Today we are talking about denial.
You may be asking yourself why. What does this have to do with your stillborn?
Your body prepared for a baby, your house was ready, your family was ready, your mind was ready, but your baby did not come with you when you left the hospital. The room prepared is empty. The diapers are unused, and the clothes will not be worn, and your family is no long congratulating you but consoling you. Your body does not know you lost your child. Your breast will produce milk, not for long, but it will happen, and your body is or was recovering from labor. So, how is your mind doing during all of this? Is it playing tricks on you? Is the overwhelming grief trying to convince your mind that the last nine months never happened? Have you evaluated where your mind is?
For me, everything that had happened didn’t feel real. I could sense my mind fighting to pretend the last ten months did not occur. Protective instinct, I guess. I had to make a conscious effort not to let my mind trick my body into thinking Nila was just a dream, that I made it all up. My body was proof of a baby. My heart was proof of pain after losing my baby, but my world contradicted that proof. I battled with keeping my mind in the present and grieving, and the evidence of my grief wasn’t enough to keep my mind from trying to convince my heart that nothing happened because if nothing happened, then I could sweep my grief under the rug.
Therefore, I ask again, have you evaluated where your mind is? Is your mind battling your heart? Who is winning?
Are you in denial about your loss?
The goal is to evaluate if you are fighting denial concerning the loss of your child. Once you have considered where you are, here are the following steps:
What is your denial? Some possible contradictions could be the following::
- I was never pregnant.
- The loss of my child never happened. I am still waiting.
- My grief is not necessary since they were stillborn.
Regardless of what type of denial you are experiencing, I only have one suggestion:
- Tell your story.
After my mother passed, my dad told me that healing comes from telling your story. Tell the following accounts:
- Restating the pregnancy
- the birth
- the burial, and the funeral.
You can tell your story by:
- Talking to someone
- Writing a letter
- Writing a book
Memories come from telling your child’s story, and when you have memories, your mind can match what your body is going through. Having your mind and body in sync will allow the process of grieve to continue on the following stages healthily.
If the loss of your child was long ago and you find that you have not dealt with your denial, know as you do the suggestions above that going back to these moments will bring about grief. The grief may feel as fresh as the day you lost your baby. Allow as much heartache in as you can. Keep doing this until the sorrow lessens. Keep working through this until you can come to terms with the truth. You lost a baby(s), they are not coming back, and that is okay.
Staying in your grief and going through the process will allow you to move past the stage of denial. Stay as long as you need but keep in mind the goal is to get out.
The following is for someone who has just lost a child. Please follow your heart during this time. Do what make you feel comfortable no matter what your family and friend say.
DO WHAT YOU WANT!
Shortly after Nila was stillborn, the hospital presented the option of cremation, burial, funeral, or none. I chose to make as many memories as possible to draw from them and make sense of my grief. I encourage you to stand up for what you need in this time and make decisions based on that alone.
If you don’t want a funeral, then don’t have one. If you wish to cremate, than do that! Follow what feels best for you. There is no wrong answer. I pray you would not feel forced into something that does not work for you!
As you work on your denial, meditate on scripture. Here is a suggestion:
Colossians 3:2 “Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” EVS
Until next time.
Disclaimer, I am not a therapist or doctor. If you are considering hurting yourself or others, please seek medical attention. This advice and may not work for everyone.