This post deals with child loss and might be triggering for some readers.
Imagine I told you I no longer love my first-born child. Imagine if I said:
"I’m over him."
"I moved on."
"I have two other children to focus on."
You’d be shocked! Not only would I be labelled a bad mother, but a bad person.
Hold on though! Before you judge... let’s add another layer to the story. What if I told you, my first-born child died before he got to live? What if I said he was born silent and without breath?
Imagine the moment of birth. The midwife gently saying, "You’ve had a little boy." He’s placed on my chest, like most newborn babies. My husband and I soak him in. Admire his features. Wrap him up. Bestow his name - Xavier Rocket. Our son is here. But he’s also not. His little heartbeat still.
Watch: A tribute to the babies we've lost. Post continues below.
Now are you okay with me saying I no longer love him? I bet not!
Then why? Why are bereaved parents everywhere, asked to stop loving their babies who died?
They aren’t! You may be thinking: Who would ask a parent to stop loving their child?
No one would actually say that! Surely!
And you’d be right. In my contact with hundreds of bereaved parents, I’m yet to hear of someone being directly told to stop loving their child. But what I do hear often, is well meaning societal suggestions like:
"It’s time to get over it."
"You really need to move on."
"You should focus on your living children." (Which I’m grateful to do, every single day!)
These statements come from people who innocently believe they are asking us to 'move on' from the grief. And I get it. They don't want to see us sad, or in pain. But herein lies the disconnect.
Most people don't realise that inside the grief, lives the love.
So, when you ask someone to stop grieving, you accidentally ask them to stop loving.
How so? Well, grief and love are enmeshed.
Listen to Mamamia's podcast No Filter below. Post continues after podcast.
There is no visible line where one starts and the other ends. It's like breath and air. One doesn't even exist without the other.