Many women and families suffer alone when it comes to pregnancy and infant loss. In fact, until the 20th century, women were forbidden to speak of their loss. Grieving was internalized and stigmatized. Past generations rarely talked about pregnancy and infant loss, and for years, were saddled with the grief.
Overtime, these pent up feelings can manifest in dangerous ways. Those suffering are at risk for developing mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, or even suicidal thoughts. It’s never healthy to suppress your feelings, especially when it comes to infant and pregnancy loss.
Thankfully, in 1988, President Ronald Regan proclaimed October as National Month of Mourning in remembrance of those babies who have gone before us. It helps put the spotlight on the topic by spreading awareness. Families across the country are able to connect and share their stories as they navigate the waters of grief.
Loss is something everyone deals with to some degree, but the loss of a baby or the loss of the expectation of being able to get pregnant can shatter one’s world view, challenge your faith and test your relationships. As with any death or loss, grief support is an essential part of the healing process. Women and their families need support and guidance to walk through their struggles.
This and every month, our therapist Elizabeth Edwards focuses her work on guiding women and couples struggling with parenting, perinatal and postpartum concerns in our Fuquay-Varina office. She can help cope with the anxiety, guilt and sadness following pregnancy loss and termination, including postpartum depression, as well as couples challenged by infertility.
You don’t have to walk alone. Wherever you’re at in your journey of loss, you would want to feel better and, to have the pain go away to make sense of your situation. Therapy could help you process your feelings and thoughts in a safe space with a caring provider that can help you walk through the grieving process.
You can move forward with hope.
Labor Day has come and gone marking the end of summer 2018. Many families are jumping back into the “busy season” with school, sporting events, practices and more! It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the obligations moms seem to face. Here are some tips from Elizabeth Edwards, LMFT, for all of the stressed out moms who might feel overwhelmed this time of year.
Get your Priorities Straight
In therapy, I often ask women to think about all the different roles they are in. I then challenge women to commit to roles only they can fill. That means your role as wife and mother are top priorities because only you can fill that role. PTA president, snack captain at soccer, and a host of other roles that you fill, could be filled by someone else.
Another thing to consider is maybe you are taking the spot of someone who WANTS to fill that role. There could be a man or woman who is less stressed than you or has a passion for being team mom or church volunteer. Wouldn’t it be a shame if they really wanted that role and you were taking the opportunity from them?
The next task that I encourage women to do is make a list of priorities and the jobs that they entail. For example, maybe your priorities are your faith, your marriage, your children, and your job (in that order). Beside each priority write what that would look like. Maybe I write “have a daily quiet time”, “pray”, “commit to going to church and a small group”.
Next, I might write “make time for my husband” and “have at least 15 minutes a day of meaningful conversation with him”, etc. You do this for each priority area. When you finish that, think about anything else you are doing that does not fall under those top priorities. Then rate those by importance/priority. These are the things that are secondary in your life. Usually, these are those roles that others could fill if needed. Having this visual list of priorities can help you say no to things that do not fall under your crucial categories.
Remember, when you say “yes” to something, you are saying “no” to something else. Being a mom is a tough job, but it’s always worth it. Reprioritizing your roles and tasks can help you feel a better sense of control over your life, instead of feeling like you’re on a hamster wheel.
If you’re struggling with your role, feeling overwhelmed and stressed, I would love to walk with you during this journey. Contact me to setup a time for us to meet and to start defeating those lies in your head. And remember mamas, you are loved, you are valuable, and you are enough.
Elizabeth Edwards, LMFTA is a Marriage and Family Therapist at Foundations Family Therapy in Fuquay Varina, where she specializes in helping women, moms and parents struggling with anxiety, post partum depression and infertility.
Dear Mother, You are Enough.
Every day we talk to women who are stressed out. These are women who might look a lot like you or important women in your life. They are mothers, wives, business professionals, sisters, daughters, church members, community activists, and a host of other “things”. These women fill a lot of roles in a number of different areas.
A common theme with all of them is stress, exhaustion, feeling emotionally drained, and not good enough. Not good enough for their children, or their jobs, or their families, or the number of other roles they fill.
At the root of all of these women is the never ending feeling that they are not good enough or not what people need them to be.
This continual struggle to do and be more is exhausting. Women come in to therapy totally exhausted, unable to name support systems or anything they do just for them.
Women who are everything for everybody but may not feel like they excel in anything. This also presents itself through being a “people pleaser” or “doormat” as some clients call it. People can ask anything of you and “count on you” to do it because they have learned that you are willing to sacrifice yourself to make their lives better because you need the validation of others. These people are scared of conflict and would do anything to avoid it.
The Comparison Trap
The bad news is there will always be someone “better” than you. Whether it be fitness level, education, work experience, or in relationships. You may arrive at this conclusion that they are “better” than you through social media, surface level conversations, or just observing other women.
The truth is, these women probably feel just the same as you do! The result is everyone is striving to do more to feel like they are valuable. Sometimes we get the temporary “high” of achieving a new goal- maybe you lost weight, hit a new goal at the gym, hit new numbers at work, your children listened, and your husband complimented you. However, as we know, these are very short lived highs and then we are back to striving to do more. We might find ourselves thinking “Since I did that, I wonder if I could do this…” and the cycle continues.
The good news is you are not alone and you are believing a terrible lie. The idea that you are not enough or “too much” in some cases, is a lie! You. Are. Enough. You are valuable. There is nothing you could do to make you more valuable and precious than you already are.