Today was a different day for me. I worked with a nurse in the Family Medicine part of the clinic and after all the routine checkups of all the healthy babies, cute and plump looking and their mothers’ faces beaming with smiles, a different case walked through the door. I thought she was pregnant but she wasn’t. She had a Caesarian section two weeks ago. What happened was she was one week past her due date plus her baby was breached. The doctors were scared and decided to operate her to prevent complications during birth should labor occur. Unfortunately, water got into the baby’s lungs and the baby died. Why it hurt most? This was her second loss. Last year, it was due to her water breaking at 5 months and then she lost the baby.
I sat across her beside the nurse and wondered how it would feel to have such loss twice in row. She even said this was her first boy and she was excited as she already had two girls. I may probably never understand how she feels but what she said tugged at my heart. She said she’d be crying everyday in her bathroom. Being in the middle class, if not less, she didn’t have much support in this time. Well wishers even kept asking her about the baby which made her have to relieve the pain of her experience.What could she possibly do? I had to come home to read up on this. I was grateful for the nurse who was the sweetest most soft-spoken person I’ve ever met. She tried to calm her down and explain that it was not the doctor’s fault, because the woman had a belief that the doctors were careless. I know those doctors and they’re nothing like that but then she’s a grieving woman.
So in scenarios like this, if you have such loss, how do you cope with it? How do you survive? While I’m definitely not a therapist and I have no medical qualification whatsoever, a few things you could do are:
- Express yourself – You should say how you feel and when you feel it. It’ll definitely help get things off your chest. Even if you don’t want to speak to anyone, talk to yourself. If necessary, cry.
- Allow yourself to feel sad – It’s a necessary step in getting through grief. The trick is not to live there forever but in the meantime, do feel sad. It’s the reason why men break down so much, because they never let themselves feel sad, rather they feel they have to feel nothing to be strong.
- Keep your routine up – Wake up, dress up and show up. A shower, a hair do, make up will help. Sometimes if you look the part, you may begin to feel the part.
- Sleep and Eat healthy – You know, starving yourself doesn’t help because then you don’t have enough strength to cry. You may not have the appetite but you still have to eat and survive. It’ll definitely give you physical strength to recover.
- Avoid Numbing – Like with alcohol or drugs, all you do is postpone the pain and when the high is gone, it’s still there waiting to be dealt with. Running away never helped anyone so work through it. You are stronger than you know.
- Therapy – No. you’re not crazy, but the talk might help you more than you think, plus it’s a safe space where you won’t be judged for how you feel or pushed to do things you’re not ready for. Anyway, only do this if it feels right.
Loss may never be fully understand as we all deal with it differently based on out strengths but just know that no matter the loss, you can always survive it. It is my belief that time heals wounds and God in his infinite mercy, gives us the grace to carry on.