recede. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Common wisdom says it takes about 2 years. For some it’s shorter, for others longer. Again, the length of time depends on how you progress through each of these tasks.

Next post we’ll look at the third task.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. masterzan permalink
    November 26, 2012 5:06 am

    Thank you for posting. This us really helpful. I find that when I allow myself to express my emotions, I am much more able to cope with everyday things. If I dont I end up falling into depression and then I cant do anything but lie in bed. Its hard, but it really is worth just letting it all out.

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