It's not a competition
Grief is not a competition. This may sound obvious when stated like this but let me explain why it’s a phrase that is important to remember. A little while back, I received an email stating that I was being insensitive by referring to my “6 miscarriages” (yes, this person put it in quotes as if I had made up the number) in my social media posts. She stated that there are other people who have suffered through more miscarriages and worse loss than I had and that I should stop talking about it (harsher words and phrases were used, but this is my PG version). At first I was angered by this and had to stop and think about what I had written. It hadn’t been easy for me to put my story out there for everyone to read. It wasn’t easy to be so vulnerable and re-live the trauma. It also wasn’t easy for my husband to have to re-read it all and see it all in writing. But when we decided, as a couple, to share our story, we knew there was a reason. We had been through so much and through all of it, there really weren’t a lot of people to turn to. I never wanted anyone to feel alone when having to go through such pain. So I made it my mission to take what I had learned and help support those behind me. How could someone read what I was putting out there and think that I was being insensitive? How could someone read about my real losses and think “she hasn’t experienced enough pain in order to help anyone”. But then it was pointed out to me by two of my friends that grief is not a competition. How many miscarriages would I need to have suffered through in order for me to be an “expert” on it and feel that I could help someone? How much suffering does one person need to experience in order to be considered competent enough to talk about grief? How does a person quantify someone else’s grief? Are there other people who have been through a lot worse than I have? Absolutely!!! I have never once thought to myself that my pain is worse than someone else’s. When a friend turns to me for help because she is suffering through her first miscarriage, I don’t think to myself “well, this doesn’t actually count as pain because you’ve only had one”. It doesn’t matter how much pain or loss someone has experienced, it is still grief and no one has the right to judge someone else’s grief.
The next day, as I was overanalyzing this email and wondering what I was supposed to learn, I almost spit out my coffee. Like, coffee almost came spilling out of my nose when I had a huge AHA moment. I had just come back from one of the best experiences of my life. I had spent an entire week surrounded by amazing human beings trying to achieve amazing goals. I had just been certified as a High Performance Coach by Brendon Burchard and I was on a total high. It was the end of a year where I had pushed myself into unfamiliar situations in order to grow as an individual and as a business owner. I have learned over and over again that when you start on a new journey, and there is push back, it is the universe making sure that you are prepared to face the mountain in front of you. That when you start a new project, not everyone is going to agree with it, but that’s ok, those people aren’t the ones that need to hear your voice. That when you talk about something hard but true, there will be push back. So, while drinking my coffee and overanalyzing this email I had received, it hit me like a truck!!! This!!!! This hard stuff that I’m talking about, miscarriages, loss, grief, this is what needs to be talked about MORE!! Our society is so uncomfortable with grief and talking about hard things. Did you know that up until the 1920’s and 30’s, our society was completely fine and open with grief. It was a part of daily lives. Death wasn’t a shunned conversation because most families comforted the dying in their homes. People weren’t going to hospitals as much and medicine wasn’t as advanced, so death was just part of the culture. But in the 1930’s, there was a change, a switch in how we looked at life. At this time people started thinking that only the good things should be talked about (and here we are thinking this idea started with the development of social media. Nope!). Grief and death were swept under the rug and were no longer topics people discussed. And now our culture has no idea how to face it. And I’m one of the worst. When my best friend’s mom died, I had no idea how to help her. I didn’t know what to say to her and her family, so I just kept busy helping with her kids and doing the dishes. I was so uncomfortable with being around grief, that I just froze every time it was presented to me. So when I got this email about how insensitive I was being by talking about my miscarriages, it dawned on me that our culture doesn’t know how to respond to pain. That when we see someone talking about it and trying to help other’s through it, it literally repels them. So guess what? I’m going to keep talking about it. I’m going to keep reading about grief. I’m going to keep studying how to help others through grief. I’m going to keep researching grief and miscarriages. Am I doing this to be insensitive to others? No, quite the opposite actually. I’m doing this in order to help when someone experiences a loss. I’m doing it to help you if you don’t know how to be there for someone who may need you during a hard time. I’m doing it so that our society can stop thinking that life is only about the good times. Everyone experiences grief. Don’t judge someone else’s loss and how they react to it, it isn’t a competition.
10/20/2022 06:13:20 am
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10/27/2022 05:41:35 am
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I'm an average girl who has discovered her passion for self-development after warrioring (yes, it's a word) through 6 miscarriages. I took that passion and applied it to helping others find their passions through High Performance Coaching. Boy mom to two "energetic boys" and navigating the art of being a step mom to a teenage girl, all while working daily on maintaining an authentic relationship with the best husband around. Sometimes mindful. Sometimes a runner. Always a little crazy!