When my son Jonah died at 30 weeks gestation in January of 2017, deep grief was something I’d become well acquainted with. It was like waking up every day with a fresh wound that wouldn’t heal, and felt as if it never would. It’s during this time that I found my loss mama community online, both here on Still Standing and on social media.
I’m so very grateful for the support I found in these communities. I found inspiration, advice, and help when I needed it. Slowly, my new normal emerged and I was able to spend my days doing more than sitting around in a grief fog.
As that fog lifted, I started noticing something else that was happening to me whenever I went on social media: loss mom jealousy.
Yes, I actually found myself feeling jealous of other moms’ grief.
Sound crazy? Well, it sure made me feel like I was losing it. With some serious inner reflection and some therapy, though, I figured out what was going on.
Related Post: A Different Kind of Jealousy
See, grief is different for everyone. Sure, we all have some of the same general feelings and experiences, but we all react to them in different ways. Some might go back to work after 3 months, some others after 6 or 9, and even others after a year or even never. Our lives are completely changed, and we all react differently.
In my case, I kept Jonah on my heart and on my mind, and that’s just where I was comfortable keeping him and mothering him. I’d do some writing occasionally too, and that helped. That was enough for me.
Other loss moms, though, do a ton of physical things to mother their babies.
They create amazing shadow boxes, they continue to buy small things that remind them of the baby(ies) they lost, they put up shelves of pictures and knick-knacks, they write their baby’s name in the sand or snow or with rocks, they plant gardens, they lead paying it forward days, and they even launch whole nonprofits and amazing organizations dedicated to their baby that died.
I’d see all of those amazing things on social media, and there it would be: loss mom jealousy. Why wasn’t I doing those things for Jonah, in Jonah’s name? Was I a lazy loss mom? A loss mom who doesn’t care as much as others about her baby who died? A bad mom?
I went so far as to not log onto social media as often because it just made me feel inadequate. Like I wasn’t doing enough for my son. Like I must not have as much love for him as all these other moms who are doing so much more than I am.
Readers, if you’re finding yourself in this situation, please stop letting yourself think these things.
After some time, I figured out that it’s just different ways of grieving. We are all different people in unique situations with very different ways of grieving and honoring our beloved babies. How it works for you shouldn’t be compared to how it does for others.
Your grief is your grief. It’s unique and it’s best done however you feel it needs to be. I love Jonah with all my heart, and that’s that. How I grieve for him isn’t comparable to how other moms grieve their babies. It’s me and him, and that’s it ❤️.
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