After many years of working with women who’ve experienced reproductive losses like miscarriage, stillbirth, and infertility, I’ve seen the many faces of grief and it’s complicated. It doesn’t have a “look”. You can’t see it coming from afar or even up close for that matter. It’s all the more reason why we need to just be kind, graceful, and compassionate with each other. Comparison traps in reproductive loss do exist and they are real.
May is a month of complicated feelings for many of the moms I work with. They describe feeling invisible to others. It’s what’s known as disenfranchised grief. A grief that’s unseen, unrecognized and not understood. Grief researcher, Ken Doka, defines disenfranchised grief as grief that a person experiences after loss that is not or cannot be acknowledged openly or mourned publicly.
Experiences like infertility, miscarriage and stillbirth fall under this category. My clients are struggling with things like not showing “enough” grief around their loss or feeling that they’re showing “too much” grief. There is no one way to grieve. There is no right or wrong way either. It’s such a unique and individual experience and it’s okay if it looks different because it should look different.
A major trap I see many moms falling into is the trap of comparative suffering where comparisons are made between losses. Here are some common traps and the subconscious interpretation that influences your grief experience.
“I was only 9 weeks pregnant” = I shouldn’t be so devastated about this since it was so early.
“This is only my second loss” = People who’ve had more losses deserve to grieve more than me.
“I should be grateful I already have a child” = There’s less reason to grieve because I already have a living child.
It’s a dangerous trap therefore you’ll never win. You could add as many more scenarios as you want to this and you’ll land in the same place. It won’t make you feel any better, no matter what the situation looks like. One grief cannot be measured against another.
There’s more than enough space for everyone to grieve their losses. There’s no worse loss or better loss because loss is just loss and it’s hard and incredibly painful.
Be kind to yourself and surround yourself with people who accept, acknowledge and validate your loss. Those people who minimize or disregard your grief and your loss, those are not your people. The most important asset to your healing is yourself and having the right support.
Let’s get on a consult call so we can talk about what you need help with most. If you’re struggling with any comparison traps in reproductive loss or have other concerns, you can schedule your complimentary phone consultation here.