Emotions are celebrated and repressed, analyzed, and medicated, adored, and ignored — but rarely, if ever, are they honored.
Grief can show up in a lot of different ways throughout the transitions in our lives, and does show up during pregnancy for most of us. Some common symptoms of grief include:
- Body aches and pains
- Feeling like a fog is covering over you
Let’s discuss some common things you may be grieving during pregnancy:
- The person you were before you got pregnant
- Your pre-pregnancy relationship with your partner
- Your pre-pregnancy body
- Feeling differently sexually
- Your health, especially if there have been issues during your pregnancy
- The younger you (becoming a mom may make you feel older and more responsible and mature)
- The loss of a loved one (someone important to you not being alive to see you pregnant and meet your baby and see them grow up, and for your baby to miss out on having a relationship with them)
- A past miscarriage/pregnancy loss (this baby born after all the grief and sadness from your loss is sometimes referred to as a “rainbow baby.” You can be feeling happy about the baby you are pregnant with and also be grieving the one you lost, all at the same time).
- Having time for self-care
- Not being able to do it all, especially in the later months of pregnancy
There are a lot of different types of grief listed here, and know that some types of losses will be much deeper and longer lasting than others. There can also be compounded grief in pregnancy, which is when a lot of losses are hitting you all at once. So be on the lookout for that as well.
Transitioning into Motherhood
One of my favorite words to describe the transition into motherhood is called matrescence (coined by anthropologist Dana Raphael). What is matrescence?
- It’s all the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual changes a woman goes through during her personal transition into motherhood.
Don’t you just love that? Take a few minutes to reflect on your own transitions in pregnancy:
- How has your body changed physically?
- How have you changed mentally?
- What’s different emotionally now?
- What spiritual changes have you experienced?
How can you honor these transitions by noticing the ones that are harder to accept and the ones that are easier to accept (and therefore possibly easier to overlook)? Keep an eye on these physical, mental, emotional and spiritual changes as you move into postpartum as well.